Sunday, June 19, 2016

Innovative Ideas Institute

We were privileged to be invited to attend the annual conference of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators. The title of SCASA makes it clear who the intended audience is and the theme “Innovative Ideas Institute” makes the purpose clear. Innovative leadership was front of mind throughout the three days, and was unpacked through the keynotes, sessions, vendor exhibits and networking opportunities. And clearly anyone prepared to hold their conference practically on the sand of a stunning surf beach and rely on the delegates to show up to sessions has confidence in the coherence of the group around their vision.

We had no idea what to expect and discovered a group of warm and energetic educators at an event the size of ULearn in NZ - about 1500 attendees. The focus on innovative leadership was inspiring and I will post notes from some of the sessions I attended. We sat in on conversations at the state, district, and school levels and have lots to take home from their approach to teaching and learning as well as leadership.

We knew these people were onto something, which is why we reached out to them in the first place! Back when we were first considering moving from our Ubuntu based ASUS netbooks to Google’s Chromebooks, it was Donna Teuber, Director of Technology Integration and Innovation at Richland School District 2, who generously gave us her time and the District’s resources to share their journey with us.  They were one year into the move to Chromebooks and had documented the successes and pitfalls and we learnt so much from that.  Some of us still belong to their Chromebook Google Group where we get to see and learn from daily interactions from their extensive team about what is and isn’t working with their various tech solutions around GAFE and Chromebooks. These guys are dealing in numbers that sound more like our whole country than our cluster, so they really do have sample sizes to learn from.

It is resources like this 1:1 Implementation Site  and the vision outlined, that demonstrate the power of the robust technology solutions we have learnt so much from:

In Richland Two, students will work collaboratively in digital age learning environments on authentic problem and project-based activities which enhance creativity, critical thinking, communication, and problem solving. Through personalised, authentic and collaborative experiences, our students will develop the skills to prepare them for a future that we can only imagine.

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