SEAMEO INNOTECH concluded on 30 March 2012 the open space conference on Learning for the Future, which was co-sponsored by the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP).

Mr. Harrison Owen, the originator of open space technology (OST), led the two-and-a-half days learning sessions involving close to a hundred participants from diverse fields, locally and internationally.

Mr. Owen helped set the stage for open discussions on topics and issues of concern relevant to the conference theme. Around 40 learning sessions covered issues the participants felt strongly about. Among these were on (1) cutting edge practices in Asia; (2) creating a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities; (3) changing “teachers” in a structured system of schooling; (4) what needs to be done to become a teacher for the future; (5) moving towards partnership among groups, schools and communities; (6) convincing government to be citizen-centered and (7) strategies to keep local leaders moving towards community goals.

The sessions were facilitated by the proponents of the ideas raised. The rest were either active participants/contributors to one group or silent observers and listeners to a number of groups—the bumblebees and the butterflies as they are called in OST.

The last day of the conference was devoted to action planning. Mr. Owen called on the participants to think of issues that they deeply cared about but would need some help to move forward. Close to 20 more issues were raised and the participants signed up for the issues that they believed in and would want to support.

A total of eleven countries were represented in the conference, and each participant expressed gratefulness for the chance to establish linkages and for the opportunity to bring forth issues that they cared about the most.

Dr. Sharon Joy Chao, head of SEAMEO INNOTECH’s Learning Management Office, took the lead in organizing the event at the Center’s campus. The conference was preceded by a one-day training on OST at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pasig City, Philippines hosted by PMAP on 27 March.

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