After doing several of these events, they keep getting better.
If you saw my tweets or got my emails about tonight’s event and skipped it, you made a mistake. #yowignite
— Shauna Pollock (@misspollock) February 26, 2015
educators learners gathered on a very cold evening to participate in an evening of sharing, great presentations and building community. Presenters ranged from Superintendents to a grade 7 student. Presentations featured stories about trips that changed lives to a self-declared world freehand circle drawing champion. (more on that in a future post).
As I continue to host these events it becomes so clear that the ingredients for successful learning include:
- A great environment: going off-site, to a neutral location not only puts everyone on an equal playing level but breaks routines and given the right space creates instant energy. Specifically this location was tight but that’s an advantage when you want people to interact.
- Stories more than presentations: The 5 minute Ignite talks are designed to be stories. They aren’t about perfection. In fact, they are almost set up for people to mess up. That’s actually part of the design. As one participant said, “it made them want to tell their own story”. Inside almost all these stories were elements of “I used to be/think/do this and now I don’t”. In all cases, they were clear it was about the journey
- Time to network: I’ve been deliberate to add more time for people to mingle and talk. Rather than cram the evening full of presentations, the ability for people to move and follow up with talks or just meet someone new is critical.
If you ask these folks, I’m sure they would put the 2.5 hours up against any PD they’ve experienced. I realize that not all these elements work in all contexts but I do believe we have to consider the role of “social” and “stories” not as add-ons or options but as necessary elements of all learning.
If you want to learn more or consider hosting an event of this nature, I’d love to chat.
Read more about the event in this storify: