I’ve been reflecting on all of the learning from our time in Lima, there certainly was a lot of it and I’m confident it will keep me busy for quite a while. I went through all of my notes and took notes on the notes. I’m trying to synthesize my learning and make connections from one session to the next. To be honest, it’s hard work! However, a conference like this should be the genesis of great ideas. Too often we leave a conference, class, meeting, etc. with new learning but it gets quickly set aside as we return to the shuffle and hustle of “school.” I wrote earlier about a strategy to ensure success while working toward goals, but how do we choose those goals?
“Less is More” – Priorities Matter
Drawing on a few of the key phrases from the week, I’ll start with “Less is more”. Looking through my pages of notes I can’t help but get a little overwhelmed. In total I had about 24 pages covered in scribblings (not to mention the newspaper I decorated with ideas and thoughts while flying home). Add all of the resources shared on Edmodo and Google Drive and there’s a lot to go through. So where to start?
I’m starting with the “less is more” concept. I’m starting with me. Before I can commit to new initiatives or goals I need to take a look at what I’m currently doing. There’s only so much time in the world, priorities need to be evaluated. So, that’s what I’m in the process of doing. How is my time spent? What are the non-negotiables? What can be reduced? What should be set aside for the time being?
“Think Big, Start Small, Learn Fast” – Patience is a Virtue
On Wednesday I spent the day with the Innovation Academy at FDR. I really enjoyed the experience of learning about the progressive program they’ve created but it was even more special to learn about how they’ve gotten to this point. The real key, that I can see, is that they started small. They didn’t get in over their heads and they learned along the way. These guys had a long term vision and they worked methodically toward their goals (they’re still working to grow and improve!)
Once I figure out my priorities and create the time and opportunity for myself to launch into the next great idea I’ll be sure to follow this maxim. I’ve long been a proponent of working slowly, often at odds with those who want to dive in head first. It takes patience and confidence in both yourself and the idea to go slowly. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes time and patience to create something great…Think big, start small, learn fast!
“Stay Foolish” – Disrupt, push forward
A sign on the door in one of the IA classrooms read, “Stay foolish.” I love it! That, along with the implicit messages from Ewan McIntosh and Martin Skelton, left me with the idea of being disruptive. The thinking we have today in schools is too much in line with the status quo. Where are we going? Seemingly nowhere if we look at education and where we were 5, 10, even 25 years ago. Sure the technology has advanced but have the philosophies?
I’m pretty sure I haven’t come up with the “next big thing” in education but there are certainly some ideas that are capable of disrupting the status quo and the “usual” educational thinking. One of the early commercials for Apple discusses the idea of challenging the status quo and thinking differently. It’s prophetic in a way, at the time of this commercial Apple wasn’t yet the world leader in technology that they’ve become today. But their ideas, their “foolish” thinking and challenges to the status quo have literally changed the way we communicate.
How can we “push the human race forward” by staying foolish and disrupting the status quo?
Bret, it was great meeting you at the conference and I’m glad we had some time to talk after. The energy that you and the team from Cotopaxi bring is contagious, and I hope we’re able to connect more in the future.
My biggest takeaways from the conference came from Martin Skelton and the idea of keeping learning as the hedgehog concept of a school. Too often we focus on college acceptances, technology, new strategies for teaching; and not nearly enough time talking about authentic, deeper learning experiences. He also talked about 10 ways to drive learning at school, and one of them was to decide–as a school–what students should be like when they leave at the end of each year and when they graduate. Do we want them to be burnt out, overwhelmed, obedient? Or do we want them to care deeply, to be autonomous, self-critical, and curious about the world around them? When we decide that, then all of the other stuff begins to fall easily into place.
Thanks for blogging, for sharing, and for making me think more about the important takeaways!