Around 1,400 New Zealanders from across the country came together at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on 5-6 May and the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland on 12-13 May for two 2-day conversations about the future of learning.
The format of the 2-day conversations represented a completely different way of engaging with the public and stakeholders to design the future of education and learning in New Zealand.
To make the conversation more manageable, it was broken into six overarching topics: Ways of Learning; Ways of Teaching; Lifelong Learning: Skills and Abilities; Enabling Self-Fulfilling lives; and Creating a Thriving Society.
Each topic was hosted in a physical hub. In these hubs, small groups of around 8 people held deep conversations on these topics around coffee tables. Periodically, they fed the results into a central area, where it was represented in words and images.
Each hub hosted some topic-specific conversations. In parallel to these conversations, the summit team were going through the feedback to produce a real-time visual representation, or ‘knowledge wall’, of the ideas as they were emerging across the topics.
Picture of the Christchurch knowledge wall.
Picture of the Auckland knowledge wall.
A diverse group of speakers was present to share insights, experience and expertise about the future of education and learning. These speaker sessions provided opportunities to uncover new insights, change perspectives, and bring out questions and values. Participants chose who they would listen to and interact with before taking their new insights back into their hub discussion groups.
During each of the two events, participants didn’t only exchange ideas; they also exchanged energy, emotions and stories. In a central space, a group of manawhenua artists listened and absorbed the experience to create their own representation of the future of learning. Over the course of the 2 days, they produced six beautiful pou at each event that will in time be exhibited around the country.
A lot of effort went into bringing together a diverse range of voices for the Summit events, including people from groups that are not always heard. This includes parents and young people, Māori, Pacific people, the disabled and those with additional learning needs.
The flexible, participant-led Summit format was able to accommodate the needs of different groups who felt they wanted space to speak among themselves as well as with the wider group of participants.