Pre-conference Master Classes with Inspiring Hands-on Experiences

Pre-conference Master Classes run from Sunday, July 22 – Tuesday, July 24, 2018. These workshops provide intensive, hands-on opportunities for exploring leading-edge teaching and learning skills and strategies. Space is limited, so book early! Participants may register for these workshops without registering for the main summer conference session.

Sunday Afternoon - Monday Morning Session (Two Parts - 7 hours)

The first five days of school can prepare students to “learn how to learn” and yield achievement dividends all year.   By preparing students to own their learning and to manage tools and networks that will support them throughout the school year, we better prepare them for academic success. Web literacy, student as a tutorial designer, self-assessment, peer to peer support and more will be covered. A culture of empowered learning can help save teachers valuable time and inspire students.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $450 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Your teacher or administrative team can join Mike Gorman for amazing PD. Not only will you learn about many of the concepts learned in the Splash session you will have the opportunity to make those next steps in planning a PBL for a classroom or creating a PBL plan for your school or district. This is a deliverable that you will be able to take back with you while getting feedback at the session. This in-depth session will also provide the added opportunity to learn about aspects of PBL which include scaffolding, management, authenticity, metacognition, project flow cycles, and protocols that enrich the PBL culture. Mike has been in education over 39 years, initiated a school district one to one and PBL program, serves on the National Faculty for the BIE (BUCK Institute… a world leader in PBL) and has provided PBL professional development for numerous districts, Discovery Education, PBS Learning Media, and ISTE. He has also taught Gradate level PBL courses. You will walk away with a vision, the start of an action plan or project, needed steps to go further, amazing resources, wonderful connections, a wealth of new knowledge, and the desire to either begin or continue to support PBL in your school or district. Most of all, Mike will provide the enthusiasm and passion necessary as you take that next step. This could be the very best seven hours you spend at any conference!

Location:

Attendee Requirements: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Price: $450 | Capacity: 30 | Audience: Administration, Teachers, Leaders | Suggested Level: All

Question Formulation Technique (QFT) 1-Day Training (Sunday afternoon July 22, 2018 and Monday morning, July 23, 2018) led by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, Co-Directors of the Right Question Institute – will include participation by teachers and students.

The ability to ask one’s own questions, improve them, and strategize on how to use those questions may be the single most important thinking skill students can learn at any stage of their educational journey.

The skill of question formulation, however, is too rarely deliberately or rigorously taught. We can create more equitable learning opportunities for all students and enrich the educational experience of advanced as well as struggling learners, by prioritizing a commitment to teach this skill to all students.

What would it mean, then, if students began, just like researchers, innovators, or scientists, to drive their educational journey by learning not only to ask their own questions, but also how to work with those questions to learn even more? More than 250,000 educators around the world are showing just what happens when students learn to work with their own questions. They are deploying a deceptively simple method, the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), that allows students to produce their own questions, improve their questions and strategize on how to use them. It is purposefully called a “technique” to underscore its universal relevance and ease of use, but it is much more than a technique. It is the core of a learning model that provides opportunities for students to do divergent, convergent, and metacognitive thinking. As students learn to use the QFT, they become more curious and take ownership for their own learning. Their teachers, in turn, experience new joy as they see students driving their own learning. Both students and teachers also discover the profound power of question formulation as a democratic habit of mind.

In this hands-on, active learning experience, participants will work closely with Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, co-creators of the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), as well as with educators experienced in using the QFT across age levels and disciplines.

Over the course of the two half-day sessions, participants will:

  • Participate in an active learning experience with the QFT
  • see classroom examples from pre-k through higher education
  • learn strategies for best practices in planning, facilitation, and professional development with the QFT
  • work with planning tools and classroom resources
  • form self-organized working groups around topics of interest
  • take advantage of opportunities to share work and collaborate with peers
  • hear from students who can speak to how the skill has made them more confident and excited learners

Workshop participants leave with a deep understanding of the strategy and the ability to immediately apply it with students and share with colleagues.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $450 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Monday Morning Sessions

The term sketchnoting describes a style of visual note-taking recently gaining popularity among conference attendees. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be an artist to sketchnote and to take advantage of a different type of learning and making content connections beyond conference keynotes . Sketchnoting is helping make your thinking visible and shareable as you are reading a professional book, watching a movie clip, reading an educational blog post or article or listening to a lecture of conference keynote. This session is for educators who want to hone their abilities to listen more intently, summarize and organize their notes in a visual way and learn how to do this with their students.We will look at structures of a sketchnote, typography, connectors, containers and share resources to continue to learn about sketchnoting beyond the conference.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements: Please bring paper, pens or markers for our OR you may bring a tablet with a pre-installed drawing app, such as Paper Fiftythree.

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: Beginner

Google Classroom: Community Space That Inspires, Empowers, Engages (And Makes Teachers’ Lives Easier)

Description:

Fast and easy collaboration is what makes Google Classroom an ideal learning environment. Gain knowledge as well as practical strategies to solve the workflow problem while building community and making collaboration a natural way of learning in your Google Classroom.

This session will be a rich source of ideas, resources and information about these collaborative tools.

Attendees will:

-Learn about specific Google Classroom and other Google tools that provide an easy-to-use, integrated way for teachers and students to collaborate

-Explore practical workflow models for sharing and collecting assignments

-Participate in a collaborative activity that can be replicated in classrooms

-Discover how real-time collaboration, powerful sharing controls and seamless compatibility make learning more engaging and a teacher’s life easier

If you are ready to move from content consumption to content creation and community building while developing more self-directed learners, this session is for you.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Monday Afternoon Sessions

“You know the basics of sketchnoting. How do you explain your doodling to others, including colleagues and students? Improve your note taking skills by exploring, expanding your repetoire. Be inspired all over again through challenges, community and creative activities & ideas, which can easily be adapted in your classroom with your students.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements: Please bring paper, pens or markers OR a tablet with your preferred sketchnoting app installed (ex. Paper by Fiftythree)

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: Advanced

In a connected world, learners can collaborate, interact with experts, perform research and produce creative works! During this session we will examine using technology to transform learning. Gain knowledge as well as practical strategies to lead by example and integrate these tools and resources in meaningful, effective ways.

This session is fully customizable to include any or all of the following topics:

  • Personalizing Learning
  • Cultivating Information Literate Learners
  • Providing Opportunities to Connect Locally and Globally
  • Motivating Learners to Create 24/7 with Real Purpose and for Authentic Audiences

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements: Be sure to bring a device to fully participate in this interactive session!

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Even young students can be global learners and connect with people and classrooms outside of their building, city or country. We’ll learn why you would want to connect, how to use your connections to teach your curriculum and the practicalities of how to make tools such as video conferencing, Twitter and blogging transform the learning in YOUR classroom. Bring a laptop or device along with you.

You’ll leave with:

Ideas for using these tools in appropriate ways

A plan for using these tools to help YOUR students learn

Strategies for getting parents on board

Accounts set up and ready for your next school year

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Full Day Session (Tuesday)

Engage in play to develop your thinking, problem solving, imagination and creativity skills. Participants in this interactive workshop will discover how Lego® Serious Play® methods can be used to solve complex organizational problems through a core process which includes visual thinking and storytelling. The creation of 3D models and metaphors will reveal the big picture, provide insights into what people are thinking and give everyone a voice in the process. Teams will use a technology leadership challenge question and build to think, share their stories, and reflect on the process to develop key insights, ideas and strategies to move forward with problem solving for their own organizations. The workshop will also incorporate stand-alone activities that can be used with students for creativity, social emotional learning, and visual thinking.

Objectives:

Learn the four core steps of using Lego® Serious Play®  to facilitate visual thinking, problem solving, and creativity

Build technology leadership capacity for educators and develop shared aspirations for success in our schools and with our students

Engage in hands-on building and teamwork to gain practice in using Lego® Serious Play®

Learn stand-alone activities and brainstorm ideas for using Lego® Serious Play® in the classroom

Sample Agenda:

Overview: Visual Thinking with LSP

The Science Behind LSP (flow theory, constructivism/constructionism, imagination)

Process: Pose the Question, Build, Share, Reflect

Skill Building activities

Create a common understanding of a technology leader and tell the story

Build individual models of current leadership skills and opportunities

Build a shared model of the team’s collective leadership skills and opportunities

Brainstorm – using LSP with students and sample activities

Build individual models of our aspirations for technology leadership to bring about positive change in our schools and with our students

Build a shared model of team leadership aspirations

Real Time Strategy SWOT activity

Play out scenarios that could determine our success

Build guiding principles for the team and next steps as a network

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $450 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Tuesday Morning Sessions

Leadership is the key position to effectively articulate the vision and assign resources needed to tap the full power of our investment in educational technology to improve instruction.  In this focused hands-on workshop, Alan brings his extensive knowledge of what successful school leaders really do around the world to build continuous capacity to improve student learning.

Topics Include:

  • Building capacity for continuous improvement
  • Strengthening the faculty as community
  • Balancing change anxiety with support for core values
  • Leader as Role Model
  • Aligning technology investment with curriculum
  • Designing and evaluating affective staff development
  • Observation Questions for Leaders: Transformational 6
  • Moving Beyond 1:1 to 1:World

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $295 | Capacity: | Audience: Administration | Suggested Level: All

Are you ready to facilitate action based STEM thinking going beyond content, and toward action? This is a “must attend” session for those wanting to fit Project Based Learning into their STEM initiative. Participants will be introduced to ideas and resources that make STEM, STEAM and Makers Culture come alive. Michael, a facilitator at the National STEM Academy in Washington DC, STEM/PBL Facilitator for BIE (The BUCK Institute), and STEMBL workshop designer for Discovery Education will share with you a multitude of free Dewey-able ideas and resources.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: All | Suggested Level: General

Google Classroom: Community Space That Inspires, Empowers, Engages (And Makes Teachers’ Lives Easier)

Description:

Fast and easy collaboration is what makes Google Classroom an ideal learning environment. Gain knowledge as well as practical strategies to solve the workflow problem while building community and making collaboration a natural way of learning in your Google Classroom.

This session will be a rich source of ideas, resources and information about these collaborative tools.

Attendees will:

-Learn about specific Google Classroom and other Google tools that provide an easy-to-use, integrated way for teachers and students to collaborate

-Explore practical workflow models for sharing and collecting assignments

-Participate in a collaborative activity that can be replicated in classrooms

-Discover how real-time collaboration, powerful sharing controls and seamless compatibility make learning more engaging and a teacher’s life easier

If you are ready to move from content consumption to content creation and community building while developing more self-directed learners, this session is for you.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Digital tools bring with them an explosion of possibility for learning, especially with young children. In this session we will explore meaning-making in forms that are more relevant to the way we think and play in the real world. The first half of the session will aim to approach digital tools from a literacy lens, we will create digital texts to learn and understand what types of thinking should be highlighted when using each platform. In the second half of the session we will take a look at coding and computational thinking as a literacy in the 21st century. By taking on challenges and creating games of your very own, you will walk away from the session with a better understanding of how coding can work for your little ones! Come prepared to make, create, and engage because just like in early childhood, we are going to learn through DOING! 

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements: Attendees need to download:
-Adobe Spark
-Musical.ly
-Green Screen by Do Ink (or any other green screen app)
-Seesaw
-Scratch Jr.
-Pic Collage Kids
-You will also need Gsuite (Drive, Sheets etc.) in order to access some resources that will be provided.

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Tuesday Afternoon Sessions

Social Media has changed the way we communicate, connect and build community. Up-to-date information is being disseminated and amplified faster via social media than a traditional form. Social media needs to be part of every school’s communication, marketing and outreach campaigns and a vital form of professional development for educators.

   – Is your school’s and your professional social media presence strategically growing by adding friends, followers and likes?

    -Is your school community connecting with you via various Social Media platforms?

   -Are you connecting beyond “This is what we do!”?

    -Are you building an online community to connect, share and learn?

   – Are you, as a head of school, principal, Communication, Marketing Director or teachers, taking advantage of what Social Media can offer?

In this session you will learn about:

    -Why & how to tell the story of your school or your professional learning and growth via social media.

    -Social Media Syntax & Semantics.

    -Social Media Strategies.

   -Documenting school mission, vision and professional learning on various platforms.

    -Promoting positive & outstanding work from your campus and/or classroom.

  -Showcasing assets & strengthening relationships with all stakeholders.

    -Take control of your school’s promise to stakeholders by capturing student experiences.

    -Content creation in a variety of media.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements: Any device is fine

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: All | Suggested Level: General

A Half-Day Pre-Conference Session for BLC 2018, presented by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, Co-Directors of the Right Question Institute

Getting everyone on board to push in the same direction is challenging. How can learning to ask questions and focusing sharply on key decisions lead to greater buy-in and collaboration? The Right Question Strategy (RQ Strategy) offers a deceptively simple strategy for positively jumpstarting a change process that gets buy in by focusing on the refinement and use of two key skills: question formulation and effective participation in decision-making.

The Right Question Strategy was developed by the Right Question Institute over the course of the past two decades and has been applied in many fields with many applications. Research has shown that the strategy is very effective for increasing active and effective participation and strengthening partnerships. It is a deceptively simple strategy that allows all involved to efficiently and constructively ask questions and explore the rationale and need for any proposed change, the decision-making process and how they can play a constructive role in the change process. The strategy distills complex ideas on effective civic participation and problem-solving into an easy-to-learn and easy-to-teach process that can be replicated easily. This session will be particularly relevant for district, school and departmental leaders who want to get buy-in for new initiatives, create a collaborative problem-solving culture and address specific challenges.

How can you more easily build consensus for change in your school and district? How can you get more buy-in for making important changes to improve teaching and learning in all settings? The Right Question Strategy offers a simple yet powerful strategy that helps individuals more effectively participate in decisions by learning to 1) define and identify decisions; 2) explore three key elements in decision making—reasons, processes, and roles; 3) ask questions about decisions. This easy-to-use and easy-to teach-strategy can be used to build consensus within a group through creating a space where everyone is able to efficiently and effectively ask questions about decisions.

In this hands-on, active learning experience, participants will work closely with Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, developers of the Right Question Strategy whose work has been enthusiastically adopted by teachers in the classroom, administrators in the districts and schools, and has been featured in presentations to Microsoft, Google, Harvard Medical School, the Library of Congress and in many countries, including Japan, Argentina, and Canada.

In this half-day session, participants will:

Participate in an active learning experience using the two core tools of the Right Question Strategy:

  • The Question Formulation Technique (QFT)
  • The Framework for Accountable Decision-Making (FADM)
  • Unpack the key principles embedded in the strategy
  • Be introducted to additional planning tools
  • Form self-organized working groups around topics of interest
  • Receive and use a planning guide for designing relevant applications of the Right Question Strategy

Administrators who have used the Right Question Strategy for consensus-building report that they observe “an unprecedented level of collaboration and effective problem solving.” One principal said “I heard questions I never would have thought about and saw people who often butt heads actually working well together.”

Workshop participants leave with a deep understanding of the strategy and the ability to immediately apply it with colleagues and staff in a wide range of settings.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: All | Suggested Level: General

What is all this talk about grading? Teachers all around the world battle it out on Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, and even with parents – Let’s teach responsibility! I want to hold my students accountable! Let’s get rid of the five-paragraph essay! No more grades at all! But what is truly behind all of that discussion? And how can you apply solid ideas learned in this workshop to your current situation? Key ideas about grading will be looked at thoroughly by participants in this hands-on session. We’ll decide if certain “status quo” ideas are necessary in a classroom, nice to have, or if they should be taken out of the equation completely. Then we’ll delve into HOW.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: All | Suggested Level: General

Ever feel overwhelmed by the ever cascade of daily events within your school system. They can be never ending complaints from people within and outside the school. They could include resistance to new technological tools, learning initiatives, or evaluation programs. Many times to deal with the pressure, we use “quick fixes to solve the immediate problem only to do more harm in the long run. This workshop will help you understand the dynamics of these daily events and the tools to solving the underlying problems instead of trying to prevent them.

Using visualization tools found in systems thinking is an excellent way to get people within your school to begin to recognize recurring patterns that are found in all school systems. These patterns if not understood can lead to goals not being reached or new ideas not being implemented. Using visualization tools, called system archetypes, can help you to stimulate deep conversations at all levels in your school system to address all sorts of issues confronting schools.

This hands-on workshop has you exploring each the following set of dynamic thinking tools:

• identifying the forces at play within your school system

• having fun with feedback loops – reinforcing and balancing process in your school

• using system archetypes to build a clearer picture of the issues facing your school daily or for the long-term

In the first hour, you will explore the use of Peter Senge’s “iceberg” as a means to understand the dynamics at play within your school or organization. Working in teams you will see the types of relationships that interact to make up your school. The second hour will focus on understanding the building blocks for dynamic behavior found in your school. You will learn how to use “causal loops” to help you to “see” the interrelationships among all the variables in your school. In the last 2 hours, the team will work with two common system archetypes, “Fixes That Fail and Shifting the Burden,” to practice with these visualization tools.

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements:

Price: | Capacity: $275 | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All

Using iPads for math should mean much more than drill and practice. We’ll talk about best practices in math instruction and explore math-creation apps that support these best practices. We’ll investigate ways to allow your students to solve problems, to explain their solutions and to let you see their math thinking. We’ll also talk about ways you can amplify this learning by sharing it with parents and others beyond your classroom. 

Bring along an iPad to join the fun! A list of free apps to be used in this session will be emailed to participants for download the week before the conference. You’ll leave with:

An understanding of how to effectively use iPads in mathematics instruction

A list of appropriate apps and student examples of their use

Hands-on experience creating math with an iPad

The understanding of how to take your math learning global

Location: The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

Attendee Requirements: iPad is required

Price: $275 | Capacity: | Audience: General | Suggested Level: All