I recently was able to attend the Lead 3.0 conference in Redondo Beach CA which is a symposium of Educational Leadership for the 21st century.
Now for me in my relatively new role outside the classroom as a TOSA, it was quite the experience to be part of a group admins and leaders. I was able to catch up with several Ed Tech friends, have a little Jedi Juice (aka some Silver Bullets) and do a little all-around networking. In the session I attended I walked away with some great insight and ideas.
Amy Fadeji gave a live virtual tour by interviewing admins from throughout the country in Google Hangouts. We saw Bill Selak’s discuss drones at his school, Jen Kloczko have her kids show their school spirit in dance and principal Brad Gustafson’s demonstration of the transformation of learning spaces in Minnesota. You can see his tour here:
I also attended Jon Corippo & Eric Patnoudes session on developing a 1:1 plan for your district I got
some actually concrete plans and tools that I can take back. I found this very useful since my district of Rocklin Unified is looking into how this can work for us.
My two biggest highlights though were the two keynote speakers:Joe Sanfelippo and Sir Ken Robinson.
Did you know that between the two of them they have combined about 350k Twitter followers?
BTW, that was actually Joe’s joke!
Now about Joe's keynote. His message was all about branding your school or district. He is the superintendent from Fall Creek in Wisconsin and has committed himself to selling and celebrating his staff and students. This resonated with me so much because that is what I have been helping to push back here in Rocklin. We just started our district Twitter account (shout out our communications directory Diana Capra who is stretching her rubber band by learning all about this new world of social media!) Plus we used our spring PD day to introduce all our staff to not just Twitter but the idea of using adistrict hashtag #rusdPROUD to “Promote and Celebrate” our success in Rocklin. Since that PD day about three weeks ago, many teachers throughout the K-12 district have continued this positive message. Now for me Joe’s keynote and corresponding book have been a confirmation and inspiration to keep this mission active. Check out Joe on Twitter, listen to his Go Crickets podcast and get his book “The Power of Branding : Telling Your School’s Story”
Now on to day two; the Ken Robinson lunchtime keynote.
Ken’s keynote, and I bet this is true for most of the people at this conference, was kind the reason we all really made this trip happen. Much like Joe’s message about branding your school, Ken’s TED Talks were both an inspiration and a validation of my thoughts about teaching. His TED talk videos and books have had an impact in every classroom in the country I would imagine. And speaking of those videos he had a funny line to start the keynote, “People work on the model that I am 2 dimensional video”
In his conversations about moving from and INDUSTRIAL approach in education to an AGRICULTURAL one, he demonstrates the need for education reform because of the “conformity and linearity of the system”. Differentiation, personalization, and customization are important as we move forward in designing everything from an individual lesson to a district’s strategic plan.
His key is simply that we as educators need to, like farmers, create the CONDITIONS necessary for learning and success.
He used the story of how both Paul McCartney and George Harrison’s music teacher in Liverpool failed to recognize their talent. And the “human talent varies, is diverse and hard to recognize. We as educators should think differently about talent and possibilities.”
He helped reinvigorate my bucket with comments like:
“Teaching is what I DO, it is what I AM”
“Doing something you love give you energy, feeds your spirit”
So it is important for to remember that “great teachers are great students and they themselves are lifelong learners”
In this conversation about all students and their needs and passions he talked about a Twitter battle” he is in about his comment that “dance is as important as math”. I LOVED THIS COMMENT. So sorry my math friends out there who are reading this but CRAP, AM I TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT MATH? It seems to drive so many conversations and both at my district and beyond. Benchmark standards, interim assessments, fidelity in teaching the subject, and oh Common Core seems to be all I hear about. Where are the talks about Dance, Theater, Graphic Design, Science and oh Social Studies? I got off the rails here a bit… I will save this for another post one day!
I am just paraphrasing some of what he said but if you have not heard his message or would like to hear more I recommend his TED Talks (this one is my favorite below) and his newest book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education which I just purchased as well.
Oh, and speaking of this book, now the crazy part of this story for me. Several of us were waiting in line to buy a book and have Ken sign it. I was standing with several others including Joe Sanfellipo and my co-host partner in crime Brian Briggs. The word spread that they ran out of books to purchase but we could all have Ken sign anything else you would like. Joe grabbed a program and had Ken sign it as they were both on the front page together. For myself I thought, it’s small but, why not have him sign one of our Check This Out laptop stickers?
When it was my turn I said hello and asked about signing the sticker and he said sure. As he was signing I told him it was from our podcast and this really piqued his interest. He mentioned how he recently was on the Adam Carolla podcast and that he is thinking about maybe doing one himself. He then started asking Briggs and I all sorts of details from our subject to how many listeners and more. It was awesome! I felt a little guilty about those in line behind me but it’s not often you get to talk podcasting with someone knighted by the Queen!
We then asked for our photo and he even dropped the comment that he will check out the podcast! Here’s the photo proof too! WOW. What a day.
So know what to do a week and a half after this inspiration? That’s the hook though isn’t it? We all often attend conferences and leave saying what I had in my head…
“Where Do I Start”?