First Thought Leader Summit in Barcelona

Nov 6, 2017 · 4 min read

We’re very excited to launch our first Blog Article here on Medium!
Here’s a summary of our first Thought Leader Summit last month.

ODS Thought Leader Summit Barcelona

Our Dream School invited some of the Top International Education Experts to Barcelona to discuss about the latest findings in the field of education. After three days of intensive workshops the experts opened doors and invited more than a 100 guests to the Valkiria Office Space to share their insights with other teachers, mom’s, dad’s, kids and enthusiasts.
The event consisted of three different segments:


The event started with David Price talking about Assessments. He’s a learning futurist, Senior Associate at the Innovation Unit (UK) and author of the best-selling OPEN: How We’ll Work, Live and Learn In The Future about the global shift towards open organisations, and systems of learning (described by Sir Ken Robinson as ‘a revelation’). In an exhilarating and fun way he argued that standardized tests are the crack cocaine of the school system. He compared taking such a test to someone doing keepie-uppies while solving a rubix cube — impressive, but does that really show your capacity to play soccer? He gave the audience enough insight on why we should take serious action against these tests!

Next up was Santi Fuentemilla, Maker Space Guru at FabLab Barcelona, who shared about the Fab Lab. He explained the importance of failure in the design world. In the Lab a specific design circle is followed and the most crucial element in this process is failure. Using Santi’s words “Failure is good, because failure is learning”.

We continued with a panel fantastically moderated by Valerie Hannon, Co-founder of the Innovation Unit and Global Leaders Education Partnership (UK). The panel resulted in an in-depth conversation about new ways of assessment and the importance of acquiring certain competences and map these. Stephen Harris, Founder and Principal at Sydney Center of Innovative Learning and Northern Beaches Christian School (Australia), and Jeremy Birk, Director of Academic Research and Innovation at United Nations International School (USA) plead for a mastery based assessment. Everyone agrees that assessments should leave room for failure, assessment should be feedback, not punishment.


Valerie Hannon presented insights from her book Thrive. She argued that the purpose of education should not be elevation and selection any longer. The purpose of education is thriving. She disclosed four levels of thriving, intrapersonal, interpersonal, societal and planetary. She ended her talk with ‘I might be half wrong, maybe completely wrong’. Well Valerie, we don’t think you are!

Margret Rasfeld, Founder of Schools in Transformation and Global Goals Curriculum 2030, was next up. She took the audience on a journey how she transformed her school and shared about core values and principles of the Evangelische Schule Berlin. One of the key elements is that ‘you only learn how to live together, when you live together’ — this is why students of all ages are mixed.

All agree that great teachers who broaden your perspective are crucial, but also headmasters who give teachers and students the freedom to experiment and try new things are vital.


Christopher Pommerening, founder of Our Dream School took the audience along on the journey of Our Dream School until today. On such a special day it was a very proud moment to see how far the team has come, and even more exciting to show the audience where we are heading.

Last but not least Stephen Harris showed the audience how changes in space improved his school in Sydney. One of his school’s core values is collaboration, thus all staff removed their office and now they’re all working in one big space among the students. According to Stephen having a vision is the most important and first step any school should take to be able to change. The Northern Beaches Christian School’s mission is to ‘exceed all expectations’.

The summit ended with the question on how to get from being on the edge of an educational revolution to actually changing the system. To use Germany’s leading forward thinker Otto Herz’s passionate words — Change starts now and you are the change, so stand up!

A big thanks to all attendees for joining the Summit and share your passionate insights!

How shall your Dream School look like? Share your ideas here!

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