Sunday, January 27, 2008

SLA = Something Special

Imagine a school were students actually have a voice. Imagine a school where students love to come to take part in something special. The day to day operations are ran by the students. Important decisions can be made by the students. The school is a community, not just a place where the students come from 8 to 4 Monday through Friday. Collaboration between staff and student is done on a daily basis by any means possible. If one student is falling behind, they are picked up by the community, for the community. Teachers are more like mentors and moderators rather than facilitators and instructors. Ideas are introduced and discussed, then questioned and debated. Assignments are open ended for the students to decide what form the final outcome will take. Outcomes are not graded or scrutinized, but questioned for purpose and relativity. Students have full access to learning and social networks. These networks are collaborative and reach globally. Students start to have a sense of purpose in the world. They realize that they can make a difference… in fact, they already have. They are a part of something special, and it shows in their faces.

I just visited this school... The SLA (Science Leadership Academy) in Philadelphia, PA. What a wonderful opportunity for about 200 individuals that went to EduCon 2.0 this weekend. I just spent the 4 hour drive home reflecting and regurgitating (in my head) everything that I heard and witnessed this weekend. Now, I have the ultimate task of getting the word out in my own neck of the woods. I already have a plan... I think.
Meeting of the minds during lunch
Will Richardson, Chris Lehmann and Gary Stager discuss life

Putting faces to names and voices to Tweets was all overwhelming and refreshing at the same time. Many ideas and keyboard strokes have faces and voices now and many more connections were made.
student at educon
Student UStreaming a session at EduCon 2.0

A variety of people attended EduCon 2.0. I am sure that when today's last session was over, everyone took with them something different. I know what I took away from this conference... HOPE. I have hope that this can be achieved, that the student voice can be heard as an equal in the educational system. I would like to thank Chris Lehmann and the students of SLA for an experience that I will always remember. Thank you for opening the SLA doors this weekend. I hope to hear more from you in the future.

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