National Summit on Quality Education – Day 1

I attended National Summit on Quality Education with focus on “Smart measurements in Education for the 21st century” on Friday and Saturday. This is first time I have attended event as delegate where primary audience  are educators.  The event was in 10th Floor of Christ College. Reached the venue and registered by cash. There was a separate registration desk in 9th floor categorized as Higher Education and School Education. A new experience compared to IT conferences where the agenda is provided with all the sessions in all tracks and the participant decides sessions to attend based on the topic and the speaker and his own interest.

I found myself in  at completion of inaugural speech by the minister and was followed by special address delivered by of Rev Fr Thomas C Mathew. He had invested effort to move the session from company campus to education institution. I observed that Christ college students were performing a lot of volunteering work and were pretty professional in their approach.  Thanks to you Father,You have created the advantage for Christ students to volunteer and enjoy similar conference attending opportunity enjoyed by the college students in Delhi. Recommend Colleges to host more industry sessions in college campus.

Next was the keynote address from Sam Wineburg, Professor of Education and Director Stanford History Education Group. He started with the provoking question related to the significance of dates in history classes and assessments. He warned educators “Not to seek refuge in easy answers”.  His recommendation to history teacher was to take an important history event and ask the student to think of different perspectives about the event and learning from the event. This follows with a class discussion facilitated by the teacher. During the discussion, student gets broader learning about what are the conditions the historical event occurred and what is learning from the event that can be practised today and what needs to need to be stopped today.

Followed with first speaker panel was “Measurements in Education :Approaches, Challenges and Way Forward”. Arun C Mehta started with more of what his organization performs, how they collect data and the systems to download data. He did not have a single instance to share any learning and how people are effectively using the data. He asked for others to use the large amount of data. Data that is collected and organized without any plan to interpret data and data that is not consumed does not make sense to me.  The next speaker was out of sync with the session and my mind wandered in to what would happen if speaker panel in IT conference go out of scope and the need to learn to be patient like educators.  Followed by Ms Nalini Desikan was speech that emphasized the importance of “what to measure” and “why to measure” compare to “How to measure” and the need to measure before the need of software.

Lunch was in the ground floor and the elevator was full. I did not want to climb down the steps initially and when proposed, I has the support from the co-founder of Infosys who was chairperson of the previous session. I was happy to climb down all the 10 floors with him and it was amazing that he could perform this at his age. I  was motivated to climb up 10 floors after lunch.

Second speaker panel was “Measuring curriculum effectiveness: The foundation of learning”. The chairperson introduced the session very well. Sam and MeritTrac speaker  shared the following insights

  • Washington Accord Graduate Attributes and the challenges to meet criteria like this in organization that offers 200 courses.
  • There are three different disconnects industry & curriculum, Curriculum and syllabus, teaching and learning.
  • The need for educator to handle the challenges of the student in the learning process as aspiration, engagement and capability.
  • The need to perform measurements on syllabus rather than curriculum.
  • Measurement can be categorized as inadequate measurement, ineffective measurement and invalid measurement in process of finding an effective measurement.
  • There was emphasis to teach for application and not just knowledge and simulations seem to be the way forward for teach applying basic concepts.

Dr Swami Manohar was last speaker and talked about the need to equip students with team based problem solving and threshold concept of curriculum design that enables the learner to make connections that were hitherto hidden from view. He gave good example of how learning to ride a bicycle is unique experience and how people continue to ride bicycle after years of not riding a bicycle. As the learner enjoys the process of learning bicycle and enjoys riding of the bicycle, can the educators come with approaches that allows the learner to enjoy the process of learning to become engineer and also enjoy being an engineer.

I skipped the last session “Creating & Effectively utilizing learning spaces” as the session was not in line with my interests. I left to office and pick visiting cards to share next day. The visiting cards were not ready and devised a different approach to share contacts using AV brochures.