“I’m Shipping up to Boston” for the 2015 NAIS Annual Conference- Design the Revolution: Blending Learning, Leading and Innovation. I am excited to again be packing my bags for a week of amazing work, sharing and learning with close to 5000 folks from independent schools all across the nation.
I have been going to NAIS now since it was last in Denver (2007) when I ran a half-day workshop focused on the role of technology in moving from Good to Great. Each year since then, I have been privileged to work directly with Amy Ahart and her team at NAIS in planning, designing, and running various online communities (NAISAC Online Community Archive) for the conference as well as the two years we built out the Classroom of the Future project. I find this work engaging and an amazing learning experience. It is also something I look forward to each year.
This year is no different. We have an amazing site set up to foster conversations through the conference and beyond. Additionally, I am working with a group of volunteers including Jonathan Schmid and several of his teachers from Meadowbrook School in MA to bring to life an Interactive MakerSpace on the exhibit hall floor. This should be a very engaging place where you can talk to many who are currently engaged as makers in their own lives and in their respective schools. This will be an opportunity to explore ideas that can help transform a school into a place where students produce objects or what I call artifacts of understanding. In this case, artifacts that address very real problems as well as challenges with no one clear solution. This is Problem-Based Learning (PBL) at its finest. Additionally, as part of the Interactive MakerSpace, I have made an open call to schools to submit specific information that shows how Making and MakerSpaces are being developed and used on their campuses. Ten schools make up what will be visible as a static display at this year’s conference in the Interactive MakerSpace. However, I wanted this project to live long beyond the conference and provide inspiration and serve as a resource to independent schools everywhere. Therefore, the space has been brought to life as the Gallery of Independent School MakerSpaces, which currently represents 20 schools and is still growing!
As I look out my window in Dallas at the ice storm that is currently taking place, I am warmed by the thought that tomorrow I will be catching up with friends and colleagues all across the independent school community. Additionally, I am always excited about being challenged to reflect on the words and work of some amazing speakers. This conference has become a highlight in my professional development each year and this year is no different. So, I am packing my bags and slowly and carefully making my way to the airport for a very early Tuesday morning flight that I hope will have an on-time departure.
I look forward to seeing everyone in Boston. Keep warm and safe travels.