Tag Archives: Peter Williamson

Our Symposium: A Model for Teacher Educator and Policy Development

Clare Kosnik and Peter WilliamsonOur Symposium was amazing. For those who have read the blog postsIMG_2609 about it, I (Clare) am sure you got the sense that it was very interesting and productive. One of the words I would use to describe it is dynamic. There was such enthusiasm to discuss and grapple with the issues that we moved so beyond where we started (how to integrate digital technology into teacher education). Given that most people did not know each other, came from different countries, and had different areas of specialization (digital technology, teacher educators, teachers, policy) these differences did not divide us but they somehow brought us together to form a community. Not wanting to sound sentimental or superficial, I feel that something “magical” happened at the Symposium. The barriers melted away instantly and learning happened. Jean Murray’s “speed dating” opening activity immediately got us talking to each other. The laughter as we discovered interesting facts each other (e.g., John was fired as a gravedigger) raised the noise level to a crescendo. From there the Symposium developed into a committed group of educators focused on learning.Participants

Lin GoodwinThe two-day event was not like anything I have never experienced in my life – there was no posturing, there was careful listening, comments were relevant, questions were thoughtfully phrased, and there was commitment to something larger than individual research agendas. The interactions were respectful and genuine. I had assumed we would learn much about each other’s research and national contexts, I did not think that we would become a little community of teacher educators looking at the larger questions of education within a changing world. The level of enthusiasm was still sky high at the end of two intense days. There was no rush to leave or end the discussion.

Alyson BakerSo often in academia, department meetings are monopolized by issues such as timetabling. Conferences presentations are often more monologues that discussion. We need time to talk about the issues. The structure of the Symposium worked well – mini presentations by each person and time for large and small group discussion. This Connection Grant was not extravagant – we did it on a shoe-string budget. A number of universities contributed small amounts and we stretched our dollars. Given the money spent on university and government-based initiatives there is money for these kinds of events. Governments and universities need to spend their money thoughtfully and carefully – I would say, let’s use our Symposium as a Graham Parr and Scott Bulfinmodel of professional development for teacher educators and for policy development – bring the researchers together, devise a format for sharing and discussion, and let them proceed. I suspect the guidelines for education that they develop will be sensible and feasible.
Pooja Dharamshi Securing the grant and organizing the logistics were demanding. Our challenge now is to build on what we built and experienced. It is not just that I have much to learn from the amazing colleagues at the Symposium, but I also know that we are much stronger as a group. Teacher education is under siege. Individuals cannot resolve the challenges we face in teacher education but as a group perhaps we can do “something.” There has never been greater need to work together. I feel gratified — all of the work was so worth it. Thank you to the 16 participants who made this unique experience one I will never forget. I am eager to continue our collaborations. This website and blog will provide updates on our continued work together.

International Symposium: Digital Technology and Literacy/English Teacher Education

Making ConnectionsAs many of our blog followers know we are hosting the Symposium : Rethinking Literacy Teacher Education for the Digital Era: Teacher Educators, Literacy Educators, and Digital Technology Experts Working Together. One of the main activities of the project is bringing together 17 experts from three fields and 4 countries (Canada, US, UK, and Australia) to address the following questions.
• How can literacy/English teacher educators (LTEs) prepare student teachers to develop and implement literacy programs that capitalize on digital technology (DT)?
• What teacher education curriculum changes are required to better prepare future teachers to integrate technology in their own teaching?
• What professional learning support do LTEs need to develop courses that will integrate and make greater use of DT?
The Symposium will be held over two days: June 5 and 6 in London England. We will send updates daily.

As academics we tend to work in our “silo” which although allows us to specialize it has limitations. The symposium will provide an opportunity to work in an inter-disciplinary manner which may help us move forward the field of literacy teacher education. The participants are:

Clare Kosnik (P.I.)
Clive Beck – Co-applicant – OISE/University of Toronto
Pooja Dharamshi – OISE/University of Toronto
Cathy Miyata – OISE/University of Toronto
Lydia Menna – OISE/University of Toronto
Shawn Bullock – Simon Fraser University

Jean Murray – Co-applicant – University of East London
Bethan Marshall – Co-applicant – King’s College
John Yandell – Institute of Education, University of London
Sue Dymoke – University of Leicester
Sam Twiselton – Sheffield Hallam University
Alison Baker – University of East London

Lin Goodwin – Co-applicant – Teachers College
Peter Williamson – University of San Francisco

Simone White – Co-applicant – Monash University
Graham Parr – Monash University
Neil Selwyn – Monash University
Scott Bulfin – Monash University

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