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).

#edsec: Information Security and Privacy in the Classroom

Jessy Irwin

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.

Advisory at SLA

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.

Anatomy of the wired history classroom

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.

Authentic Learning in the Digital Age... LIVE

Larissa Pahomov

This session will bring the content of the title book to life by sharing the real-life practices and lessons of SLA students and teachers who use the book's framework every day.

Busting Silos in School Strategy

Bryan Lakatos

School strategic planning is often an exercise in figuring out what needs to be done in order to continue doing what always has been done. How might we change our approach in order to better achieve our goals?

Can we and should we assess character?

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.

Closing the Gender Gap in Innovation: Engaging Girls in STEM

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.

Code this!

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.

Community and University Partnerships: How do we cultivate them?

Matthew N VanKouwenberg and others

SLA works with many different partners. How do they benefit our students? How do we form those partnerships? How can you form similar partnerships? Join us for a conversation about the formation of these partnerships and many benefits to our students.

Crafting a Digital Identity

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?

Create Something Great

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.

Creating A Stronger Home/School Connection

Scott Totten

Parents shouldn't have to ask, "What did you do in school today?" Students can create products to connect with parents, other students & personalized authentic audiences. We are going to discuss and share resources to help spread the word about the great things that are going on in our classrooms.

Debating the Purpose of the EdTech Conference

Rafranz Davis, Sarah Thomas

In a time when we have unlimited access to information, including new technology, what is the purpose of the current edtech conference model? Join us to discuss why we continue to support these yearly events that are often non-transformative, non-informative, and non-diverse.

Digital Portfolios for Student Reflection

Wendy Eiteljorg, Bethany Silva

A Digital Portfolio (Pilot) Discussion: why would students maintain a reflective portfolio, how would this work, how would we convince others to join in?

Doodling the C’s: Creativity, Comprehension, Communication & Connections

Shelley Paul, Jill Gough

How might notetaking become more active, personal, brain-compatible and shareable? How might we incorporate symbols and doodles to improve listening, better express ideas, summarize/synthesize learning and make connections? Join a conversation and practice session to explore how we might grow ourselves and our learners through doodling and visual thinking.

Edu-fying Design: Adapting the Designer’s Toolkit for Education

Cynthia Warner, Alana Laudone

How might we “edu-fy” design thinking tools to make them responsive to the educator’s language and context? Join us to explore core approaches in user-centered design and to rebuild them for the educator: creating a responsive toolkit for educators to problem-solve and innovate in their schools!

Empathizing with the world by creating (and sharing) online maps and videos

Steve Goldberg

Taking time to really think about other people in the world by zooming into the places where they live fosters empathy. Help students bring "Ferguson, Missouri" or "a Syrian refugee camp" to life with dynamic online maps. Participants will create and share maps and videos they can use in their teaching as they broaden students’ global perspective.

Empathy THE 21st Century Skill

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.

Empowering Critical Relationships with Media

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?

Encouraging Student Voice

Matthew Kay

Mentors from the Philly Youth Poetry Movement facilitate a discussion on incorporating creative writing, performance skills, and public service into a powerful, student-centered humanities curriculum.

Exercising Our Superpower: How every school can build empathy in children.

Jean White, Laura Pladson

In this session, participants will learn about how two Title I traditional public schools build empathy in their students. The session will include storytelling with accounts from a teacher and counselor, modeling and practicing methods the schools use, and sharing out of best practices for building empathy from the audience. ​

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

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.

Fostering Creativity and Innovation Across a K-12 Continuum

Basil Kolani

Many schools have creative pockets, a class here or there where some truly innovative things happen. But what does this look like school-wide? In this conversation, we'll examine what happens when student-centered problem solving, injury, and creativity are at the heart of every grade from preK to 12.

Freedom, Autodidacticism, and Learning

Joe Bires

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.

Gamification - A scaffold for instructional design and mastery learning

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.

Get things moving: Theory into action steps

Adam Provost

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

Getting our Kum-ba-ya On

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?

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

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.

How teachers can redesign their schools

Andrew Biros, Joshua Kleiman

This conversation will seek to provide a space to share best practices, resources & student reflection from Kensington CAPA's teacher led instructional redesign, in order to cultivate ideas & designs for teachers who desire to make positive change at their schools.

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

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.

Imagining Digital Spaces for Learning

David Jakes

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.

Learning To Lead In An Inquiry Driven School

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.

Life Beyond School Walls

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.

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

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!

Mentoring Passion

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.

NYC Expanded Success Initiative -Design Thinking in Service of Students

John Duval, Darius Mensah, Brandon Corley, John Clemente

The NYC Expanded Success Initiative Fellows utilized design thinking to construct a school model to address the disparities facing Black and Latino young men. In this conversation, participants will engage in co-creation as we explore some of the challenges faced in the design phase and execution of the school model.

Project Stargazer: Student-Led Collaborative Design and Education

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.

Re-Languaging School

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.

Reducing Suspensions and Arrests in schools

Joshua Laub

Creating community among a group of stakeholders including parents, students, police officers, school personnel, and advocates to carefully examine the issues connected to schools with high rates of suspension and school based arrest.

Reinventing your PLN

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.

Rethinking the Purpose, Process and Promise of Professional Learning

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.

School Partnership and Student Voice

Zoe Siswick, Rich Noonan and SLA and Strath Haven HS students

The challenges and successes of creating and maintaining a successful school partnership.

Shifting the Focus: Elevating Student Voices

Joshua Block, Amal Giknis

SLA students and teachers will share examples and experiences that shift the learning focus to students' inquiry and projects that elevate student voices. Session participants will then create a public project, elevating their own voices.

So What's Your Question?

Chris Fancher

As Sesame Street's Big Bird says, "Asking questions is a good way to find things out." We will model a questioning process and then we will discuss opportunities where participants can use this in your work.

STEAMing-Teach Electronics & Programing through Art

David Held

When students create art, there is no limit to what they can learn. In an Art and Technology course, students delve into the Maker Movement, learn programming, engineering and electronics while stretching their imagination and problem solving abilities. Teachers need not be programmers or engineers to guide students.

Teacher Agency and the Need for #Edjoy

Scott Glass

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.

Teaching STEM with Fiction

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!

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

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?

Tech Still Matters

Paul Allison, Christy Kingham, Louise Bauso, Jennifer Woolven, 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.

The F-Word: Why Our Kids Need Feminism, and How You Can Teach It

Christina Jenkins

Our kids are touched by gender stereotypes every day. What are the explicit and implicit ways we communicate our own bias to our students? How can we instead work to end this cycle of oppression, which our students learn to perpetuate themselves? What's the place for feminism in our classrooms?

The Privileged Voices in Education

Audrey Watters, Jose Vilson

Whose voices are heard in education (education reform, education technology) circles? While it might be easy to identify (and lambast) the "corporate" voices, are we truly offering and supporting diverse voices in response? Who gets to speak "for" students, for teachers, for change? How can we do better?

The Readiness Project

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.

The Savvy Online Student

Ted Bongiovanni

Learn methods to prepare savvy online students in your online classes and programs. This session demonstrate effective methods (and metrics) for ensuring students are ready for their online learning experience.

Those who CAN do…Teach! Educators on Leading Change

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.

Visual Narrative for Teachers

Douglas Herman and 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.

What is your mindset, and where should it be?

Spike Cook

Based off the popular book Mindset by Carol Dweck, this conversation will allow you to explore whether or not you have a growth or fixed mindset. In this conversation, learn how your mindset impacts teaching and learning. Can you change your mindset? Participate in this conversation to find out.

What's next for PBL?

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?

When Innovation Fails

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?

Working from Color Blind to Color Conscious

Adam Holman, Stephanie Cerda

Whiteness. By modeling activities from the University of Texas' Principalship Program, with it’s anti-racist leadership and social justice focus, attendees will work to unpack previously unexplored assumptions and will walk away with tools to share with others.

“The Wannado Curriculum: Scenes from a Dynamic Math 2.0 Classroom”

David Weksler, Ihor Charischak

“The Wannado Curriculum: Scenes from a Dynamic Math 2.0 Classroom” presents glimpses of what 21st century math teaching and learning could look like if we embrace a student driven, teacher supported, national approach. We would like to add your input, please.

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