The days of educational conferences where one person stands in front of the room talking at a large group of people sitting quietly in rows for 50 minutes are over. We know this is not what good learning looks like.
I have been asked by the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence to help organize their annual Summer Conference, which has become one of the most popular, affordable venues for K-12 professional development in the country. Last year attendance topped 500 educators from a broad cross section of public and private schools. This year (June 12-13 in Memphis) the Conference will embrace a bold new approach that takes us away from the traditional “sit-and-get” conference format. All presenters will be by invitation, and all of the workshops will be two-hour, active learning opportunities for attendees to both learn from the facilitators, but also roll up their sleeves and work in collaborative teams. As Martin Director Jamie Baker told me, “This is going to be two days of really deep, dense learning opportunities.”
The theme of the conference expresses what we believe are the core tenants of truly transformative education. These strands will be emphasized throughout the conference, so attendees will leave with both pragmatic ideas for classroom implementation and a broader context of what an increasingly student-centered learning experience looks like in a range of school settings. The strands of transformative learning that we will surface and weave together include:
- Active use of physical space
- Differentiated instruction tailored to each student
- Student-ownership of learning
- Students and teachers co-learning
- Project, problem, and inquiry-based learning
- Learning beyond the school walls
- Interdisciplinary and non-disciplinary course development
- Technology serving learning
- Broad all-school themes
- Play and discovery
- Reflective learning
- Design thinking
- Teacher as leaders
We are in the process of confirming the line-up of presenters, facilitators, and keynote speakers, and I promise it is an impressive team of important voices in American education. Several are people that I met and wrote about on my EdJourney who have agreed to come and share their successes with the rest of us. Most importantly, every one of them has front-line experience in what it takes to transform learning. I really think this Martin Institute conference is going to set a new standard for what can be accomplished in two days of true professional interaction.
So mark the date and bookmark the Martin Institute page for upcoming details and registration information.