Guest Author: Dr. John Burger, RVS Director of Schools – Research & Data – The 2012 Rocky View Schools Research Conference had a strong external bias and focused extensively on the theoretical design of a SIS, and hosted researchers from 9 universities representing 3 Canadian provinces and 3 states. The 2014 Research Conference theme, “Celebrating Collaborative Research: Using Data to Inform Practice, was heavily premised on an internal/external balance of research completed by and with RVS staff. In many ways this represents an evolution and growth of applied and action research within RVS while maintaining a balance between quantitative and qualitative data to inform and enhance practice.
All of the presenters/discussants in 2014 were researchers and/or practitioners actively engaged in applied research, data-informed decision-making and/or educational leadership, or are policy makers at provincial or jurisdiction levels. Of 43 presenters 23 were affiliated with RVS, reflecting a wonderful and growing commitment to in-house research. We were thrilled to have six presenters from the University of Calgary, Werkland School of Education and look forward to a growing relationship via the Partner Research Schools initiative that Cynthia Prasow and Jennifer Locke presented at one of the break-out sessions. In fact, this conference could well be a prototype for a future regional research conference, building upon the Partner Research Schools initiative. Fourteen other presenters attended the conference from ten other organizations, including: Intellimedia, Practical Data Solutions, Mount Royal University, the Alberta Healthy School Communities Wellness Fund, The Calgary Board of Education, Alberta Education, the ASBA, the University of Alberta, the University of Lethbridge, and the Early Childhood Development Mapping Project.
So we were, again, an eclectic group, in some ways similar to the crew of the starship Enterprise – going where no person had ever gone before, searching for strange worlds of data-informed environments and new knowledge. This metaphor reminds one of a specific Star Trek episode when the starship, Enterprise, encountered an entity described as “pure intelligence”, an omniscient being that knew everything and hence could predict anything and always make the right decisions. This might be our challenge as practioners– to evolve, in an on-going process, towards pure intelligence by pooling our collective wisdom within a research-rich and data-informed environment.
To this end, the 2012 and 2014 Research Conferences are contributing to what will be a continuing process, and as such, each presenter has been invited to contribute to a schedule of post-conference blogs to stimulate on-going reflection around themes identified during this conference. This blog introduces the 2014 blog series.
To conclude, thank you to all who attended, presented, and otherwise supported the Research Conference, to Intellimedia for co-sponsoring, and especially to our emerging and future leaders in the new University of Calgary/Rocky View masters cohort who attended the conference as an extension of their on-going studies. Perhaps the time invested by all of the conference attendees will change our professional lives in ways that help us collectively approach “pure intelligence.”