In just 12 months, The Martin Institute, operating out of one small office in a modest-sized boy’s school in Memphis, arguably one of the most economically challenged mid-sized cities in America, has hosted three major educational learning events for a total of 2,000+ educators from all over the country. For some, these have been the first real professional development opportunities of their careers. For others it has meant the chance to meet with and learn from world-class educational leaders who are leading the way to a transformed K-12 learning experience that will dramatically change how we prepare our students for the world they will live in. Through the remarkable generosity of founder Brad Martin, the vision of Lee Burns, and the hard work of Jamie Baker, Laura Dearman, and the Martin teaching interns, these events have grown from mere ideas to powerhouse events in just four years.
I only got around to a fraction of the interactive learning sessions, but I was struck that I have never seen and heard more “meat”, practical toolkits for teachers to implement right now, shared in one conference. For vastly more, see the #MICON14 link on Twitter:
- Jill Gough brought her now-famous “Leading Learners to Level Up” workshop in which she shares concrete ways that teachers at all grade levels and all subjects can ensure that ALL students move up in performance.
- Holly Chesser‘s, writer’s workshop was far from the traditional focus on writing for English teachers. Her attendees imagined how writing can be embedded in, and draw from, coursework and experience across the entire curriculum.
- Glenn Whitman shared the latest research and application on education-focused neuroscience. I am pretty sure every attendee of his fast-paced workshops left utterly convinced that ignoring this knowledge base is a form of professional malpractice!
- Kim Carter shared the extraordinary work and mostly free resources developed by QED Foundation that can dramatically build capacity for student-owned and centered program development at any school.
- Irene Carney shared the keys to the success of a Reggio Emilia-influenced learning style where individual students and student groups drive experiential learning.
- Bob Dillon‘s packed rooms learned practical ways to quickly, easily, and dramatically increase the connectedness of students and teachers.
- Megan Wittman and Melissa Grabske shared a pathway and toolkit for creating digital e-portfolios of student work.
…and those were just a handful of the presenter/workshops. If you are not connected with these folks, I suggest you add them to your PLC. Go to the conference site for more connection information; if you missed the conference, follow the presenters and speakers via social media; many of them are active blogger/Twitter users who freely share their work products.