3/9 – SXSWedu D4: Rivera Keynote, Mindsets & Movements

D4 roberto rivera keynote






The gist:
Roberto came on the stage to close SXSWedu after 2 stellar performances by Brené Brown and Sarah Lewis.  His focus was on community and its strengths.  Drawing from his own past and his current work that rocketed Chicago suburb communities out of violence to victory.  His #pain2propane premise took a look at post traumatic growth (PTG) and how one can take that trauma and fuel the positive.

My take:
I was happy Roberto closed the closing conference keynote.  I’d say he was the most lively of the 3 and presented me with something that I’d been holding onto, since my days of starting in the education industry.  It’s the people.  The people that can and will push education of this country to its fullest potential.  It’s the community.  It’s great educators, great administrators, great parents, and great kids.  It’s everybody working together to achieve “the break”.

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3/7 – SXSWedu D2/S3: Systems integration

D2S3 whose job is it









The gist
Pain points.  Going from “how do I know where to go” to “there are too many ways to go”.  Maximize time for teaching and learning, and minimize time to finding and using the different tools.  These are known and troubles we face.  The next step after is to tackling the pain points… and who should tackle.  In Houston, they’re big on a learning ecosystem for teaching and learning where everything conforms and comes together.  And coming together is a big push on the directive of finding the who and how for tackling.  Tie it back to the teachers and tie it back to the kids.

The answer? _____

My take
What’s your combination on an academic technology menu?  With so many choices and all you can eat data plans, you take the good with the bad.  So many choices creates a problem because there are so many choices.  How does the data move?  How do you login, once?  And with so many choices, you get the opportunity to select what works for you.  Is it a diner menu where you can order anything from breakfast to surf and turf at 3 in the morning?  Or is it a refined restaurant menu where the chef curates the 4 course meal with wine paring?  Whatever you order off the menu, the big question that’s on the scene more loudly than ever is how to get each choice aware of the other and allow the information to move (without putting the burden on the teachers and the kids).

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3/7 – SXSWedu D2/S2: App overkill

D2S2 app overkill









The gist:

Extremely entertaining and engaging.  This audience participating discussion dove into the bigger questions districts and teachers always face around what’s being used, how often it’s being used, and what’s working.

My take:

The “Oooo shiny” really needs to go away.  Intentionality and knowing what is needed and wanted needs to be at the heart.  With so many apps being thrown in your face, we can’t be the squirrel chasers.  And this is the heart of where I stand with product management as well.  I’m not married to the product, I’m married to my customers.  So when we look beyond the buzzwords, decisions become more intentional to meet the needs of teachers and students.  And if it’s not working, if it’s not intentional – then it’s time to get rid of it or change it.

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3/7 – SXSWedu D2/S1: Paying the price

D2S1 paying the price







The gist:
Staggering stats on what the typical avenues’ loan value power is for students/parents.  Goldrick-Rab told the story of how loan programs and institutions are failing to meet the need of students and parents financially.

My take:
My parents were very generous and paid for my undergrad and much of my grad experience.  Grad was $82k+ not including all the other non-learning stuff.  I’ve only had to pick up about $24k and that comes out to $550/month.  I could’ve gone to a local school in NJ that I got into (that’s top ranked for its ed program in the nation) for $8-12k, all told.  Instead, I made a choice to go to a school that was close to climbing and close to friends and wasn’t as high ranked as the one in NJ.  I had a great experience and did really well.  But $550/month would pay for the van I really want for camping at climbing crags.  That’s a lot of weight to carry and I’d feel a lot wealthier without it.  My parents would’ve been a lot wealthier without it.  I’m fortunate that they’ve worked hard and are affluent enough to support my choice.  But there’d be no way, they (nor I) could’ve carried that weight if we weren’t as lucky.  Was the decision my fault?  Yes.  But it helped in my development.  With loans structured as they are, I don’t see how the non-wealthy could’ve had the same experience.

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3/6 – SXSWedu D1/S3: Data Today, Trends & Predictions for Higher Ed

D1S3 trends predictions










The gist:
Data data data.  How to hone, model, modify, present (the right to know and how to know it right).  Data attracts attention.  Micro-mindset messages.  Can’t take advantage of that if we’re worried about accountability.  So what works has to do with ways in which data collection is being used.  Looking at uncomfortable data has its danger in just looking at the data.  But it’s data for review and for use with other data to enable the human layer.

My take:
I think back to my approaches to university and higher ed.  Being outside that sphere and looking back in, I really didn’t want to be there.  “If I knew then, what I knew now.” kind of thing.  It’s a game changer.  (1) it really is a next level experience and (2) engagement is seen with bigger and sharper teeth in the game than we’d/I’d have ever foreseen.  It’s taken the externalities of the learning process (the beyond-content stuff) that always just seemed to be the magical, awesomesauce experience of an institution and makes it really real for students to understand, apply, and use to their advantage.

(aside: smiling point, I hadn’t heard before.  CASE model – copy and steal everything.  It is education, after all)

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3/6 – SXSWedu D1/S2: Determining the Value of Credentialing

D1S2 value of credentialing








The gist:
Where we were, where we are now, to value.  Value to the employer, people-to-jobs… value.  There’s a good list of value for intrinsic means.  For extrinsic, the value list is less.  Transitioning to recognition of credentials across all avenues, linking, then determining the value.

“When I think I know enough about a subject, I stop learning.  Yet, the world continues to evolve without me.” – @briansolis

My take:
Hats off to Petrillo.  She’s playing both sides of the fence.  Holds and upholds/maintains highest level of certifications in the med field while still being a very strong advocate of credentialing.  I heard some of the thoughts echoed in my head out loud.  Badges. Credentials. Value. We’re still a ways out, but it’s coming. And we don’t need to worry so much about globalization of the credential and we can do it within our confines and define that value and what it means.

Learn more:

@2be2learn #credvalue

3/6 – SXSWedu D1/S1: Investing in Teachers as Innovators

D1S1 teachers as innovators









The gist:  
Focus on creativity.  “Teaching is harder than rocket science.”  Innovate to increase engagement.  Cabrera brought the feet-on-the-ground issues and getting the basics down 1st through innovation.  I liked that he touched on accountability and how they’re making efforts to pull that back in El Paso. Because those pressures, while needed and may be very progressing, they do slow the innovation.  Witney – “this is why I got into the profession, not to make photocopies”  – when talking about the teachers doing and this what we’re seeing.  It’s happening.  Grit and growth mindset. Lewis brings the passion, shares the passion, is the passion. Where’s yours?

My take:
Admittedly, I joined the session because I saw IDEO and McMahon on the marquee. I’m glad it din’t drone on the program, but more about the vibe and heart. So with that, we’ve heard this before.  And we’re hearing it again, because it clearly hasn’t changed nor shifted. As you get older in K12 learning, you see less and less doodling and creativity time.  Creativity inspires – so why have we stopped?  Cramming content is getting boring.  Innovate and create.  Don’t worry about the pacing and planning.  It’ll come.  Go slow to go fast.  But when you go slow, you can also innovate and be creative.  I was happy to learn about the Teachers Guild.  But why is that lost from teachers after completing university?  It happens when teachers are learning to teach.  But then it goes away when you hit the classroom?  It’s tough, but do it.  Stay ’til 7pm.  Be tired.  But at least, you’re thinking, having fun, and in time that vibe transfers to the kids.

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“Curiosity on fleek every single week” – Lewis














*darker purple is where I voted.

Dec 29 to Jan 2 – Vegas trip!

Having some time off in the winter allows me opportunities to visit the folks back in NJ.  It also allows me the opportunity to build in a couple of extra days to visit RED ROCKS!  (Or “Red Rock Canyon” if you prefer.  In my reading, apparently, there’s a debate as to what it’s called.  MP prefers it.)  I booked my flight back from NJ for the 28th to allow for some wiggle room to get outside and bring in 2017 with climbing.  At the gym, I started suggesting it in conversations as I was tying in or right before partners were getting on belay.  “What do you think about Red Rocks for New Years?”

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