Get Out of the Way!

sxswedu_nameplate

It might be a strange memento, but my SXSWedu nameplate has been sitting on my desk since the conference ended on March 6th. It serves as a reminder. A reminder of the things I learned this year and a reminder of the commitment I made to action with my original co-presenter, Greg Garner, and a room full of people tweeting to #sxmetacog.

I was inspired to scrap almost the entire structure of our presentation the night before, after taking part in the EdTechWomen dinner, an awesome event put on by the national organization and our local Austin chapter. Of course when I got into a room with such a diverse group of interests, passions, experiences, and perspectives, I wanted to remain in this Neverland forever. The conversations were powerful, indeed, and left me desiring another opportunity to learn, grow, and be pushed by the people who had traveled to Austin in search of something bigger than themselves. I left Uncle Julio’s that night determined to use our time the next morning to create and facilitate this type of experience.

Redoing a presentation the night before is not necessarily best practice or a habit to engrain, but in this case, the learning opportunity that emerged was worth far more than the missed sleep and frazzled nerves that accompanied a nascent presentation in front of lots of smarties.

I won’t go too deep into our content here, if you want to get the idea you can check out our Smore. But what is still making me smile a couple weeks later, is the authentic, collective conversation and connection that occurred amongst a random group of incredible people. It was as if they were just waiting for someone to pull the release valve, to be given permission to speak, share, and connect in an authentic way with those around them—that is… beyond the last five minutes at a solo microphone in the center of the room with all eyes staring at them #nooffenseifudidthat.

We knew we wanted to facilitate an active learning session, but what we did not know was how well this desire would mesh with the desires of those who showed up.

Learning alongside our peers, we experimented with Visible Thinking strategies, tweeted “headlines” representing our individual SXSWedu experiences, thought about what we want our students to be like and reflected on a shift in our thinking about what needs to take place in order for educational innovation to occur. And just when we thought we had pushed them to their cognitive capacity, (since it was day 3) we asked them to take one more step.

You see, I went into the conference remembering distinctly my inspiration after last year– I thought I could fly. Then reality set in and the day to day normalcies slowly ate away my inspiration. This year, with wild, sparkly eyes once more, I wanted to capture that energy and commit to doing something with it. I didn’t want to go it alone either. So, our last request was to connected with someone in the room who could help you and/or you could help them accomplish something to move innovation in education forward. Then they were asked to take a “selfie” with that person and Tweet out what they were going to do.

Maybe our kids are just waiting for someone to pull the release valve too….

Maybe they are waiting for us to get out of the way…

This is what happened when we got out of the way:

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So what about you? How are you going to encourage thinking and do something to move innovation in education forward? Tweet to #sxmetacog and let’s keep the momentum going!

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