DENSI2015 – Future Ready Schools

What a great chance for learning – working with over 50 administrators from Canada and the United States as part of Discovery Education’s DENSI 2015 Conference.

Last night we started with a great keynote from Tom Murray @thomascmurray from the Alliance for Excellent Education.  He talked about Future Ready Schools and how we can be utilizing the new technology we are getting into our schools every day.

This is a key concern.  It is one thing to get your school to 1:1, but once you have achieved that what’s next?  Education will not transform overnight just because you have a chromebook on every student’s desk.  The key question is what do you want your students to do with the new technology.  It is very easy to have 21st century technology in 20th century (or 19th century) schools.

To me, the main point is that intelligent implementation of technology depends on excellent professional development – not the kind of ‘drive-by PD’ that most of us are used to.  There needs to be a plan in place to help teachers with the new technology and to give them the tools they need so that they can use these tools effectively.

Tom Murray went over a whole host of factors that need to be considered to really have a future ready school.  He showed us an amazing example of a school that is really forward-looking  – Elizabeth Forward High School

We watched a video about what is going going on there – truly amazing!

For me, the most interesting part of the video is not all the great equipment they have but the collective commitment of superintendents, school admin, teachers and students to learning in a new way.  It is truly inspirational and something we all should be striving for.

The hour with Tom Murray flew by.  I wrote as much as I could but there was a huge amount to absorb – like parking buses in poorer neighbourhoods and beaming wifi to kids’ houses, setting up free wifi maps for your community, the creation of ‘small labs’ for elementary students.

The list could go on, but I need to get to the next event.  He finished with a key point – implementation is all about relationships.  How you implement technology is the key.  Your attitude and spirit will determine how successful you will be at moving your school well into the 21st century.

Great talk, great conference.

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