A Day of Learning

Our jam-packed professional development day yesterday began with a full school faculty meeting where our Head of School gave an update on various areas of the school. It was great to hear how the admissions season is progressing and to hear the positive college news coming in from our seniors.

The next part of our PD day included a stimulating, thought-provoking presentation on 21st Century Schools/ 21st Century Learning from Doug Lyons, Executive Director of CAIS and Andrew Niblock, Head of our Lower School. We skyped with Kevin Ruth, Director of the Tower Hill e-school to learn more about the exciting opportunity of e-learning and how it can enrich and enhance independent schools. We also learned of Doug and Andrew’s experiences visiting the Science Leadership Academy and Microsoft School of the Future. Their presentation was riveting, validating and exciting all at the same time. I wished we had more time for discussion and questions!

After a short break, faculty attended 1 hour mini workshops offered by other faculty and administrators at Hamden Hall. From the chatter at lunch, everyone seemed excited about what they had learned!  These sessions included: Exploring GoogleDocs, How Your Students Do Research, Red Flags of Students in Need, Ed Apps on the iPad,  Making the Most of Field Trips, Beyond our Classroom Walls Using Skype, Classroom Climate and I offered a session on The Flipped Classroom.

This is my presentation, but it does not tell of the true learning and sharing that happened in the room. While people’s interpretation of  the flipped classroom differed, we all agreed that the value of the flip really stems from the fact that the students are in charge of their own learning; they are DOING more in class, instead of being passive receivers of information.

(A special thanks to @jrsowash for his shared slides on this topic. I also thank @jonbergmann, one of the “Fathers of the Flip”, who answered my tweet about resources and also offered to look at my presentation. SO COOL! One of the many reasons I love Twitter!)

After lunch, we all gathered back in the theater for a presentation from Mike Fazio of CareerTeam. His enthusiastic and energetic talk was entitled “Selling Not Telling”.

“Whether you work in Administration, Education, Management or Counseling, SELLING SKILLS are needed.  And therein lies the catch word—–skills.  To me, a skill is something that can be improved upon with practice.  How?  Through better BRANDING and CONNECTING, so everyone can increase the effectiveness of communicating messages.  Whether delivering a lesson, giving a student advice, discussing an issue with a parent or even talking to the Head of School——–Selling, Not Telling produces better results.”

Mike added a different perspective to the day, speaking about the impact of 21st century skills in the work force. One slide is still resonating with me… it was a side by side comparison of the 2oth century worker vs. the 21st century worker. He promised to share it, and I really hope he does!

Our day concluded with a very nice wine and cheese reception in the library.

My head hurt (in a good way) with all that I had to think about after a GREAT day of learning!

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