Building Learning Communities® 16

Boston Education Conference 2016

Pre-Conference Master Classes (took place):

JULY 17-195, 2016

Main Education Conference Sessions (took place):

JULY 20-22, 2016

Special Events

We have some truly special events taking place, from movies, to puzzles to discussions!

Most Likely To Succeed Screening

Tuesday from 7:00pm to 9:30pm

This is CS50

Wednesday 11:45am to 2:15pm

the mighty pen

Breakout EDU

Wednesday and Thursday

Register with your team at the Tech Scherpa table

Reception at FableVision Studios

Wednesday Evening – 6:00 p.m.


BLC17 Keynote Speakers




Area Dean of Applied Physics, Harvard University

Eric Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and Area Dean of Applied Physics. An internationally recognized scientist and researcher, he leads a vigorous research program in optical physics and supervises one of the largest research groups in the Physics Department at Harvard University. Mazur founded several companies and plays an active role in industry. He is the Vice President of the Optical Society.

Special Guest


Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, Harvard University

As of 2015, CS50 is Harvard’s largest course with over 800 students, up from 132 in 2006, and those “less comfortable” now compose the course’s largest demographic. Since 2015, CS50 is now also offered in parallel at Yale University. Also as of 2015 is a version of the course specifically geared for secondary school and the new AP CS Principles curriculum (CS50 AP) now offered in approximately 45 middle and high schools around the country, with a wider rollout beginning in 2016.

David J. Malan is Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a Member of the Faculty of Education in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He received his A.B., S.M., and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the same in 1999, 2004, and 2007, respectively. He teaches Harvard College’s largest course, Computer Science 50, otherwise known as CS50, and edX’s largest course, CS50x. His research in graduate school focused primarily on cybersecurity and computer forensics. His more recent publications focus on instructional technologies and pedagogy.


Author, Computer Programmer

Linda Liukas is a Finnish computer programmer, children’s writer and programming instructor. In 2014, she published Hello Ruby, the world’s most whimsical way to learn about technology, computing and coding. It is a story about a little girl with a big imagination who knows even the biggest problems are just small problems stuck together. The kids get to go on an adventure with Ruby and her friends – all while learning the basics of computational thinking through stories and exercises.

Linda does not think everyone will be a coder, but the ability to speak and structure thinking in a way a computer understands it will be one of the core future skills whatever the field, be it game designer, biologist, or data analyst. There are not that many professions that wouldn’t benefit from computational thinking skills. Programming languages will come and go, but our world will become only more technical.

“This generation of kids is growing up in a world where computers and programming are a big part of everyday life. This is why it is important to encourage the children to explore technology and to show that a simple keyboard on a computer is a tool for inventing, building and creating.”



Executive Director, New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning

Robert Goodman, the 2006 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning. As the science chair and a teacher of physics, chemistry, and environmental science at the Bergen County Technical High School in Teterboro, NJ from 1999 to 2009, he founded and led the development of the Progressive Science Initiative® (PSI®) and, later, the Progressive Mathematics Initiative® (PMI®). Bob was a member of the New Jersey Task Force on College and Career Readiness; NEA’s Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching; a Content Expert Reviewer for Achieve; a Field Reader for the United States Department of Education; and a member of the Education Advisory Committee for the Liberty Science Center. In 2007, Bob received the I CAN Learn – NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. He received his Bachelor of Science in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where his undergraduate research was published in an article he co-authored for the Journal of Applied Physics. He received his Master of Arts in Teaching Physics from SUNY Stony Brook, and his Doctorate in Science Education from Rutgers University, where Kappa Delta Pi awarded him the 2006 Delta Xi Award for outstanding dissertation. Before becoming a teacher, Bob had a twenty year career in the electronics industry which included serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer for Harman Kardon, JBL Consumer Products, and Onkyo International Operations.


Additional Presenters



Director of Technology, Independence Local Schools, Ohio

Mike Pennington and Garth Holman have a combined twenty-seven years 7th grade social studies teaching experience. Garth currently teaches in Beachwood City Schools where he piloted their 1:1 initiative eleven years ago. Mike recently left Chardon Local Schools and is currently working for and the Lorain County ESC. Their collaboration started seven years ago and has expanded to include their students. Every year Mike and Garth connect their students from two districts nearly thirty miles apart. Collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and intrinsic learning are life-long skills that Mike and Garth’s students use to become passionate learners. Moving beyond grades and linear teaching, Mike and Garth use technology to inspire student learning beyond the classroom.



Growing Up Global

Homa Sabet Tavangar is the author of the widely-acclaimed, Random House/Ballantine Books release, Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World, named a “Best New Parenting Book” by Scholastic Parent & Child magazine, and hailed by national education and business leaders and media ranging from Dr. Jane Goodall to the BBC, NBC, ABC, Washington, Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, Boston Globe, PBS, Parents Magazine, Rodale Press,, the Huffington Post and many more. Her book is sparking initiatives across the U.S. to help audiences from CEOs to Kindergartners learn and thrive in a global context – and have fun along the way.

Homa is the lead author of The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners (Sage/Corwin, 2014), contributor toMastering Global Literacy, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs, ed. (Solution Tree, Nov. 2013) and is currently working on a 3-book series with Professor Yong Zhao on educating creative, entrepreneurial “World Class Learners.”

She serves as Series Consultant to NBC Sprout TV’s original series, Nina’s World, starring Rita Moreno and Mandy Patinkin. Nina’s World celebrates everyday adventures in a multi-cultural neighborhood and embodies the principles of Growing Up Global. Homa also has been Education Adviser to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and has worked with organizations ranging from the World Bank and USAID to Education First (EF), PBS Parents, Sprout TV,, and was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Her writing appears on National Geographic Education, Edutopia, the Huffington Post, PBS, Momsrising, GOOD, and EducationWeek, among other media, and she is a sought-after speaker around global citizenship, globalizing curriculum, parenting, diversity, and creating inclusive, empathetic working and learning environments.



Teacher, Big Shoulders Fund, Chicago

Kristin Ziemke has spent her career teaching and learning from children in both urban and suburban school districts. A teacher and innovation specialist in Chicago, Kristin engages students in authentic learning experiences where reading, thinking, collaboration and inquiry are at the heart of the curriculum. Co-author of Connecting Comprehension and Technology, Kristin pairs best practice instruction with digital tools to transform learning in the classroom and beyond. An Apple Distinguished Educator, National Board Certified Teacher and Chicago’s 2013 Tech Innovator of the Year, Kristin seeks opportunities to transform education through technology innovation. She inspires educators around the globe as a staff developer, speaker and writer. To learn more about her work follow her on Twitter @KristinZiemke.




Jordyn Zimmerman is a student studying to become a special education teacher. Having experienced special education programs while in school herself, Jordyn hopes to become a catalyst for change in education. Jordyn has been challenging the status quo in special education for many years. Because Jordyn has difficulty with verbal communication, the educational system as it was, didn’t realize Jordyn’s true potential.

After a series of events when Jordyn was 18 years old, Jordyn began utilizing a communication device to help her relay her thoughts and feelings. Technology helped bring many opportunities for change for Jordyn and in 2014, she began advocating for special education through a series of speaking engagements including presenting to college students at University of Akron and Kent State University, residence hall staff at the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities, a Share A Vision fundraiser, a National School Boards Association (NSBA) Education Technology Site Visit and Mentor Schools Opening Day for hundreds of staff members.

Jordyn attended Mercyhurst University’s Autism Initiative Foundation Summer Program in 2015 to study psychology. Prior to that, a placement at Hudson High School and Mentor Schools’ Cardinal Autism Resource and Education School, known as CARES, brought opportunities for Jordyn to work with students in the classroom. This hands-on work experience included creating lessons for elementary students in Hudson, students with special needs at CARES, and teaching a fourth-grade class in a blended learning setting in Mentor.

The next plan for Jordyn is to attend college, earn her degree, and become a special education teacher. However, that will be just the beginning, as Jordyn is passionate and determined to make a difference in the world of education.


Additional Presenters

The following presenters have been invited to speak at BLC16. This list will be updated as we invite and confirm more presenters.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Opening Reception and Main Conference Registration


5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Don’t miss out! Join us in the Plaza Ballroom to kick off BLC16. Pick up your registration materials in the Statler Room, and then head to the ballroom across the hall to meet and mingle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – Most Likely To Succeed Screening


7:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Ted Dintersmith will be present for a special showing of his acclaimed film “Most Likely to Succeed” just for BLC16 attendees. After the film, Alan and Ted will hold a discussion! This is a no-miss!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – BLC Orientation


7:15 – 8:15 a.m.

We invite all newcomers to attend a session just for you! The November Learning team will answer your questions and provide tips for getting the most out of your time at BLC. The orientation session will be held in the Georgian Room.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – Reception at FableVision


6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

BLC participants are invited to a Creativity Reception at FableVision Studios, located on the top floor of the Boston Children’s Museum with gorgeous views of the city. Come meet and be inspired by Peter H. Reynolds, his twin brother Paul, and their team of innovators in this fabulous creative workspace. Walk, hail a cab or take Uber.

The attached directions include two routes – one scenic route that is a jot longer but goes past the State House and other local attractions.  Meet in the Hotel Lobby at 5:30 for an escorted walk with BLC Staff!

FableVision to Faneuil Hall to Park Plaza Hotel

Location: 308 Congress Street, 6th Floor, Boston, Mass. (About 1 mile from the hotel)

Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Global Speed Networking


Join us in this fun-filled, action-packed speed networking event with educators from all over the world. Our global bell will go off every 3 minutes and you will meet another educator. Last year, many participants listed our Global Speed Networking event as one of the highlights of BLC due to the many personal connections they made with creative educators.


Thursday, July 21, 2016 – Annual BLC Bash


9:00 – 11:30 p.m.

The social highlight of the conference week! Your registration includes the Annual BLC Bash, held in the magnificent ballroom of the Park Plaza Hotel.

Pre-Conference & Main Conference Schedule


Main Conference Kick-off – Tuesday, July 19, 2016

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Opening Reception and Main Conference Registration
7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Most Likely To Succeed Screening

Main Conference Day 1 – Wednesday, July 20, 2016

7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Check-in & BLC Information Center Open
7:00 – 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
7:15 – 8:15 a.m. BLC Orientation Session
8:30  – 10:00 a.m. BLC Welcome & Keynote
10:20 – 11:25 a.m. Session 1 Workshops
10:30 a.m. – 2:50 p.m. CUETip Sessions – Plaza Ballroom
11:45 a.m. – 12:50 p.m. Session 2 Workshops
1:10 – 2:15 p.m. Session 3 Workshops
2:35 – 3:40 p.m. Session 4 Workshops
4:00 – 5:05 p.m. Session 5 Workshops
6:00 – 7:30 p.m. FableVision Reception

Main Conference Day 2 – Thursday, July 21, 2016

7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. BLC Information Center Open
7:00 – 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Announcements & Keynote
10:20 – 11:25 a.m. Session 6 Workshops
10:30 a.m. – 2:50 p.m. CUETip Sessions – Plaza Ballroom
11:45 a.m. – 12:50 p.m. Session 7 Workshops
1:10 – 2:15 p.m. Session 8 Workshops
2:35 – 3:40 p.m. Session 9 Workshops
4:00 – 5:05 p.m. Session 10 Workshops
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Global Speed Networking – Imperial Ballroom
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dinner (on your own)
9:00 – 11:30 p.m. Annual BLC Bash

Main Conference Day 3 – Friday, July 22, 2016

7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. BLC Information Center Open
7:00 – 8:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Announcements & Keynote
10:20 – 11:25 a.m. Session 11 Workshops
10:30 a.m. – 1:50 p.m. CUETip Sessions – Plaza Ballroom
11:45 a.m. – 12:50 p.m. Session 12 Workshops
1:10 – 2:15 p.m. Session 13 Workshops
2:35 – 3:00 p.m. Closing by Alan November

“Alan, once again I am proud to say that our tiny school district (364 children grades k-12) will be sending 23 teachers and administrators to the education conference! We also have the honor of being selected again by US News Report as among the best HS in the USA. The impact of attending this important education conference and the work you have personally inspired me to advance are integral to the experiences our students and teachers receive. So much so that in our lineup coming to you in Boston is one of our music teachers and guidance counselors for the first time.”

Patrick Darfler-Sweeney



Education Conference 2016 Strands

BLC offers more than 100 pre-conference master classes and main education conference sessions, tailored by audience, to address six core themes:


  • Designing Rigorous and Motivating Assignments

  • Nurturing Creativity, Curiosity, Empathy and Courage

  • Teaching Global Communication Skills

  • Contributing to Professional Learning Communities

  • Crafting Vision and Managing Change

  • Infusing the Common Core Across the Curriculum

Countries Represented


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