Breaking Traditions


The Breaking Traditions Online conference took place on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd March.  It was an online conference sponsored by Albemarle County Public Schools and the William Glasser Institute – US.  This is the third year of the Breaking Traditions conference.  The aims of the conference are to

  1. help create community between the Glasser Quality Schools;
  2. share the ideas of Glasser Quality Schools with progressive educators around the globe; and
  3. learn from the best practices of educators everywhere.

For more background on the conference check out ‘The Story of the Conference’ by the Conference Co-Ordinator Charlotte Wellen.

I love the idea of the conference as it allows people to connect as they can from the comfort of their own homes.  Through Pam Moran I heard of the conference last year and joined some of the sessions.  Pam asked me if I would submit a proposal this year so I agreed and Saturday 23rd March saw me presenting on ‘What can we learn from CoderDojo?’.

The conference kicked off on Friday 22nd March with a keynote presentation from Pam Moran.  What I loved about the keynote presentation was that Pam convened a panel of teachers and students to address the theme of “Emerging Democracy of Voice for Educators and Young People​”.   The ease with which Pam facilitates theses sessions was very evident at the ICT in Education Conference in Thurles last year, and it was lovely to feel that sense of warmth and support come through so clearly at the Breaking Traditions conference this year.   Unfortunately I couldn’t  participate in any of the sessions on the Saturday because of the CoderDojo Divas session in Limerick.  There were many I would have loved to participate in including

These are just some of the many sessions that caught my eye on the rich conference programme.

I decided to try out using Prezi Online for my session as I was concerned that playing the interviews remotely would not work well.  It went really well and is definitely worth looking into if you are presenting remotely.  For the content I went with what Eugene McDonough and I used at the ESAI Conference.    Letting the children and one of the Mum’s from the Dojo tell their story seemed like the best way to go.  Hearing the children talk about

  • learning from each other or by figuring it out for themselves;
  • not being forced to learn;
  • animating their favourite books and
  • learning by working through complicated things

was so much more powerful than anything I could possibly say.

There were a couple of points in the Mum’s interview that really struck a chord with me and others on the night including the beauty of children using their creativity and learning to make things; 

  • how children work with others regardless of age; the sense of community within Coderdojo and the fact that it’s valued that the child knows something which may not always be the case in school.

My Prezi from the session can be found here and a Storify of the session created by Catherine Cronin can be found here.


4 responses to “Breaking Traditions

  1. Great post, Pam — I so enjoyed your Coder Dojo presentation 🙂 I agree with you that the recorded audio and video segments added so much to your session, particularly the voices of children, parents and mentors. Enlightening and enjoyable! Other highlights of the Breaking Traditions conference for me were the sessions on creativity by Mary Loftus and Teen Tech Girls by Kim Wilkens. There were so many other sessions I would have liked to enjoy, by Ira Socol, Becky Fisher, Michael Thornton and more. Kudos to Pam Moran, Albemarle County Schools, and the William Glasser Institute for a terrific event.

    • Thanks Catherine
      I was so disappointed to miss Mary and Kim’s sessions and so many others. As you say kudos to Pam and all involved for organising such a great event.

  2. P.S. Meant to say also that I learned a great deal from your presentation and online presentation style — you told a great story, you were very natural, and Prezi worked well (as you said) for integrating the multimedia elements. Thanks!

    • Catherine,
      I would definitely recommend Prezi (and especially Prezi online) for the multimedia elements. It worked a treat. Huge thanks to Eugene McDonough and Ira Socol for testing that out with me beforehand 🙂

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