DEN LC Symposium (Wednesday Wrap-Up)

We all have heard of a very merry “unbirthday”, but have you heard of an unconference?  Today, the LC members were tasked with coming up with the burning questions and issues that they absolutely positively knew they wanted to see addressed before they left the Symposium.  These 24 topics were set into an agenda and split up into four time slots.  Then each group split off into their own area to begin discussions.

Each person who came up with a topic was responsible for starting the conversation, and then it took on a life of its own.  Some sessions were more instructor driven, others were discussion oriented, and one unique session turned into a quiet study hall-like tone interrupted by bursts of conversation.   Notes were created through a variety of sites and aggregated together through the Edmodo group we have been using to collaborate throughout the week.

The consensus was that the day was truly inspirational.  The best part was, often the conversation started with high level brainstorming but then evolved into practical action items for each attendee to follow through with.

The format of the day was organized through a system called Open Space.  One of the key tenets of it is tying passion to responsibility.  People attended the sessions that they were passionate about discussing, and it was their responsibility to ensure they made the most of the time they had together.

Here’s some feedback in 140 characters or less from LC members:
“un-conference, un-believable, un-imaginable, un-measurable, un-pretentious, under estimated. Simply amazing.” via @MaryDB
“Unconference was like a living mind-map; it kept shooting off in diff directions, adding more bubbles for thoughts.” via @donaldsonSC

Hop on over to the TN DEN Blog for a great summary of the Unconference from the participant’s point-of-view. If others have things to share from today, please post them in the comments!


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  1. kelly hines said:

    Loved loved loved today! The best part is imagining what this would look like in my own district or school, or even my own classroom. I’d love to see kids in action with this format. Thanks for all of your hard work.

  2. Margie Rogers said:

    I can’t wait to go back and share this with the teachers at my school! I might even go back in early to tell our principal! Thanks, Steve, for stepping us ALL (yes, you, too, dear Lance!) out of our comfort zones to try something new and effective!

  3. Carolyn Rains said:

    The unconference was one of my favorite parts of the symposium. I was excited about facilitating a group-never got nervous or even distracted because I was SO involved in the discussion! Thanks Steve!!

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