Thoughts from #140edu conference


Thanks to Twitter and livestreaming, I’m attending #140EDU, a fabulous conference about the State of Now in Education, organized by Jeff Pulver and Chris Lehmann.

I’m live blogging my notes so as to remember some of the excellent content I am hearing and to share it out.


Adam Bellow

quoting –Claire Crossley ‏@ClaireSMBB”  Another little piece of brilliance from @adambellow ~ “date the tools, marry the abilities” when it comes to social media
Retweeted by C Foote

“Trust in the power of we to provide”

“Letting go has legs”  “Trust gone right” when you trust students

Science House  Joshua Fouts
Science House sounds like a fascinating organization. Love the work they are doing in Brazil. #140edu Inspiring

“A creative adult is a child who has survived” quoting Ursula LEGuin #140edu

Dean Shareski

Interested in not “prescribing” educ solutions, but “describing” education #140edu

We’ve gotten lured into sharing only what is “perfect.” but we need to do a better job of sharing our work in progress.

Our teachers come with an inherent sense of accountability already.  We just need to nurture that.

When we share out what we are doing, writing about it, we are doing action research–makes a difference in moving our profession forward.

Christine Renaud-–  site E180

New approaches to life long learning–

Canadian study–#conversation is the #1 tool for professional learning on the job.   So, “Whose book are you?”
Perhaps we should be fostering life long teaching, not just life long learning.

Take peer learning out of classroom but put it back where people gather.  E180 is a matchmaking service for that sort of coffee shop conversation.   Foster conversation “meetings” so people can meet others who can teach them.
Also collaborating with the library by having people check in at E180 when they “check in” to the library, meaning they are available to teach others.

How can you turn the people around you into life long teachers and create a learning hub.  If we want to scale this, how can you transfer your matchmaking power so that you can help others be concerned about everyone else’s learning.

Eric Sheninger (Anytime anywhere learning)

We’ve all been a part of bad professional development.  It’s treated like herding cattle–every one moving in the same direction.   Prof. Dev. also one of the first things cut during budget cuts.  We’re cutting learning because of money.  Time another issue constantly brought up in Prof. Dev.

Deven Black

Dropping out of high school is not a crisis, it’s a message.  It’s about compliance.   If we look at students dropping out of schools as a message instead, it tells us school sucks.  That it’s not reaching them.  That they aren’t going to be successful at school or life.  We aren’t offering them learning paths.  The reasons students leave school are as different as the lessons we are supposed to be teaching them.

How do we make , not schools better, but LEARNING better?   Almost impossible for any high school to reach every student.  Not from lack of effort or intent–but in an increasingly mandated structured world, it just can’t happen.   Now the Common Core adds to that.  (Does anyone want to be “common?” he asked).

Idea of perfect school–without walls, you differentiate YOURSELF.  You know how you learn, you figure it out.   Take control of your own learning.

I dropped out because I got tired of people telling me what to learn and when to learn it.   I figured out that knowledge doesn’t come in neat little sections called Math, History, Language Arts.   Art is not a separate “subject” or health.  Knowledge is a massive, ever-growing, all encompassing ball in which we all live.  Every day, everything we learn, changes every thing.

The real key to opting out is to leave “soon enough.”  before curiosity beaten out of you.  There’s a whole world available to you to learn from.  Ask a question; focus like a laser; tinker.  If you are interested in baseball, study it.  (my question-why can’t school help students do this?)  Follow something as far as it can take you and then ask another question.   It’s all connected–go where your passions take you.

He quotes Joyce Valenza, who calls it the never ending search.   People are willing to talk about what they know, what they do, what their story is, if you are only willing to listen.   Everybody has a story and they are dying to have someone listen to them.

You have more knowledge than you ever thought, and you’ll find the excitement of wondering.  All answers lead to more questions.  And don’t worry about getting into a college-you’ve differentiated yourself by creating your own learning.  Your learning will be free-range, won’t be limited by a curriculum.  Just think of the application essay you can write.

David Griesing   How our schools can help students live productive lives by helping them find what they can do when they “leave” school.

Help our students clarify what they believe in and how to act on their values.  The people they used to look to as “heroes” are changing.  How do we help unearth their values.  What does living their values day to day look like?  How do we help them center their values in their lives?How can we help them develop a personal “business” plan–what they want to do, etc.

Patrick Higgins

Make it matter–anecdote about son learning to follow instructions by making duct tape wallets by following directions online

Deliver on promises–If you say you are going to do it, do it.

Be present.  Be sure what you are doing is something you would do for your own kids.  IF you were running the school you are teaching in, would you send your kids there?


Francis Yasharian   Head of Lower School for Boys at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

In their faculty meeting at his elementary schl, they have “strategy share”–at beginning of meeting, a teacher stands up and shares a strategy she’s using in her classroom and how it’s working with her students and where she is going next.   Using faculty meetings for sharing, not “to do” list.

How do they share the students learning?

Why do we decide what the elementary projects are going to be?  Why can’t they decide?

Their first graders decided on what project to jointly do to share their learning about the coral reef, for example.  Students have to be scaffolded in this process a bit.

They have a weekly assembly where classes share what they are learning.  One day they invite board, parents, etc. in to see what students are learning–students explain their learning.

By the way–“just because it doesn’t involve technology, it doesn’t mean it’s not progressive.”

If it’s really cool to talk to people you know, even cooler to talk to experts.




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