Friday, March 26, 2010

Education and innovation: Back to liveblogging Canada at 150

1:53 PM: And we’re back to live-blogging. Michael Ignatieff had a press conference over lunch, a few interesting things from that. Also, a lot of interest from the Quebec press on the niqab issue. I don’t think he really gave an answer per se, at least not in English.

I have some video of Jean Chretien and Ignatieff that I’m rendering now, it will be online later this afternoon, web-connection willing.

I was editing while listening to a keynote from Sheryl WuDunn, co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. I hope you caught it online because it was a great speech with some inspiring stories of women and girls around the world overcoming challenges to achieve amazing things. She also talked about very simple things we can do to help them, from maternal care to idioized salt to micro-loans.

The afternoon panel is up now on education and life-long learning, and includes Lloyd Axworthy. Looking forward to hearing his thoughts.

2:02 PM: Paul Cappon is speaking now, he’s a fill-in speaker and president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Council on Learning. I like his story about a UK senior university administrator. He told Capon how he meets with the PM four times a year to brief him in the state of education in the country, and progress made since the last report – just three months ago. It really helps top focus the system on continual improvement, and improvement now. We need that level of federal interest, and scrutiny, in Canada.

Constitutional separation of powers can’t be an excuse for federal inaction on education. Australia has a similar system, but they have national standards, benchmarks and goals, and it makes a difference. Even in the European Union, there are pan-European moves on standards and harmonization of goals. Canada is doing nothing in this area, and it must.

2:08 PM: Carolyn Acker, founder of Pathways to Education Canada, is making a good point by turning our attention to the still unacceptably high, high school drop-out rate. Because we’re not going to get more post-secondary grads without more high school grads.

We absolutely need better schools, says Acker. That’s where our efforts have been focused for years, though, and clearly it’s not enough. It goes into the community. We need to address poverty, we need to give youth role models, and we need to give them real-world opportunities to link education to their lives and make it relevant. Pathways seeks to help with this.

2:15 PM: And Lloyd Axworthy, former Liberal foreign affairs minister, social policy guru and U of Winnipeg president, is up. He says we need a national learning strategy. We need a network that combines universities, schools and community development. You can’t separate early childhood development from k-12 from post-secondary. Education is now inter-woven and life-long.

Lloyd asks, why not a granting council for community learning, to support efforts across the country and coordinate pan-Canadian efforts? He wants to develop a national learning network in Canada to make education seamless and break down the barriers to different forms of education in the country.

He sees the universities as hubs for this, as they have many resources that are being underutilized. At the U of W, he’s reaching out to First Nationals communities. Even letting people without access to computers come in to use their labs is making a difference, he says.

2:49 PM: Popped upstairs to upload video over the hardware, back to the conference soon.

3:08 PM: Checking back in on the education panel. Apparently, the children are still our future. Take note.

3:52 PM: And we're back from coffee break for a panel on innovation.

3:53 PM: Open Text’s Tom Jenkins is a tech guy, but he says when thinking about innovation we need to move beyond technology, because it’s really about economics. Linda Hasenfratz of Linmar Corp. talks about manufacturing, and Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Innovation says invention isn’t the same as innovation. Invention comes from the inventor, innovation comes from the user. It’s not about technology, it's about improving the user experience.

Also, my Chretien/Ignatieff video is up.

4:08 PM: Now we’re moving into commercializing on innovation. This is veering into my day job area so I’m going to stay away from this one here. Hopefully somewhere Paul Wells is watching the Web cast, though, he loves this stuff.

And hey, there’s Errol Mendes of the U of O, oft-quoted expert on legal stuff and secret documents, at the mic asking a question on innovation. He’s wondering about giving tax incentives for people to upgrade their skills, matched or supported by private-sector employers. He wants a bigger private sector role.

Also, Rotman's Martin wants the same focus on math and science education put on art. Wonder how many art classes the Rotman School of Business offers?

5:08 PM: Closer form Jenkins on his advice for politicians/government: measure outputs. If it ran his business the way he sees policy being run in this country, he’d be bankrupt. Measure the outputs, not the inputs. We measure the inputs because it’s easier, but it’s the outputs that matter.

5:10 PM: And Mauril Belanger is wrapping the day. Cocktail reception, then I’ll try to wrangle some dinner with some blogger peps, then probably more cocktails. Have a great night, see you tomorrow.

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1 comment:

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