Baltimore, MD June 8th & 9th
Thanks to some great connections and support from the MiEd Voice Fellowship I have the chance to fly to Baltimore to be part of the #Future Ready Summit. I can't wait to fill this page up with the amazing learning opportunities I am bound to have there!
It's All About Transforming the Culture Not the Device!
First thing during the morning of the Summit, I had the great pleasure of having a personal tour of the school where the incredible administrator Joe Manko works. He was kind enough to bring me through every floor of his school and share with me the incredible things that are being done there. I made sure to take good notes on ideas that I could bring back to my school for possible implementation. I was impressed with all the hard work they are doing there and noticed that US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan felt the same a week later when he also visited Liberty Elementary.
Amazing work being done at Liberty Elementary School!
Time for the Summit to Begin
The Summit started with a welcoming message from Bob Wise President of Alliance for Excellent Education & Arne Duncan Secretary of Education. The two day Summit was moderated by Tom Murray (Alliance for Excellent Education) & Katrina Stevens (US Department of Education). Following the incredible 30 minute Keynote, I tracked down Keynote speaker Eric Sheninger who wrote the book Digital Leadership. I was just wrapping up a book study with a group including Eric on the phone app Voxer. He did a great job kick starting the Summit and reminded us that this is all about a shift in our mindset and approach to education. He reminded us to focus on solutions rather than problems.
We then started our first District Sharing Time of Success and Expertise, which I was lucky enough to be a part of. I however was a bit different because I was sharing mostly information of how the Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship has supported me during this year and some of the great resources they have in connection to Higher Standards for our learners.
We were then treated to a very delicious lunch and had table discussions on issues that were posted on each table. I chose the table that had the topic of using social media to grow your own personal Professional Learning Network. I was able to share with others the power of Voxer and we also discussed Twitter for those people who prefer written over auditory methods of sharing.
During the afternoon we listened to Roberto J. Rodriguez Deputy Assistant to the President for Education and were able to ask a few questions. I made sure to take advantage of this and asked what the government thought about how districts are supposed to get funding for the actual devices for the classroom once connectivity is achieved. He acknowledged that this is indeed an issue and commented that he was also from Grand Rapids! I was happy to sit through a session the following day all about ideas for funding. We then listened to a panel of local experts describing effective digital learning implementations. "Seeds of Future Ready Districts in Our Backyard". The panel was made up of S.Dallas Dance- Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, Patrick K. Murphy- Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools (VA) and Bridget O'Connell- Superintendent of Palisades School District (PA). After listening to their great examples of what they are doing we moved into a session discussion on critical roles strong leaders play in setting the vision, modeling and developing an effective culture. We were able to add to the conversation by using AnswerGarden.
The next step was to be introduced to the Interactive Planning Dashboard: A Systemic Tool to begin in-depth team time to begin action planning for their district. I was the sole person from my district so I used this time to connect with other educators who were not part of teams and also observe the process to share with my district in the future. We ended the PD part of the day with Vision Sharing as each team created a poster of what it meant to be Future Ready.
From 5pm-6:30pm we were able to enjoy some connecting and strategic networking during the District and Regional Networking Reception~ INCREDIBLE FIRST DAY!
The day started with breakfast at 7:30am and quickly moved into a recap of Day 1, and a discussion of the highest hopes and greatest fears along with an overview of the expectations of Day 2. I took the microphone to share that one of the things I have often seen is the purchase of devices without a plan for continuing Professional Development making the device become expensive paper weights. I was able to catch a quick picture with Summit moderator Tom Murray who made it possible for me to attend and say a huge thank you to him.
Breakout Session 1 gave an option for Professional Learning or Curriculum, Instruction and Devices. I chose to attend a session given by Jeff Mao Senior Director of Learning Solutions Program and Steve Garton Senior Manager- Common Sense education. I was very excited to learn more about the SAMR model and heard a different twist and view to this model. I have been presenting on the SAMR model over the past year and now know that the way a teacher may classify a project depends on the teacher's experience with technology integration. We processed through different scenarios and shared our different thoughts and views. The following link is where the digital version of the document for this session can be downloaded. http://tinyurl.com/FR-SAMR Additional resources can also be found at http://commonsense.org/educators
After the breakout sessions there was more Team Time to work on Gap Analysis and Action Planning. Teams continued working through the dashboard to plan for their districts to implement technology integration. District Sharing Time 2 sharing Success and Expertise for Districts M-Z followed. Many districts shared amazing things that are already being done through this region. As the picture shows districts were very enthusiastic and motivated to share their successes. The below picture is of Middletown Township School District from NJ- Superintendent William George, III.
After another delicious lunch we had our 2nd Breakout Session to attend. The four sessions to choose from were as follows: Funding Strategies (Budget and Resources), Keeping Kids Safe Online (Data and Privacy), Community and Parent Outreach and Networks and Infrastructure. I chose to attend the Funding Strategies that was given by Richard Culatta- Director of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education. It was one of the highlights of the Summit~ He shared many ideas that had us thinking of different ways that we could gain funding. What can districts stop doing as we are transitioning to digital learning? I was not aware that as a Nation we are spending 8 billion dollars on text books! Paper, Toner etc. for the use of printers are also a large expense. With whom can districts partner with? Creative fund raising... these were just a few of the thought provoking questions raised during this session.
The rest of the afternoon was spent once again in Team Time- Gap Analysis and Action Planning. For those teams that were there together including Superintendents and key planners for districts, much time was given to process through the dashboard tool to create their action plan. http://dashboard.futurereadyschools.org/