The Daily Find: March 2, 2015

The Daily Find (TDF) is a feature of the NAISAC Online Community. Content comes from features, events and themes related to this year’s conference in Boston and from the community of independent school bloggers and NAISAC 2015 Twitter Community.

As you continue to reflect on the past week, you are encouraged to share with the greater community your experiences at this year’s NAIS conference, your “Ah Ha!” moments, the big “take aways” resources shared and anything else you feel would be of interest to the greater community. If you maintain a personal blog, please send the link of any NAIS reflections to naisac15@gmail.com and also Tweet it out with the tag #naisac and mention of @naisac15. That will help me get these distributed to the greater community. If you do not have a blog, fear not as there is a way for you to participate as well. Simply write your reflection in any word processor then send the text to naisac15@gmail.com and I will make sure it gets posted on the community site with attribution. Please include your name and your school.

NAISAC Online Community Site
The following are new posts in the NAISAC Online Community at https://naisac15.wordpress.com/

Liz Davis
We built it, but not many came…How do we reinvigorate teachers unplugged?
This is the fourth year that I have helped to organize the Teachers Unplugged session at NAISAC. This is a participant driven session in which the attendees propose and vote on topics for discussion and then we sit at round tables and have…MORE

Mark Crotty
Affirmation through absence: Thoughts on #NAISAC 2015
I’m writing this post somewhat out of guilt. I had been honored to be selected as one of the official bloggers for the NAIS Annual Convention this year. But I ended up…MORE

Lorri Carroll
My top takeaways from #NAISAC 2015…And wishes for #NAISAC 2016.
Since I take public notes on twitter, my top takeaways will be my tweets or retweets of others. These are the things that will hopefully stick with me long after NAISAC 2015…MORE

Chris Bigenho
The inaugural NAISAC interactive makerspace- Fun for all!
I have now been working in partnership with NAIS since 2008 and have worked on a variety of interesting projects. This year, working with Amy Ahart from NAIS, we wanted to try something new and landed on the idea of…MORE.


Community Bloggers

Derrick Willard
2015 NAIS Annual Conference Reflections: Designing the Revolution
I had the good fortune to attend the 2015 NAIS Annual Conference in Boston this week.  The theme was “Designing the Revolution.” Note a conference goal for attendees was…MORE

Larry Kahn
Let’s Keep the Conversations of Mindfulness Going

The Inaugural NAISAC Interactive Maker Space- Fun For All!

IMG_6406

I have now been working in partnership with NAIS since 2008 and have worked on a variety of interesting projects. This year, working with Amy Ahart from NAIS, we wanted to try something new and landed on the idea of creating an Interactive MakerSpace. With a nice space carved out on the exhibit hall floor next to the NAIS Bookstore, we were able to design a space that would foster interactions between participants and docents in the area as well as with many of the items in the space. These items included sample student projects from The Meadowbrook School of Weston, MA, 3D printing, Laser cutting projects, robotics, computer programming, electronic prototyping, micro-controllers such as Arduino and Makey Makey as well as projects made onsite.

Additionally participants were able to explore posters made from the information schools submitted for the Online Gallery of Independent School Makerspaces. Space and time limited the number of posters to the first 10 that were submitted. However, there are over 25 amazing schools currently listed in the online gallery and more will be added shortly. Additionally, schools are still able to submit their information to be added to the gallery.

The objective of the space was to create an engaging and interactive space that would provide information for participants who want to explore how this new movement might fit within their school. We wanted a space that would demonstrate many different aspects of “making” while helping participants focus on the importance of pedagogical considerations. Lisa Palmieri of The Ellis School produced a wonderful poster on the Maker Mindset. This poster was placed centrally in the space and received a lot of attention and generated important conversations. Additionally, all the posters around the space were well photographed and many read in detail. There appeared to be considerable interest in what other schools were doing in the area of Making and MakerSpaces.

Working from Dallas, one challenge of putting together a MakerSpace at a conference over 1500 miles away is how to equip and staff the area. This is where The Meadowbrook School of Weston was invaluable. Jonathan Schmid from Meadowbrook offered up an amazing collection of equipment and student projects which helped bring the space to life. Additionally, many of his staff came to the conference and worked the space as docents. Without the incredible help of Jonathan Schmid, Chris Lindsay, Matt Molyneux, Nathan Tanaka, and Rachel Shuler, (All from Meadowbrook) this project would not have been possible. Many thanks to these incredible people for their help on this project.

As participants were exploring the space, there was one question that seemed to keep coming up: How do we get started? While there is much to consider as you start to explore this new learning space and approach, there is some help out there in the form of the MakerSpace Playbook- School Edition. You can download a free PDF of this resource posted on Makered.org.


Below are some images and videos of the NAIS Interactive MakerSpace captured throughout the conference.

Here I am demonstrating the Makey Makey Piano that was made on site.

Sarah Flowers who is the Head of Ring Mountain Day School plays the Makey Makey piano and throws out the challenge for other heads of schools: Can you top this?

We do all of this for our students. Here the Makey Makey piano gets the “Kids Seal of Approval”.

Participants playing the Makey Makey Human Drumset. Proves to be fun for all ages.

 Collection of images captured at the NAIS Interactive MakerSpace

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Creating the NAIS MakerSpace- A Transformation of Space

We built it, but not many came… How do we reinvigorate Teachers Unplugged?

0170cd4fb6e7a3edb5790bf13b769ab060dff49002This is the fourth year that I have helped to organize the Teachers Unplugged session at NAISAC. This is a participant driven session in which the attendees propose and vote on topics for discussion and then we sit at round tables and have two 20 minute discussions about the most popular topics. It takes some explaining as people enter, but every year we have heard the same thing from people as they leave the session, “This is the best session I have attended at this conference.”

unpluggedpic2 unpluggedpic3

I think this has to do with the fact that the sessions are interactive and participatory. The fact that NAISAC brings together independent school folks from all over the country who are grappling with the same questions, makes the unplugged session a unique opportunity to hear and learn from the other attendees at the conference (not just the experts). We even “sketchnoted” during the discussions – putting into direct practice the Doodling message we had heard from Sunni Brown’s talk the day before.

unpluggedroundtablewithsketchnotingThis year we had about 30 people attend the Teachers Unplugged session (about 50 people attended the Administrators Unplugged session the day before). Not only is this a valuable experience for the participants, but you can easily bring this back to your own faculty as an approach to Professional Development. My question is why so few? And how do we get more people to attend?

I think part of the problem is our title – people don’t “get” what an unplugged session is until they get to it. It is a hard concept to explain. How can we rebrand this session to better communicate its value and its benefits? I really don’t want this session to die. NAIS has generously given us large rooms with big tables. I fear if we can’t get the numbers, NAIS won’t be able to justify the space they give us.

Please help! What can we do to help reinvigorate the interest in this session? Do you have an idea for a new session title? Something that would attract more people to give it a chance? I welcome your suggestions!!

Thanks! @lizbdavis

Crossposted at The Power of Educational Technology

Affirmation Through Absence: Thoughts on #NAISAC 2015

I’m writing this post somewhat out of guilt. I had been honored to be selected as one of the official bloggers for the NAIS Annual Convention this year. But I ended up not making it to the convention this year–the second year in a row. Of course, I’m sorry to have missed it. Last year it was for health reasons (all better now). This year weather messed with my schedule and I needed to stay in Dallas. Based on the last couple of days, that’s probably just as well, given my need to be back and how many haven’t been able to fly in because of snow and ice. It’s also leading to an interesting “experiment,” which I’ll try to capture in this post.

We know technology has changed how we do so many things, some of which we couldn’t do before. Once I knew I couldn’t attend the conference, I wondered how well I could gain a sense of events through social media and a few phone calls afterwards. I’m very grateful to all the people who posted on the community site and the many people tweeting. I’ve also seen some great photos; I especially liked the close-ups of the work done by the graphic artists.What follows are the points I gleaned as perhaps dominating the conversations. I know they are heavily influenced by whom I follow, and for someone else these might be very different. I also add a bit of my own reaction.

  • As one would expect when the conference theme is “Design the Revolution,” there seemed to be loads of sessions and energy around design thinking. That’s awesome, and more and more people seem willing to embrace this approach. At the same time, I sensed some worry that eventually it will fade away as other buzzwords do. There seemed a mix of whether or not the point of empathy with the user was lost at times. If that’s the case, and we end up, for example, just redesigning curricula, I think we’ve missed the point. After all, even before we knew the term design thinking, aren’t the basic principles of it what we are supposed to have been doing all along?
  • People had a mixed reaction to the panel of college presidents, with some thrilled they were acknowledging issues, but many others feel they were not accepting their part in the issue or offering any solutions. I don’t think we can count too much on them to do so, as they feel the same pressures many independent schools do. I wonder how we balance our idealism and our realism.
  • Tied to that notion, loads of verbiage about having the courage to make big changes, debate about whether significant change is hard or uncomfortable, whether teachers or administrators are the more willing or loath to make such things happen. One thought I have is that until we bridge that last gulf–along with breaking other real and imagined constructs–it likely won’t happen. It comes down to getting the culture right before anything can happen. That, and as I’ve written many times, truly embracing our independence.
  • Quite a few complaints about “boring” sessions which failed to include any real engaged and active learning. That’s worrisome, for it makes me wonder how people still doing things that way are going to design any sort of revolution. For that reasons, among others, I also wonder about this idea of revolution. Our schools do many things right, and I think we also need to look at progress in relation to where a school starts. Plus, constantly changing too much, too fast always makes me wonder if a school truly knows itself. The change must be thoughtful and measured to be meaningful. Having said that, I’ll contradict myself and admit I often want it to happen much faster. As a head, it’s tough to know how to strike the right pace and balance (a topic I’m planning for another post soon).
Finally, I realize an eternal truth once again. It’s a great one for us to be reminded of quite regularly. It’s a notion that Lori Carroll captured in an earlier post about the #isedchat Tweetup in Boston. For all the talk about more education being on-line and the end of giant conferences, I don’t beleive it will happen to the extreme that some people imagine. There is simply something essential about the communal experience of coming together for a common and admirable goal. Kids need that from their schools, and we need that as independent school educators.
     For that reason, I fully intend to be at annual next year, and I hope to be asked to blog so I can make up for dereliction of duty this year. In the meantime, I’d love to know if I captured the flavor of this year’s event and what I missed.
Cross-Posted on To Keep Things Whole

My Top Takeaways from #naisac 2015…and wishes for #naisac 2016

01619482f096a67c9a3f66e52346bdaa3c9795872dSince I take public notes on twitter, my top takeaways will be my tweets or retweets of others. These are the things that will hopefully stick with me long after NAISAC 2015.

Here is my Storify of all my tweets from the conference.

Thanks to those administrators who came to Admin Unplugged and had honest and real conversations in our quest to make our schools a better place for our students. You are the forward thinking, approachable leaders who will surely  be instrumental in designing the revolution!

Thanks also to all the #isedchat folks who came to Summer Shack! Loved connecting. 018f787e9258d26140ad9ce64c4719be8335f54d52

For NAISAC 2016,  I wish for:

  • more opportunities for conversations
  • less PowerPoints
  • ways to connect with people in similar positions
  • ways to be an active participant in sessions, instead of being a passive receiver of information.
  • a live twitter stream during speakers so participant’s questions can be answered.

Thanks NAIS for an amazing conference.   Until next year!🙂

 

The Daily Find: February 27, 2015

The Daily Find (TDF) is a feature of the NAISAC Online Community. Content comes from features, events and themes related to this year’s conference in Boston and from the community of independent school bloggers and NAISAC 2015 Twitter Community.

IMG_6338

The conference has come to an end but the conversations are just getting started. There was so much that was shared at this year’s conference. Everywhere you turned, there was something to learn. Opportunities to learn included the keynote and featured speakers, three- hour and one- hour workshops, NAIS MakerSpace, Online Gallery of Independent School MakerSpaces, exhibit hall floor, Twitter #NAISAC, and for all of us, the many hallway and restaurant conversations we had with other independent school educators representing all elements of independent school education. The challenge now for each of us is to see what this all means for us as individuals, as educators and what we will do to take our schools to the next level in this dynamic time of change in education.

As you continue to reflect on the past week, you are encouraged to share with the greater community your experiences at this year’s NAIS conference, your “Ah Ha!” moments, the big “take aways” resources shared and anything else you feel would be of interest to the greater community. If you maintain a personal blog, please send the link of any NAIS reflections to naisac15@gmail.com and also Tweet it out with the tag #naisac and mention of @naisac15. That will help me get these distributed to the greater community. If you do not have a blog, fear not as there is a way for you to participate as well. Simply write your reflection in any word processor then send the text to naisac15@gmail.com and I will make sure it gets posted on the community site with attribution. Please include your name and your school.

NAISAC Online Community Site
The following are new posts in the NAISAC Online Community at https://naisac15.wordpress.com/

Lorri Carroll

Liz B. Davis

Chris Bigenho


Posted on NAIS Conference Site

Bridget Janicki, NAIS

Design the revolution: Blending Learning, Leading and Innovation

%d bloggers like this: