Saturday was the kickoff for the Classflow #EduLounge tour. Besides the fact that I got to hang out with educational rockstars like Tom Whitby, Steven Anderson, and Nick Provazano, I was able to be a part of something designed to be different. Taking a spin from the success of edcamps, which is a nontraditional way to go about PD, the Educators Lounge wants to make you think about learning different.
What Saturday was:
- Casual- No formal attire needed here, it was more about what you hearing than you were wearing. It was supposed to be a come as you are, learn as you want- type of day. You were able to come and go as you pleased, and there were snacks and drinks available. Held at the Lakewood Theater in Dallas, the entire vibe was casual and comfortable.
- Inspirational- Listening to Arvin Ross was incredible. This young man has overcome more in his 22 years than many of us see in a lifetime. He spoke about unlocking your creative genius, but that isn’t want I took away. He made the statement that his life was changed when his teachers took him out for coffee, and let him know that their biggest priority wasn’t him getting an A in their class. He reminded me that if you can make a connection with a child, if you unleash his passion for learning, you’ll never have to force them to lean anything.
- Reaffirming- Doing things differently is ok. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending that status quo is going to grow a generation of innovative thinker isn’t ok. There was an underlying message that encouraged taking risks, working through your failures, and taking chances in your classroom. A high schooler who had his phone taken away and was reprimanded shrugged and went on to become the CEO of the iSchool initiative, which is introducing a students-teaching-teachers approach to professional development to share a new perspective with teachers and administrators. Their mission: revolutionize the American education system through technology and promote a culture of lifelong learning.
What Saturday wasn’t:
- About an app, a device, or a tool: I had the realization on the drive home that not one time were any of the speakers promoting an app or a tool as a way to change the world. Rarely in eduland these days do you find that to be true! While, thankfully, the student consumer push is fading, it still was impressive to think back through the day and realize the speakers didn’t focus on a “silver bullet”, but rather a way of thinking.
- Increasing your stress level There was no pressure. There were no expectations. Being able to mingle in the crowd and have follow up conversations with the speakers allowed everyone to connect and dial down to what mattered to them. Nick walked a teacher through creating a “genius hour” mindset in his middle school classroom, despite lack of funds or technology. Tech specialists from Rockwall connected with the iSchool Initiative team about bringing them out. I don’t know about you, but typically at a conference, I don’t get to have follow up time with the folks that presented that interested me.
- A financial drain. This event was free. From the light snacks to the heavier horderves, to the motivating speakers…there was no cost. The vent was also live streamed, so those not around in Dallas were able to watch as well. I know several people who had commitments but streamed it and benefited as well. In a day of budget cuts and extremely fiscally conscious districts, conferences that cost an arm and a leg just aren’t attainable for most people.The Educators Lounge is giving you access to the Godfather of Twitter and the closing Keynote of #ISTE13…for free!
I am so thankful to have been a part of this day. If you missed it and are interested in the stream, it has been archived and is available. I encourage you to check out the website, The Educators Lounge, and see when a Classflow event is coming your way!
A Proud lounger,