Today, we joined the Principal Summit for an unconference. This was really cool because today was also EdCamp Fort Worth, which I was supposed to be at as a member of the planning team. I still got to unconference and watch both streams (#DENSI2014 and #edcampfwtx) on Twitter.
The blending of DEN LC members and principals was a unique opportunity and ended up providing a great diversity of perspective into the sessions. My day started off with a session I proposed, which was the gamification of professional development. The double room I was scheduled in was packed and we had a balanced blend of teachers and administrators in the room. Lots of resources were shared but the thing I’m most excited about was the decision to attempt to come up with a framework and basic “game” written by DEN members that can be used in any school or district. Many districts do not have the staff or the resources to pull something like this off very quickly, so here is another chance for the DEN to provide a much-needed resource to those who need it most!
Next, I went to a session led by Howard Martin about how resources can be shared within the Discovery Education platform. This discussion led to some great ideas and suggestions for future development by DE.
While the principals went to a session led by DE staff, the LC broke out into their teams for planning. I’m a part of the blog and social media team. I won’t tell you the things we discussed in there because I want them to be a surprise if they ever happen! What I will tell you is that the blog and social media team is filled with a terrific bunch of ideators who brainstormed enthusiastically the whole time. Lots of great stuff being talked about!
After lunch, I went to a session about online spaces. This session was facilitated by DENnis Grice and Marita Diffenbaugh. They shared the platforms their districts have used and/or have quit using to open up the discussion about providing online spaces for students and teachers. A lot of discussion was given to Edmodo and Schoology and the logistics of rolling out a new platform.
The mid-afternoon session was when many of us became overwhelmed with the activity for the day and a few even participated in #napchat which was held in the second floor lounge area. I went to a session in the cinema hosted by Sandy MacDougall, where he shared ways his district has developed and used PD.
During the 3:00 session, I spent time in a discussion facilitated by Rachel Yurk to toss around the idea of a way to tap into the talent that exists in the DEN. It was a great discussion, and I think some really cool things will come out of that session.
At the end of the day, we gathered in the cinema for a closing by Jannita. In it, she encouraged us to decide who we are and what our goals are, then do something about it. She awarded each of us the “Light Award”, which was a really powerful way to remind us that we make a difference every day.
All of the session notes are attached to the unconference schedule. You can access it here.
The evening festivities included a bus trip to the Wildhorse Saloon. It was perfect. There was good music, fun dancing, and space to talk with friends.