Blessed to have been invited to participate in the RDFZ Xishan International Summit in Beijing, China. I was fortunate to have met these amazing teachers from RDFZ this past summer at the Punahou Lab School. Here is a link to my blog of my personal experiences from the trip.
Because I was a cohort presenter, I can only share about the keynotes and what I observed of the event as a whole. Here are some of my experiences and learning.
The iSummit opened and closed with formal ceremonies. The auditorium (called the “Studio”) contained this massive LCD monitor.
The emcees were a combination of teachers and students. Everything was translated from Mandarin to English for the approximately 30 international educators and 200 attendees.
The front rows were reserved for guests. We sat in the 2nd row (there were seating cards with our names on them.) For the keynote, we were given headsets and listened to the translators live.
I was amazed at the level of participation by the students. They were given prominent roles and major responsibilities (and not just “envelope stuffing” tasks.) They created the slide shows, video interviews, all photography, etc., etc. This event was a CBL project to provide students with real-world learning.
Here is my personal student guide & translator, Azure. She was amazing! We hit it off instantly and became buddies.
Because RDFZ is the only Apple Distinguished School in China, they partner with ADEs from around the world. Here is Dirk DeLo giving an opening keynote (there were always two concurrent keynotes, one in Chinese and one in English.)
Dirk said that he used to be known as the “IT guy” and his department as just “Information and Technology.” They changed their name from IT to TI, “Technology Integration.” He said that the name change alone sparked a transformation on how they were viewed by the teachers. It was the catalyst that helped to transform his school into a 21st Century school.
Students were given these sweatshirts. They wear the QR code for attendees to access the conference’s website and schedule.
There were elaborate displays and decorations throughout the school’s campus.
During a free moment, I escaped to the teachers lounge and sat in the massage chair for 15 minutes. Their rooftop minigolf course was closed. Maybe next time….
The hospitality was incredible! Here is the core planning committee thanking us for coming. They hosted two 23-course dinners on consecutive nights. Amazing.
Each night, the seating arrangements would change so that you could meet all of the foreign educators.
ADE, Doug Kiang from Punahou did one of the keynotes on the 2nd day. His presentation was on how schools would look like in the future. He defines “community” as interdependence. “If a student submits work required by the teacher in order to receive a desired grade, that is a business transaction and not community. Community happens when there is shared value.”
I presented three sessions in a cohort setting. My presentation was on Connected Learning entitled “Re-Imagine Education.” I had 14 participants for the first session. Many were Chinese-speaking, so Azure translated for me (except for the part with my Ignite Talk.) For my 2nd session, 4 attendees returned along with 5 new people. There were educators from Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, and Finland. At first the attendees were uncomfortable with having a roundtable format. Soon, things began to warm up. I think it was different and of value.
We took a quick tour of the campus. Here is a link to the school’s website.
There are displays in the stairwells and quotes on the steps written in Chinese and English.
After lunch in the cafeteria, we went into the basement gymnasium for the student-run Charity Fair. Funds were raised for a nearby rural school.
Many students gave up their weekend to help with the event. I learned that most students take classes on weekends to help improve their skills for taking exams.
We then went to the school’s rooftop to catch a Wushu kung fu demonstration by a visiting international school.
After a formal picture taking session with the principal, we watched a cultural performance show entitled the “Chinese Heart.”
Receiving a gift on behalf of Kamehameha Schools from Principal Shu and RDFZ Xishan.
The exchange of business cards is very important. Always carry some in your wallet and backpack.
This is the closing. The student emcees were excellent speakers. Many of the dignitaries and student leaders were able to express their gratitude and share what they had learned. A student stayed up all night to complete the closing slide show.
Here are C.Y. and Principal Shu giving their closing remarks.
The RDFZ student produced magazine will feature the iSummit in its next issue.
Here is the Hawai’i contingent presenting gifts to Principal Shu.
I have been so blessed to have had this opportunity. I didn’t deserve it. I just hope that I was able to contribute and represent my team well. This experience has made me rethink what is possible, to re-imagine. Finally, my heart swells up when I think about my friends in Beijing. I will miss them.