Reimagine Education: Turning Innovation into Reality

On March 16, 2016, ALU hosted its first ReImagine Education Conference (RIE), bringing together educators and leaders in education from across the globe to our African Leadership College (ALC) campus in Mauritius for a day of engaging, forward-thinking discussions about innovative education practices in the 21st century.

In true ALU fashion, participants explored various aspects of education in Africa through our unique Learning Cycle, going through sessions in Discovery, Self Learning, Peer Learning and Group Discussion. Through a series of tasks, reflection opportunities and talks from experts in innovative learning and pedagogy, participants gained insight into best practices to improve student engagement, learning outcomes and hone the skills that are required to be successful in the world of tomorrow.

RIE kicked off with a two fold Discovery session. Founder of Instill Education, Alim Ladha, delivered shocking statistics about the 5 grand challenges on the African continent: infrastructure, climate change, technology, corruption and urbanisation. While the challenges themselves weren’t shocking, statistics such as the fact that roughly 10,000 undergraduate institutions each with a 5,000 student enrollment rate would need to increase enrollment from the current 8% in Africa to 18% by 2030 and the number of Facebook users would make it the 3rd largest country in the world were enough to get people’s energy rising.

The second part of the session involved a series of short talks inspired by the well-known “TED” talks. ALU Curriculum Designer Andrew Powell, founder of Sympo and former African Leadership Academy (ALA) faculty Hatim Eltayeb, Principal of Ghana International School Dr. Mary Ashun, Founder of Pioneer Academies Chinezi Chijioke and co-founder and CEO of ALA Chris Bradford shared some of the innovative ways they are transforming education in Africa. From flipped classroom approaches to seminal readings and more, these talks inspired participants about the change already taking place on the ground.

A quick Self Learning session gave guests an opportunity to reflect deeply on some of their own experiences as educators and the innovative changes they could implement at their own institutions. These insights became useful for the Peer Learning session where participants had to ReImagine their Dream School. In groups they got together to design their dream school, focusing on tackling 1 of 4 problems: technology, teacher development, student growth and space and time. Later on they would present their ideas in the style of a school fair whereby others go around and listen to people pitch their ideas

The room became alive with colours and ideas as people put pen to paper. Multi-purpose learning spaces, student-centered research, circular classroom arrangements were just a few of the many ideas that came out of the session.

RIE ended with a Fish Bowl reflection that allowed participants to begin thinking about how their can turn these innovative ideas into reality. It took the form of a peer coaching session, where Chinezi Chijioke asked a series of question and probed deeper in order to participants to think more deeply about the feasibility and action steps to achieve their goals. This Fish Bowl session was in itself a learning experience for people to think about coaching techniques and hold one another accountable to implementing their ideas after RIE.

The day was capped off with the Welcome Cocktail for ALU’s Grand Opening Celebration at the Intercontinental Hotel, with performances by students and good vibes as guests, students and staff laughed, shared stories and ideas.

Click here to check out some of the real time updates from the day’s events.