I have attended many educational conferences over the last 15 years. I usually walk away with one or two good ideas. Yesterday, at the end of the the Martin Institute Summer Conference, I talked to many attendees who said something like, “Enough, I am full, my head is about to explode!”
This was a remarkable step forward in educational professional development for a number of reasons. Attendees were highly diverse: public, private, charter, and faith-based schools; veteran conference attendees and teachers who had never attended a large workshop program in their careers; 21 states represented. Most of all, 80% of the time was active participation learning, no sit-and-get, two-hour sessions that gave people time to go deep. People working, talking, posting ideas on the walls, interviewing students, walking, exploring, reporting, Tweeting, creating and building, modeling what we want a classroom to feel like for our students. Facilitators pushed participants out of their comfort zones. We did not TELL attendees what transformative learning is; they experienced it.
Most importantly, they walked away with MANY concrete activities, strategies, and ideas to implement the first day of school in the fall. As Bo Adams said in the closing plenary session, we need to create Someday/Monday thinking: it is great to dream, but we need to bring those dreams into the classroom each day in concrete ways.
This is just the beginning. Welcome to a revolution in how we learn and share!