During each of the six breakout sessions throughout the weekend, a large number of conversations will take place. This site will help you organize your plan for the weekend and provide the relevant information for each conversation. After signing in, search through the conversations below and mark the sessions you are interested in to populate your personal schedule on the right (or below if on your mobile phone).

"You don't ask us to remember books. You ask us to learn from them." Shifting Destinations in the Language Arts Classroom

Christopher Rogers, Kiri Harris

What does it mean to affirm student voice through exploring literature and composition? What does a language arts classroom look like without right or wrong questions, without yes or no answers? How can we uplift perspective and process over objectivity and product? Students and teachers debate the benefits and challenges of our experimental curriculum.

#CLMOOC: Your Learning Constellation

Scott Glass, Christina Cantrill

When you consider the ways that technology continues to transform learning and your role as a teacher, do you feel overwhelmed? Join this hands-on, dynamic conversation as we explore #clmooc: a collaborative learning community dedicated to helping educators gain the first-hand experience necessary to be confident, contemporary educators. And learners.

5 Principles of the Modern Math Classroom

Gerald Aungst

Everyone is a math person, until we train it out of them in school. In this session, we will debunk 4 dangerous math myths and explore ways to build a school culture of problem solving and innovative thinking through the common language of math.

Accelerating Expectations

Will Ehrenfeld, Roman Brito, Kevin Garcia

Join some of the founders--staff and students--of a pioneering public school that has been celebrated by President Obama for a discussion on the value of school culture. We will discuss the unique impact of the 9-14 public-private partnership school model that raises expectations for underrepresented youth by preparing them for careers in the tech industry. Also, we will share ideas for how to improve school culture through external partnerships.

Adding Value: A conversation on making difference

Matt Baird

Each school year we begin with high hopes and plans to make our job and our lives easier or better. By the end of January, however, we as teachers are maxed out in what we can do because there are too many things pulling us in various directions. This conversation is an attempt to gain some traction in our teaching lives by reflecting upon the question of where can we make the most difference and how.

Assessing Creative Learning

Emily Gasoi and Sonya Robbins Hoffmann

Is authentic, holistic, and effective assessment of students' creative growth possible?

Back(ground) to Front

Dave Thomer

Inquiry requires students to consult sources, but those sources often assume that audiences have background knowledge that not all students possess. This session will help educators be conscious of the tools that they use to fill in background knowledge and plan strategies to help students build those tools for themselves.

Balancing Connection and Isolation with Mindfulness

Spike C Cook

This conversation will explore the paradox of the connected and isolated learner in the 21st Century. Throughout the discussion, participants will be encouraged to share their experiences, questions and ideas.

Becoming a Community that Learns: Extending the Lessons of Edcamp

Mike Ritzius, Dan Callahan, Christine Miles

This session will explore the underlying beliefs that have made Edcamp such a phenomenon and highlight ways to embrace participatory leadership, solve tough problems, and ultimately, change school from a community of learners to a community that learns.

Beyond Active Learning to Activist Learning

Robbin Riedy

Much of the literature on Digital Wisdom centers on “appropriate use” of technology. While etiquette is a start, educators must help students move toward citizenship—- vested with the rights, privileges and duties of building communities. The question is; how do we empower students to take meaningful action in civic engagement?

Building Curriculum for Racial Justice

Paul Allison, Christopher Rogers, Sam Reed

What's the real "Ferguson Effect" on schools? Are we any better at creating learning opportunities for racial justice now than we were before Black Lives Matter? What have we added to the curriculum? Join us to consider how a focus on racial justice is changing what and how we teach.

Can students find their passions through independent study?

Bryan Lakatos

We know that students learn best when they seek answers to their own questions, but what happens when they aren’t sure what those questions are? How might we empower students not only to follow their passions but to discover them as well? Let's discuss.

Changemaker Education: Whole Children, Whole Communities

Matthew Voz, Dawn Brooks-Decosta, Heather Baron-Caudill, Daniel Baron, Valentina Raman

What does it mean to educate the WHOLE child? How do we empower students to grow up with purpose, empathy, and agency? What collaborations and partnerships are critical for success? School leaders from three Ashoka Changemaker Schools will share how they are empowering whole children and whole communities, and equip participants to do the same.

Coalition of Essential Schools: Help Tell the Story of Its Legacy and Impact

Jill Davidson

What is the legacy of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) and the educators who are most closely associated with it, including but not limited to Ted Sizer and Deborah Meier? This conversation is for those who want to add their voices to the effort to understand CES’s powerful impact.

Create Something Great

Mary Murphy, Russell Loucks

How do you bring the most innovative teachers in a school district together to network with experts in education, industry, and technology to shift instructional practice? You Create Something Great! Join the conversation about a think tank that ignited passion and enthusiasm for innovation with teaching and learning.

Creating, Planning, and Navigating Learning Paths

Maureen Devlin

As educators today in a world of bountiful tools and resources, it's our job to coach, mentor, and guide students towards creating, planning, and navigating individual and collective meaningful, relevant, and enriching learning paths.

Crossing the Tracks: creating new resources through interdisciplinary projects

Larissa Pahomov, Matt Baird, Douglas Herman

an investigative conversation centered on an interdisciplinary project between English 3, US. History and Intermediate Media Studies to develop topic driven new media resources. Students and teachers will discuss the process and experience of the project and share existing artifacts.

Culture Trumps Strategy, Every Time

Matthew Frahm, Anneke Radin-Snaith

The easy part is recognizing 21st century schools need to change. The hard part is convincing people to give up familiar routines and practices. In this conversation, we will explore ways of enhancing the positive elements of a school culture needed to encourage risk taking and outside the box thinking.

Defining "Prepared"

Dan Goldner

If extended, self-propelled, challenging learning experiences are critical preparation for life, what do we mean by "preparation"? How can we know whether students have learned how to learn--enough to thrive in the next stage of their education? How can we help them document and demonstrate their readiness?

Educon U 2017?

Joshua Spodek

How about an Educon for university educators? Educon mainly serves the K-12 community, but its educational principles apply at all levels. Let's consider making an "Educon U." for university educators and if it makes sense to plan one (next year?).

Effective Project Based Learning in High School

Casey Cohen, Barbara Ledford

Presenters will discuss the writing of original high school curricula grounded in inquiry and PBL. Participants will learn effective project design and assessment and view examples of student work created in high school subjects. Students from Philadelphia Performing Arts… will participate in the conversation. Participants can contribute ideas and practices.

Embracing Error in Math Class: The Power of Wrongness

Brad Latimer, Erin Giorgio, Pam Chrissis, Helen Huang-Hobbs, Swetha Narasimhan

Math can be a polarizing subject for students. By the time they reach middle and high school courses, many students, particularly students of marginalized populations, have decided that they “just aren’t good at math”. Shifting the emphasis from product to process and exploring the value of wrongness in the classroom can encourage students to bring their existing understandings into the classroom to provide a richer experience for all students. We see this shift in mindset as crucial to any math classroom, and we bring perspectives from SLA and Masterman to explore this concept.This conversation will focus on the learning processes of student teachers and their mentor teachers, utilizing projects to emphasize both process and final product, and being able to adjust the trajectory of curricula based on the varying comprehensions that students bring into the classroom.

Engineering as a Catalyst for School Wide Change

Chris Pilla, John Kamal

What would it look like to use engineering as a catalyst to change your school’s physical environment and culture? This conversation will be moderated by SLA's resident engineers who have recently rebuilt the SLA engineering program as a centerpiece to school wide tinkering, making, and creative solution-finding.

Escaping the Acronym: moving making beyond STEAM

Colin Angevine, Josh Weisgrau

A focus on STEM has helped push making into schools. However, learning by making is not limited to one subset of academic fields. Extending the acronym to include arts and/or humanities is not enough. This conversation will focus on situating making in schools using cross-curricular values rather than disciplines.

Filtering: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Mark J Perlman

What is it about filtering that instantly raises blood pressure? The law is clear, or is it. Everyone has an opinion, few have solutions. I prefer teaching consequences of actions over blocking globally. Is there a happy (reasonable) medium. Come be part of THAT conversation.

Four Perspectives on Navigating the Student Privacy Landscape

Fran Newberg, Jim Siegl, Jeff Graham, Bill Fitzgerald

Over the last few years, awareness of student data privacy and information security within educational technology has grown. While significant improvements have been made, no one feels that the job is done, or that the issue will recede into the background. This session pulls together four distinct perspectives on best practice and experiences ensuring that good educational technology use is grounded in an awareness of student privacy needs.

Framing Social Studies Education in the STEM Era

Brian Hussey, Matt Roy

The relevancy of social studies education has been justified in terms of its specific content and its role in promoting literacy skills. However, as schools embrace STEM focuses, what challenges and opportunities are presented for practitioners of social studies education?

From the Horse's Mouth: Talking with Kids about Influential Media

Douglas Herman, Josh Weisgrau and a panel of SLA students

In a follow-up to "Empowering Critical Relationships with Media" (Educon '14, '15), this conversation opens up a dialogue with a diverse panel of students from SLA regarding the media they consume and find influential. Hearing from this group of active media consumers will help teachers develop engaging educational approaches and materials with, rather than, for their students.

Generation Z -- It's Complicated

Randy Ziegenfuss, Ross Cooper

Generation Z: Born after the late 90s. Today’s K-12 learners. Do we really know this generation and their learning needs and preferences? What are our adult assumptions regarding their identity, privacy, social media addiction, online danger, bullying, digital inequity and digital literacy? Let’s have a conversation about today’s generation.

Getting to the Heart of Education: Relationships that Revolutionize School Culture

Kate Rizzi, Mike Carson

We are on a mission to upend traditional education from teacher driven instruction to student driven learning. Potent evidence has exposed the former model as a failure, yet most public and independent schools still cling to it. Working within the current paradigm, we attempt to influence one heart at a time.

How Do We Track Which School Models Are Effective?

Mary Jo Madda

Microschools. Charters. Innovation Zones. Are these new school models resulting in positive results for students, and how are we tracking whether or not these experiments are taking the hold we want them to? In fact, what is the end goal in mind--do we need one before we launch these experimental models?

How Teachers Can Co-Opt the Lean Startup Model for the Classroom

Mary Jo Madda (with help from Leonard Medlock)

When it comes to teaching, being able to quickly understand whether or not students are learning—and then adjusting practice accordingly—is crucial to the profession. So how can educators co-opt “Lean Startup” methods, with series of rapid testing processes designed to test and scale businesses popularized by Eric Ries—to design the best possible classroom? This conversation will follow a step-by-step process to demonstrate how educators can turn classrooms into hotbeds of experimentation.

How to Build Teacher Tools That Work

Larissa + whoever at SLA wants to jump on this boat

When visitors come to SLA, our tools of the trade get lots of attention, from our school-wide rubric to our peer observation forms to our student surveys. Come learn about our design process and workshop your own ideas to create effective tools for both classroom and administrative purposes.

How to Use Creative Writing to Foster a Culture of Care in the Classroom

Cait Miner

We all want our classrooms to be safe havens where imaginative risks are celebrated. We all want our students to be deeply invested in their peers. We all want to build confident writers and speakers. Join Cait Miner, Philly Youth Poetry Movement Program Director and Philadelphia Educator, for a conversation about using creative writing as a powerful tool for fostering a caring classroom community.

Innovation and Justice

Max Rosen-Long, Larissa Pahomov

What happens when innovation and social justice intersect? Who is doing the innovation, and who is being innovated upon? Who benefits and who loses out? And as practitioners in innovative models of education, in what ways are we participating in or complicit in these intersections?

Inundated with Initiatives. How do we honor the teacher’s voice?

Amy Gorzynski, Amy Stolarsky

New initiatives can inspire and burden teachers. When we try to do what’s best for students, do we lose sight of what’s best for teachers? We will introduce our district’s Innovation Incubator group, explain how it empowers teachers, and pose questions about what’s next.

Inventing a world without tests

Matthew Riggan

Creativity, ownership, collaboration, craftsmanship, problem solving, persistence, communication, citizenship, purpose. These qualities are critical to our students’ long-term success. And they are completely ignored in policy conversations about school quality. How can we develop tools, routines, and technologies that address this disconnect?

Is the PLN Dead? The Reality of Networks in Education

Alec Couros, Dean Shareski

With many years of hype behind us around the value of personal networks/networking, this conservations aims to uncover the realities of social networking in teaching, learning, and professional development. Is the PLN dead? Or, do we need to reimagine the role of networks in education?

No One Said Revolutions Were Easy

Adina Sullivan

Ed/EdTech revolutions are starting in many ways and places, but are challenging to sustain. We'll share victories and challenges from one K12 battlefield and discuss ideas and strategies for maintaining forward progress and your own sanity.

Not Playing School - How can asynchronous learning empower students in their own education?

Charlie McGeehan, Sam Reed, Jessica Shupik, Sophie Date, Maggie Stephan

Students, educators, and partners from The U School, a Philadelphia high school in its 2nd year, will share work we have done to design our spaces, systems, and curriculum to support students in an asynchronous, competency-based learning model. Participants will engage in a discussion of the implications of our design.

On Creating a Caring Learning Environment

Morgan Caswell & Heaven Mendez

Caring about students should be a central part of every learning environment. High school is a challenging time in everyone’s lives, especially for students who are struggling with a mental illness. How can educators best support these students while still respecting the boundaries of a school?

POP POP POP UP! Designing Pop Up Books as a STEAM Project

Sarah Prendergast

Creating a pop-up book is a STEAM project that allows students to think spatially, engineer complex paper mechanisms, and express their own creativity! In this conversation students will discuss their experience in Pop Up Design, a maker education course offered at the NYC iSchool and help participants make their own pop up cards!

Purpose and Authentic Audience

Wendy Eiteljorg, Bethany Silva, Chris Fornaro

Authentic audience and purpose are similar student motivators. This discussion will combine ideas from various disciplines and address the need and possibilities for students to do real work.

School 2.0

Chris Lehmann

Zac and I wrote a book. We'll probably talk with folks about it.

Silver Bullets, Panaceas and Elixirs: The False Prophets of Educational Reform

Diana Laufenberg

Reforming, reimagining, re-visioning, recreating and refreshing schools are difficult work. There are no short cuts, there are no switches to flip it is just a long term commitment to fundamentally shift the focus of a community of learners. At times this can feel like winning the championship game and at times it can feel like a building full of people all trying to quit smoking all at once. This is not work for the faint of heart. Join me to talk about all the possibilities for long-term, sustainable and modern approaches to educational reform.

Social Justice Teaching and Learning: Empowering Students to Change the World

Jennifer Orr, Dahlia Constantine, Lauren Jensen

What do you believe is the purpose of school? Your role as an educator? We believe a significant piece of both revolves around social justice teaching and learning. Preparing students to be active and engaged citizens requires having difficult conversations and exploring challenging topics. Together we’ll explore the possibilities across K-12.

Startup 101: Entrepreneurialism for K-12 Classrooms

Reshan Richards

What happens when learning at school is more like working at a startup? Let's get together, talk about, and build out ideas around how to leverage the creativity and the experiences of young people to help them solve problems they are genuinely connected to and passionate about.

Street Art and World Languages

Melanie Manuel

During the session, participants will investigate street art's potential as a viable and powerful teaching and learning tool. The presenter will model activities and a SCRATCH game using street art that increase engagement, integrate the arts and move students to experience the 5C's particularly Communities, Culture and Connections. The purpose of the session is: - to provide authentic material and instructional strategies using street art - to share lessons designed collaboratively with Chilean educators and artists - to promote arts integration in the world language classroom - to elevate appreciation of street art not only for its aesthetics, but its cultural value

Students helping Students use Tech

Jeff McClurken, Martha Burtis, Jess Reingold

How can we include students in conversations about using technology to transform our teaching and learning? At UMW, the new Digital Knowledge Center was designed to provide peer-based student support for digital projects, and, through this mission, to help place student voices squarely in conversations about transforming our scholarly digital practices.


Jessica Celli, Tamir Harper, Asher Swartz

This conversation will focus on understanding and teaching students in utilizing technology in classrooms. Hear from a panel of SLA sophomores speak about the use of technology, digital citizenship, trusting students, and communicating and collaborating with each other. Learn about youth views and challenge your creativity by creating a project.

The Answers Aren’t In This Classroom

Jesse Downs

What if we didn’t measure student success in grades, but rather the depth and duration of good they create in the world? What if we placed “impact” at the forefront of conversations about students’ abilities and potential? This conversation is for anyone who is tired of pretending, playacting, and performing safe solutions. For anyone who is ready to give up the security of classroom-based projects, experiments, and simulations in pursuit of deeper purposes. This is a conversation for anyone who believes in our students’ capacity to shape our world for the better, and our ability to assess impact, not abstractions.

The DEEP Practitioners Program: Pushing the Practice of Excellent Teachers

Alexa Dunn (and DEEP Practitioner Members-teachers in the School District of Philadelphia

Research has shown that good teachers are leaving schools, particularly in urban settings, at alarming rates. Mentorship and coaching could work to retain our best teachers, help push their practices forward, and also engage school administrators in meaningfully aiding the growth of these educators. The DEEP Practitioners Program in the School District of Philadelphia is a specialized coaching program designed to reach talented educators. Come here what we do and collaborate with us on how to take a coaching program like this back to your school or district!

The Privileged Voices in Education 3.0

Jose Vilson

Whose voices are heard in education (education reform, education technology) circles? While it might be easy to identify (and lambast) the "corporate" voices, are we truly offering and supporting diverse voices in response? Who gets to speak "for" students, for teachers, for change? How can we do better?

Transforming Silence into Genius

Gregory Corbin

The award winning PYPM (Philly Youth Poetry Movement) creates safe spaces for young people to expand their critical thinking and enhance creative expression with a focus on literacy, youth development, life skills, using poetry, and spoken word.

What are they thinking? Understanding the Adolescent Mind

Carl Ackerman

Have you ever wondered, "What is going on inside their heads? Why do they put themselves at risk when they understand and know the consequences involved? Why aren't they focused? How can I motivate them?" This conversation will explore brain research to understand how changes in the adolescent brain impact their decisions and what interventions can be taken to help teens develop a healthy mind while and boost their learning.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Education

Meredith Stewart

Language is messy and imperfect, perhaps especially so in education. In this conversation, we'll explore words that are commonly used in educational circles. Where do they come from? What assumptions do we make about their meaning that might not be shared by others? How does their use impact students?

When Innovation Fails

Brett Clark, Erin Klein

In this conversation we will discuss what happens when the innovations don’t succeed in the way you thought they would. Join Erin Klein and Brett Clark as we discuss the ups and downs of innovation. During the down times how do you retain buy-in, rebuild trust, and move forward?

When will IEP Meetings be student led?

Megan Hayden, Emilia Giordano, Adin Michelen

How is a conversation about your education a conversation without you? What are the benefits of having a student led IEP meeting where the students actually ask for what they need and what they want? How will this change compliance and implementation?

Why "Missing Tech Diversity in Schools" matter most in my generation?

Nikhil Sharma

Missing out in providing equal opportunities in Tech learning for Girls and Minorities students in K-12, leads to wider workforce gaps and knowledge economy gains in future. The intervention is much needed in non-magnet and non-gifted schools to provide level playing field for all!

Why the Workshop School Works

Keyshawn Stran, Baijeen Compton, Dayshawn Fisher, Ibn Barnett, Brandon Miller

The Workshop School takes a unique approach to education by focusing on project-based learning, real world application, and compassion for students. In this conversation, students in their second year at The Workshop School explore why this approach works.

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