6th Wild About Science Symposium

On November 2, 2013 - Telus World of Science opened their doors to 100 delegates attending the 6th WILD ABOUT SCIENCE Odyssey Symposium hosted by the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation. Educators from 79 schools across 34 school districts in BC participated in collaboration workshops to share and inspire new ideas for engaging students in science, technology, engineering and math. Dan Pontefract, Head of Learning and Collaboration at TELUS – shared his innovative strategies for collaborative teaching that leverage social technologies and empower learners. Dan encouraged delegates to engage in a learning process that is connected, collaborative and continuous – and that the behaviour of collaboration needs to be developed first, before it is fused with technology. He also shared insights from his book “Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization.“

Odyssey Schools – including Queen Elizabeth, Burnaby Central, Alberni District, Charles Hayes, Princess Margaret, Terry Fox and Yale Secondary/Abbotsford Innovation Centre - showcased innovative teaching practices like flipped classrooms, project-based learning in outdoor environments, STEM skill development, and how to connect with industry and community to help students discover careers in science. Odyssey Partners from Science World, Genome BC, Lets Talk Science, Vancouver Aquarium and University of Victoria Earth & Ocean Sciences shared their expertise and resources during hands-on workshops. Odyssey Teachers - from North Delta, Steveston-London, Summerland, Walnut Grove and Alberni District Secondary - acted as Workshop Catalysts to share creative ideas on how to engage students with new ways of teaching.

MOF Board Members hosted workshops that included topics like: Easy “Dollar Store” Science World Demos; Virtual Teaching & Learning; Socrative Interactive Student Response; Diving Deep Ocean Research & Collaboration with Vancouver Aquarium; Genome BC Outreach Resources & Alien Baby DNA; Computer Simulations; Introducing the Engineering Problem-Solving Process; Connecting Earth Science, Aboriginal Knowledge & Local Community; and Integrating Project-Based Learning in Outdoor Environments. Delegates used Idea X-Change cards to share their ideas and Action Cards helped turn Odyssey Ideas Into Actions back in the classroom. Science World, Genome BC and Boreal Northwest provided great prizes for the social media challenge and face to face networking games.

Several schools were honoured with Odyssey Outstanding Achievements Awards, before closing remarks by Dr. Bruce Beairsto – who stressed the importance of staying engaged in learning, getting connected with others and trying not to work in isolation. He encouraged delegates to experiment with new ways of teaching - that mastery and absolute accuracy is not the ideal - and that we can fail fast and then innovate – in a process of continuous, connected and collaborative learning.

Odyssey Symposium delegates shared their feedback:

"Once again, thank you for a great day Saturday. It is definitely one of the best professional development days science teachers can have!"

"Teachers really appreciate meeting and sharing ideas with other teachers to help educate and excite the learners of today. Mitchell Odyssey Foundation is making a big difference in science and education."

"Being able to collaborate and connect with other teachers is so valuable. Seeing what others are doing is very inspiring. We spent several hours discussing how to incorporate some of the great ideas from the symposium into our own practices.  . . . Taking risks, even if they are not always successful, is the best way to explore new possibilities to enrich our students learning experiences."

"I really appreciate the community feel that has been created over the years. Acquaintances have become friends that I look forward to seeing at the Symposium. My learning network grows every year and sparks of new ideas are firing! Thanks again to the Mitchell Odyssey Foundation."