International Educationalists Exchanged Views on Technology-enhanced Professional Learning Spaces at the Leadership for Professional Learning Symposium
Leadership for Professional Learning (LfPL) Network was established at the University of Cambridge with a view of bringing together the most innovative educationalist, who strive to improve educational practice, research and policy. Every two years, they join forces at the Symposium to share innovations, concerns and dilemmas, and to contribute to a range of professional and academic outputs, through collaborative and supportive dialogue. Dr Svetlana Belic Malinic, our Academic Director and international education thought leader, was invited to join this network in 2019 and has ever since been involved in the exchange of good practice and constructive discourse on successful transformational efforts.
Symposium 2021: Leadership within technology-enhanced professional learning spaces
This year’s Symposium built on the work by the four lead organising partners: The University of Cambridge Leadership for Learning Network, The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning, Dublin City University and ‘Professional Development in Education’ international journal, and gathered an international group of 200 fully engaged educational leaders from 43 countries on six continents.
The two-day event, which took place on 28 and 30 June 2021, was structured in focused strands to allow preK-12 educators, school and system leaders, academics and political thought leaders an enriched experience that would inform their work. Furthermore, the Symposium had working sessions in which participants were expected to host a dialogue and engage in exchange of artefacts and documents to support their research or good practice.
Dialogues at the 2021 LfPL Symposium centered on the skills, knowledge, understanding, and application of learning technologies, broadly defined to include everything from virtual learning environments to conversation protocols that structure professional dialogue. Together, they explored how these technologies can build community, enhance educator practice, advance equitable access and opportunity, and improve student learning.
Pedagogical challenges: Can teachers harness AI in teaching and learning
Building on her previous work on creativity and creative thinking, Dr Belic Malinic’s presentation at this year’s symposium, dubbed “Creative Use of Artificial Intelligence in Active Learning”, tackled the reimagined pedagogy behind creative teaching and learning.
“The changing paradigms request changing mindsets of both teachers and students in order to respond to the pedagogical challenges. The unfolding of the use of AI in education brought about a lot of creative ideas, but also ethical biases, which have been greatly debated”, explained Dr Belic Malinic the rationale for this presentation.
She stressed the importance of preparing both teachers and students to adopt AI basics so that they can embrace innovative approaches with less resilience and more enthusiasm. Highlighting the pedagogical challenge, her presentation also featured some good examples of AI-integrated teaching and learning.
At the forefront of innovation: Institute for Contemporary Education at the table with the best educational institutions
Institute for Contemporary Education has built its regional credibility as a teacher training provider but also as a learning space for forward-thinking educators. Our representatives have participated at the regional, national and international conferences, where they shared their knowledge and skills in speaking sessions, workshops and working groups on a variety of topics. Leading in innovative teaching practice, ideating new projects and pioneering has never been easy. However, our Institute, with the support of the LINK Educational Alliance, has been able to keep pace with the latest developments in educational policy making and dissemination of good practice.
We are heavily engaged in the creation of blockchain, micro-credentials and individual learning accounts, defined as priorities of the EU Digital Education Action Plan. Our educational institutions were among the first in the region to award open badges, which give credits to non-formal education and competency-based professional development. We look forward to contributing to the Serbian learning community and its progress in digital transformation.