Monday, February 15, 2016

Passion, Conversation, and Change

I had the privilege of attending Iowa EdCamp at BVU on Saturday.

If you've never heard of or attended an EdCamp, take a look at the link:

Passionate community members from around Iowa came together in five different venues across the state to talk about the educational issues that they as groups chose to focus on. There were no leaders, no "superior by virtue of one's title," and no thoughts not honored and contemplated. It was truly a place to think about and share about education and how we might make it better. I chose to spend the day contemplating poverty, teacher leadership, and innovation in classrooms.

At the end of the day, we viewed a film entitled Most Likely To Succeed that I'm sure was unnerving to some.

The film's premise is that education must change dramatically to keep up with an age where information is literally at the fingertips of anyone with an Internet connection, where jobs are becoming much less based on what you know and more dependent on:
  • What you can learn
  • What you can create
  • How well you can problem-solve
  • How well you work with others
Talk about thought-provoking!

As a boat-rocking, protesting, future-thinking visionary - Ha ha! I wish I wore that hat consistently - I drew great strength from spending a day with people who care so deeply about education that they are willing to give up their Saturday to both share their own questions and beliefs and also to listen to the questions and beliefs of people that might not echo their own.

I saw a picture on Facebook this weekend from a classroom door at Maple Grove Elementary in West Des Moines that I would like posted on every classroom door in our district:

Since I had also just attended Iowa EdCamp, though, I also thought it applied to how welcome I hope everyone felt on Saturday. A huge shout out to our own SLCSD Mikaela Fiedler, Abbey Green, Deb Mortensen, and Carl Turner who also chose to participate in this collaborative day. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. Together we can make a difference.


  1. A couple of comments I am contemplating included 1.) How can we ask kids to make decisions when our current educational format doesn't encourage it? 2) We spend a lot of time in test prep. We assess in a format that is unlike anything our students will face in their careers. 3) All students are people with biographies. Currently we view them as data points. Talk about a complete change of mindset! I did feel good realizing that our musical informances are a great accountability piece. They are authentic and a project that can truly be finished and showcase student learning. Nations that are successful have people who are creative, innovative and problem solvers. In the music classroom, I get to witness that every single day. "Amen" to EdCamp. I am ready for another one~ :) Deb Mortensen

    1. I am so thankful to have kindred souls like you in our district. Your points are exactly what I've been thinking - for years. Let's continue to advocate for change! We owe it to our students.