I just couldn’t keep up. I had committed myself to read and respond to all of our team’s reflections and as many of their tweets as possible. However, the amount of thinking that came at me went beyond what I expected. I’m excited that we’ve had such a great start. The pre-conference was, though a long and important one, a single workshop, and a warm up. I think this is why there wasn’t as much coming from the team.
Once the conference begun in earnest, again, not dismissing the amazing learning that occurred during the pre-conference, the reflection and tweets starting coming in like the oft depicted fire hose. I think this happened because our teachers were really inspired by what they saw at the pre-conference, in particular everything around Roosevelt’s Innovation Academy.
There was one other boost that helped, and that was a mention of our school’s plan by Silvia Tolisano during her keynote. (Woo hoo!) This served as a one -two punch for our team. Siliva surely expressed and challenged everyone at the conference to make use of social media to reflect and connect with colleagues at the conference and those not in Lima. Her compelling sense of urgency, for the sake of our students more than anything, along with the praise she gave our Collaborative Learning Plan helped bring it home for our team, validating our efforts.
Boom. Explosion. So now what?
There are certainly flaws in our plan, flaws that we knew were there going in, but, you know, ready fire aim. In particular I’m thinking about our teachers back home. Some of which are attentive, most of which are, understandably, not tuned in at all. They’re wrapping up the quarter. How do we encourage them to engage with their colleagues?
What’s obvious is that it won’t happen now. We’re not there yet. Speaking with a teachers in HS yesterday, it was clear she still could see no purpose in using Twitter. “I just don’t have the time” she said. So, we have to rely on the documented reflections our teachers have been keeping in WeLearInCommunity. We’ll have to leverage these docs to connect and bring the learning home.
One Idea or Two
We have the SIPS workshops, our in-house teachers teaching teachers mini conference, already on the agenda. Ahead of the workshops, we could ask our teachers to read and comment on their colleague’s AASSA reflections. To encourage diverse learning opportunities, we could ask teachers to review one reflection from a colleague in a different division, a high school teacher reviews a reflection from a lower school teacher, and so on. We might also ask them to review and comment on a second reflection from a teacher that is in their department or division, giving them an opportunity to implement ideas. I think this might help them make a better informed choice on the SIPS workshop they attend and help them come to the workshop with specific questions already in mind allowing the workshop to be more in depth.
We also have the plans that teachers should have made with their teaching teams ahead of the conference to bring back learning. How do we create reasonable expectations, evidence, around this? How do we measure impact on teacher practice and impact on learning?
Some questions I have about this approach and in general… Do we want to, and what would be the best way to, document this next step? Do we make this a professional expectation, a requirement? What parameters would define the expectation? What evidence would we expect of our teachers? How do we decide on the initiatives to prioritize, while getting all of our teacher’s input an buy in? How do we make it real?
What is clear is that version 2.0 of the plan will see teams here at home working to bring back the learning. We’ll “crowd source” the review of our away team’s experience. We’ll build more time into the day to where are home team is tuned in. How can we involve students as well? Surely there will be a student presentation component to the event. Can we connect our students with those presenting in the conference?