Tech Forum Take Aways

“Technology needs to be like oxygen. Ubiquitous, necessary and invisible.”

Chris Lehmann, Principal, Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia.

TFNY09 002

Chris was the Keynote Speaker at Tech Forum yesterday in Palisades, NY and set the tone for a fantastic day. The day from my perspective was really all about how to push ourselves and our colleagues for change. The day was not about tools or technology. The technology was in the background.

Building School 2.0: Creating The Schools We Need was the title of Chris’s Keynote presentation. He spoke not about the 1 to 1 laptop initiative in his school, but the driving questions that the teachers used. He spoke about how the teachers worked as a community and that the students ultimately did to. He also stressed the idea that our students learn best when it mattered to them and that they needed to be  engaged and empowered.

As I was listening to Chris speak, looking at the images that he projected, and typing some notes, I also was Tweeting a few things. I opened up a column in Tweetdeck for  #TFNY09 and there were quite a few folks in the room that were also Tweeting. It was great to see what was catching their attention and participating in that backchannel.

Next I went to the Walking the Walk panel discussion with Kim Carter, Mary Moss, Alissa Berger and Chris Lehmann. Each panelist spoke on how they started schools from scratch.  My biggest take-away was when the last panelist, Kim, said “You can’t empower kids if you don’t empower adults. We must have PLCs in schools.” It was good to hear not of assessment and tangible needs.

From there I headed to the Roundtable discussion I was co-hosting. Dana Lawit, Robin Newman and I spoke with a room of about 30 educators on the topic of Social/Academic/Professional networks for students and teachers. We had a Plan A, B and C going in to the room not knowing our participants, but in the end, it turned out that the group really wanted to talk about using social networks with students. Here’s a link to the Google doc we put together.

The last full session of the day for me was Making it Happen: How Our Imaginations Can Give Us The Schools We Want with Patrick Higgins.
He divided the group by the question we chose to answer:

  1. Who are the students you want leaving your classroom every day?
  2. What do you hope they know how to do with what they’ve learned?
  3. What do you hope they care about?

Ultimately, each of the formed groups was challenged to answer the following question:

What does it mean to be well-educated in today’s world?

  • To be flexible and agile
  • Be able to collaborate and communicate with other
  • have a foundation of math and reading literacy along with cultural and global awareness
  • Collaborative. To know certain things, and to be able to find out certain things.
  • To be able to navigate information to create your own knowledge.
  • Have a broad knowledge base, knowing how we learn, adaptable, flexible

This was the best place for me to have ended my day. Patrick defined “literacy” as what you need to know to do the things that matter to you. So simple. Yet such a great definition.

Remember, change begins with you.

One thought on “Tech Forum Take Aways

  1. pjhiggins says:


    Thanks for the kind words and the contributions you made during the discussions. It’s always a blast to be in the room with that many educators who are interested in making a difference in the lives of the children they teach.

    Although I have heard Chris’s message before, it is always good to bring other people along to hear him. I had several people from my district there yesterday and they were all blown away by what he is doing at SLA. Hopefully some of the ideas will be contagious.

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