A remarkable day at the Martin Institute Summer Conference in Memphis, and one has to ask…why is this unique? As John Hunter asked me this afternoon, is this revolutionary? A conference of learning amongst educators, not a convention with numerous commercial sponsors and treasure spent on high-priced authors. Few chairs in rows, very little sit-and-get. Facilitators challenging each other to “say less and let the attendees learn from each other”. Experts from all over the country, most interested in nurturing the tendency to grow in all of us rather than transferring a specific set of outcomes.
Nearly 800 attendees from a wide range of public, private, charter, and religious schools; 21 states represented. People willing to sit on the floor because of the quality and energy of the facilitators. Packed rooms. MANY post-it notes spent. Teams who traveled hundreds of miles to be here together. Anxiety over missing sessions because word spreads quickly that there are real and tangible take-aways. Trending on Twitter this afternoon as those who can’t attend are following on social media. Students in to share with teachers and teachers listening to student views of assessment, learning empathy.
This is the future of educational professional learning. It continues tomorrow! Thanks to the incredible line-up of facilitators who are all working two hours each of two days to ensure that attendees have a better chance to share with them. This is hard work…and they are loving it!