Conversations

During each of the six breakout sessions throughout the weekend, a large number of conversations will take place. This site will help you organize your plan for the weekend and provide the relevant information for each conversation. After signing in, search through the conversations below and mark the sessions you are interested in to populate your personal schedule on the right (or below if on your mobile phone).

Visual Narrative for Teachers

Douglas Herman, Josh Weisgrau

In this three-hour intensive workshop, you will work with the students and faculty of SLA’s Rough Cut Productions to learn the technical and artistic techniques of communicating through video. The skills you will learn will be valuable both in creating great video content to help your students learn, and mentoring your students to create compelling video projects across disciplines.

Closing the Gender Gap in Innovation: Engaging Girls in STEM

Session 1
Jennifer L Scheffer, Mira Mehdi, Cat Hoyt, Kristin Johnson, Kelsey O'Brien

This conversation will focus on how to empower young women to enroll and succeed in STEM based courses. Here from a panel of four innovative young women enrolled in Burlington High School's Student Technology Innovation and Integration course. Learn about their programs best practices and leave with student generated ideas on how to increase enrollment among young women in the STEM courses offered at your own school.

Empathy THE 21st Century Skill

Session 1
Samantha Morra

Empathy is THE 21st Century Skill. Global awareness and the ability for technology to bring the world into our classrooms is important, but only if we can use these tools to better understand ourselves and others. Let's discuss how technology can foster empathy and encourage students to be problem solvers.

Get things moving: Theory into action steps

Session 1
Adam Provost

Death by committee! Sound familiar? Discussions on 'change' can go on in schools cyclically often with little or no movement. Creating dynamic shifts at little or no cost is possible. Explore best practices from innovators worldwide and with peers for advisory, school schedule, professional development, capstone / internship opportunities, project choice / interdisciplinary projects, and even school lunch!

Mentoring Passion

Session 1
Jennifer Ward, Christina Brennan

Building mentorship relationships into passion-driven inquiry projects empowers learners of all grades and levels. Learn how an elementary librarian and a high school English teacher connected their student learners, establishing mentors for the inquiry process.

Rethinking the Purpose, Process and Promise of Professional Learning

Session 1
Kristen Swanson and David Jakes

Do we really need "PD" anymore? In a world where content and connections are limitless, why do we need to put restraints on professional learning? What if the only PD course a school ever offered was: How to Learn Something When You Need to Learn Something? In this conversation, challenge yourself to begin rethinking what professional learning means, how organizations can support more diverse and contemporary models of learning, and how schools can build a culture of sustainable professional learning.

Teacher Agency and the Need for #Edjoy

Here’s a belief: to be invested in learning, students need agency. It’s simple, direct. Non-negotiable. Here’s a question: what about teachers? Too often their agency is forgotten or ignored, although it’s no less imperative. How can educators maintain agency? Join this conversation as we explore one necessity: joy.

Those who CAN do…Teach! Educators on Leading Change

Session 1
Daniel Baron, Donnan Stoicovy, Renee Owen, Jenn Moore

This conversation is an opportunity to hear from those who have been supporting and providing the conditions for teachers to act as changemakers as well as ‘changemaker makers’. We will discuss the conditions necessary for helping teachers see themselves as leaders of change in both their classrooms and school communities.

Advisory at SLA

Session 2
Kristina Scalia-Jackson, Allison Kelly, Bella Beato

This presentation is dedicated entirely to advisory at SLA. We felt that focussing on this area gives a good depiction as to what makes Science Leadership Academy what it is, what makes it so different compared to other high schools around the country, and SLA’s impact on education.

Can we and should we assess character?

Session 2
Jonathan Martin

Grit. Curiosity. Integrity. Empathy. Our national (and global) educational conversation is increasingly about the importance of these skills. Can we and should we assess them in our schools? Let's discuss. Among other things, we'll look at the Mission Skills Assessment, which measures Teamwork, Creativity, Ethics, Resiliency, Curiosity, and Time Management.

Gamification - A scaffold for instructional design and mastery learning

Session 2
Philip Vinogradov

Gamification applies elements of game design, specifically video games, as a model for instructional scaffolding. This conversation will explore how gamification can be leveraged to create an instructional cycle that supports challenge-based inquiry, differentiation, and cooperative interdependence, as learners "play" through quests to unlock "powers" for greater learner autonomy.

Mapping the Territory: Going Dark, Outsourcing Self Control, and Other Online Adventures

Session 2
Shelley Krause, Archana Ahlawat, Alex Kochanik, Nithin Vijendla

Three high school seniors think out loud about navigating life with a digital doppelganger. One uses his computer... to keep himself off his computer. Another “scrubbed” his digital trail clean… but is having second thoughts. One feels she just can’t be as productive…. without access to her digital network. Come converse!

Reinventing your PLN

Session 2
Andy Marcinek, Lyn Hilt

As a result of our learning together, participants will leave with clear strategies for utilizing social media for personal learning network development. We will take a critical look at popular social media services to determine effective ways to engage with other educators and sustain meaningful conversations focused on learning.

Anatomy of the wired history classroom

Session 3
Yolanda Wilcox-Gonzalez, Melissa Alkire, Geeta Jain, Rodney Yeoh, Kader Adjout

Sharing examples and looking at case studies of how technology enhances teaching and learning, this workshop will focus on a history/social studies approach to teaching with technology, but will present tools that can be used in any classroom environment. Participants will experiment tech tools that have worked well in our daily teaching and have been practical and efficient for students' learning, especially in a project-based learning environment.

Crafting a Digital Identity

Session 3
Rafranz David, Becky Fisher, Jeffrey McClurken, Jennifer Orr, Tim Stahmer

Everyone has a digital identity, like it or not. Responsibly developing and maintaining that identity are critical skills for educators and students. What role should educators play in developing these skills? What do educators need to do themselves to shape their digital identities and to serve as models for students?

Grades are stupid: Let’s promote and assess the process of learning, not just products.

Session 3
Reshan Richards

Emerging technologies, current research, and innovative pedagogies have supported the ways that students learn and demonstrate what they understand. Unfortunately, the archaic practices of grades and grading still dominate assessment conversations, even though assessment is much more than a static number or letter. Students now make their thinking visible more easily, and it is up to educators to recognize and harness the value in new approaches to assessment.

Project Stargazer: Student-Led Collaborative Design and Education

Session 3
Derrick Pitts, Alexander Wroblewski, Andrew Roberts, and Morgan Caswell

This is a conversation led by the students of Project Stargazer. Learn about the process high-school students can take to develop their own collaborative projects, based on the experiences of a group of Science Leadership Academy students who created a student-led project in collaboration with The Franklin Institute and Boeing.

What's next for PBL?

Session 3
Laura Thomas

PBL (and I'm talking about ALL the PBLs here) has been around for awhile. What do you do to take your PBL practice to the next level? How do you +1 the PBL experience for your students AND for yourself?

#edsec: Information Security and Privacy in the Classroom

Every day, educators pass valuable digital literacy skills to students. In the rush to explore content creation, online privacy and security are frequently overlooked. This discussion will explore information security challenges in the classroom, and will giving educators easy-to-implement information security strategies to minimize the privacy + security breaches online and in the classroom.

Code this!

Session 4
Kader Adjout, Joe Christy

This is an inquiry-based, collaborative, and interdisciplinary design challenge allowing students in math and history to do research, analyze data, and present their information using coding and other formats such as infographics.

Empowering Critical Relationships with Media

Session 4
Douglas Herman and Josh Weisgrau

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently acknowledged a distinction between “entertainment” screen time which should be limited, and educational and "active" screen time that can be beneficial. So how do we tell the difference? and how do both impact thoughtful consumption and critical creation of new media?

Freedom, Autodidacticism, and Learning

Autodidacticism is the act of teaching oneself. There has been much discussion in edtech circles around autodidactism and how it applies to learning with technology in schools. Let’s discuss how autodidacticism impacts the range of learning experiences and professional development we offer our students and teachers.

Imagining Digital Spaces for Learning

The Web now provides an infinite canvas for developing spaces that are boundless locations for learning. At the same time, the types of devices that students have and can use to connect online are exploding. Given these two ideas, and the potential they represent for learning, it is essential that schools begin to develop a dedicated digital spaces for learning. In this conversation, we’ll discuss potential models for the design of such a space while developing a manifesto that provides a declaration and invitation into digital learning.

Teaching STEM with Fiction

Session 4
Lev Fruchter

Has an ecosystem ever been presented more memorably than in Richard Adams’ novel Watership Down? Stories are humanity’s most enduring form of knowledge and have a vital place in STEM learning. Join in creating a library of fiction for teaching STEM, a pioneering resource of material and practice!

Tech Still Matters

Session 4
Paul Allison, Christy Kingham, Louise Bauso, Julie Masarof

Tools come and go, but what remains? Teachers whose students use http://youthvoices.net will talk about what we have learned about the technologies that seem essential to our pedagogy after twelve years of working together to build a social network that promotes youth voices and connected inquiry.

Getting our Kum-ba-ya On

Session 5
Susan Dreyer Leon

Mindfulness is the new buzzword in EduCircles these days. But what is it, exactly? What does it look like in different incarnations and different settings? Is it a relaxation technique, a stress reducer, or the feel good hit of the new school year? Is Mindfulness a passing fad or the key to powerful teaching and learning- or something in between?

I abandoned my grading policy and you won’t believe what happened next: Mastery Tracking 101

Session 5
Sarah Prendergast, Michelle Leimsider, Lesly Lantigua, Tajanea Woodroffe, and Lissa Sangree-Calabrese

What does a student’s grade actually mean? Join a conversation led by NYC iSchool students and their teacher to learn how mastery-based learning and tracking can give students, families and teachers a genuine understanding of student knowledge. Find out what it’s like to really know what your students know while empowering students to take real ownership of their learning and walk away with plans (both big and small) to incorporate mastery tracking into your classroom.

Learning To Lead In An Inquiry Driven School

Session 5
Aaron Gerwer

Based on my experiences as a principal intern at SLA I will facilitate a discussion around leadership practices that support student and teacher agency. We will discuss unlearning elements of “traditional” models and aligning leadership choices to core beliefs about the humanity of all members of the school community.

Re-Languaging School

Session 5
Alex Shevrin

How do the words we choose to use in school impact our students, positively or negatively? How might we use language to empower, include, and reimagine? Let's dig in to the evocative lexicon of education and unpack how we talk the talk.

The Readiness Project

Session 5
Chris Jackson

Quick: Define “college readiness”. Now: compare what’s in your head with definitions that have been established by standardized testing publishers, policy makers, and colleges themselves? Are they in alignment? Likely not. Let’s redefine college readiness and discuss innovative teaching and assessment practices (you’re likely already utilizing) that are aligned with our new, consensus-built definition.

Create Something Great

Session 6
Linda Conway, Mary Murphy

How do you bring the most innovative teachers in a school district together to network with experts in education, industry, and technology to shift instructional practice? You Create Something Great! Join the conversation about a think tank that ignited passion and enthusiasm for innovation with instruction.

Forget FBLA...We're Creating Social Entrepreneurs Today

Session 6
Melissa Scott, Joey Starnes, Shannan Schuster, Lisa Williams, Karen Davis

Our conversation will address the missing yet essential elements of most schools’ curricular programs: innovation and social justice. We’ll discuss how the two can be combined in a Social Entrepreneurs class in which students merge their own passions with a need in their community to develop a student-run business.

Life Beyond School Walls

Session 6
Justin Lanier

The majority of human life and activity—and the vast majority of adult life and activity—happen beyond our schools' walls. Taking this as a starting point, how can we put our students in touch with the living and doing that's happening in the world? Like, for real.

Teaching students to operate in an open learning environment without telling them how.

Session 6
James Calhoun, Michael Schneider, Shaun Martin, John Buch, Ryan McClintock

One suburban Colorado neighborhood school pushes the boundaries of transformative educational. Here we outline our challenge and attempt to answer three questions: Why? Why is this challenge a worthy endeavor? What? What are the obstacles in a traditional neighborhood public school? How? How are these obstacles overcome?

When Innovation Fails

Session 6
Brett Clark, Erin Klein

In this conversation we will discuss what happens when the innovations don’t succeed in the way you thought they would. Join Erin Klein and Brett Clark as we discuss the ups and downs of innovation. During the down times how do you retain buy-in, rebuild trust, and move forward?

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