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Dwight Global Leaders Present at 2023 IB Global Conference: Education for an Inclusive Future

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Dwight Global Leaders Present at 2023 IB Global Conference: Education for an Inclusive Future
Erin Piemontesi

Distinguished educational speakers and presenters from schools around the world joined Dwight Global Online School leadership in July at the 2023 International Baccalaureate Global Conference held in Toronto, Canada. The exciting three-day conference was packed with dynamic and interactive sessions discussing the latest trends in international education. 

The largest gathering of IB Educators in the Americas, the conference was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center from July 27-30.  Participants had the chance to brainstorm new concepts, reflect on teaching methods and best practices, and network professionally. 

Collaborating on a well-attended presentation were Dwight Global’s Head of Academics and Student Affairs Ms. Elizabeth Hutton; Director of IB Studies Ms. Megan Koepsell; IB English and Theory of Knowledge Teacher Ms. Jocelyn Wiley; and IB Business and Management teacher, and DP Coordinator at Dwight Dubai, Mr. Pete Atkins. Spanish teacher Ms. Noelia Zago contributed to the presentation.  Chancellor Stephen Spahn, Vice-Chancellor Blake Spahn, and Head of School Louisa Childs also represented Dwight Global at the conference.

The Dwight Global leaders’ presentation was entitled “Leveraging Technology for an Inclusive Education: Perspectives From an IB Online Pilot School” and explored how the required use of technology at Dwight Global led to both expected and unexpected positive outcomes. Technology usage has led to greater access and inclusion for many learners, and the Dwight Global session explored how the holistic implementation of the IB Diploma Program has been improved with the aid of technology.

“The presentation went really well!” said Ms. Koepsell. “Our aim was to have an open dialogue posing ourselves questions and answering them in a round-robin discussion. We were able to have an authentic and meaningful discussion that involved the audience to reflect on rethinking obstacles to better use technology to increase student access.” 

Connecting in Person

The annual IB World Conference marks a start to the upcoming school year and is an opportunity to connect with colleagues, hear new ideas, and generate momentum.  

“Connecting in person with colleagues is such an inspiration,” said Ms. Koepsell.  “Although Jocelyn Wiley and I have worked together for two years, we were able to meet in person for the first time.  The joy of our work and human connection was a catalyst into goal-setting and vision for next year. It is also energizing to connect with other IB leaders and hear insight into IB changes and focuses.” 

Ms. Wiley said one of the highlights of the conference was the opening keynote speaker, Dr. Vanessa Andreotti, who is taking over as Dean of the Faculty of Education at University of Victoria, British Columbia. 

“She spoke on ‘Climate, Complexity and Relational Intelligence: Educating for the Possibility of Different Futures,”  said Ms. Wiley. “As an indigenous person, she demonstrated how indigenous knowledge can move us all forward. In one of the other sessions I attended, ‘Indigenous Education for an Inclusive Future,’ I learned about how the IB is working to include indigenous students, as well as indigenous knowledge.”

Ms. Koepsell attended a session that outlined some of the major shifts coming to the IB programs, with projected plans all the way to 2030. 

 “I am excited about the potential for more experiential learning and exploration of interdisciplinary work,” she said. “I was most struck by STEM educator Michelle Zimmerman’s closing session on the use and direction of AI in the classroom.  Zimmerman seeks to explore how this new frontier of AI can enhance the classroom and can better increase student learning and engagement.”

In addition to the Dwight Global presentation, Dwight Global leaders also partnered with the IB to host a session giving an update on the online Diploma Program. 

“It was a great opportunity to sit with the IB and field questions from the attendees on what they want to know about our work,” said Ms. Koepsell.  “It was also an effective platform to converse with the IB about their thoughts on our work.  We are excited to proceed with the online DP and hope to increase our program’s reach to give more students the opportunity to pursue the DP online.” 

“The main thrust of the conference was student inclusion,” continued Ms. Koepsell. “I think that was my biggest take-away.  How can we continue to use our online Diploma Program to expand student access to the program who previously were excluded?”

Taking in the Sights

When the conference participants had a few hours to explore the city and sample local cuisine, they turned to Ms. Wiley, who grew up in Toronto and acted as informal local tour guide for the group. 

“As a Toronto booster, I took them to Woods Restaurant, which features Canadian cuisine like elk meat and Ontario prime beef!” said Ms. Wiley. “On the way we paused to take a photo of the Berczy Park Dog Fountain. Not only do dogs love it, it’s actually constructed of sculptures of dogs! I also went on and on about the history of the Royal York Hotel and why Toronto started out as York (it was a British garrison town),” she said. 

Learn more about Dwight Global’s online IB Diploma Program and faculty on our website.

by Caroline Crosson Gilpin