I’ve been thinking about this for a while… What do you get when you cross Genius Hour with Startup Weekend?
… a new model for PD.
Take a peek at each of these videos if you’re not familiar with the terms:
Startup Weekend (Yes, this video is in Spanish… But it’s also a better explanation than any English version that I could find.)
Here’s what I’m thinking.
*Teachers must have an idea that they want to explore/play with. They will spend 2 days working on that idea or collaborating with other educators on their ideas.
Day 1 starts with some rapid fire sharing of ideas. No one gets invited without submitting an idea (no spectators). All ideas get shared right away. Then some mingling time (hopefully some educators group off to work on hybrid ideas), and full access to books, web resources and board personnel. At the end of the first day, all ideas must be re-presented to the group and a judging panel made up of superintendents/central staff/student trustees. Members will get feedback about connections that they have made to their students, current research, their school goals and board goals.
Day 2 starts with a quick recap of Day 1, then (as soon as possible) groups/individuals will begin tweaking their ideas. As much as possible, they must take into account the feedback that they have received on Day 1. By lunch they must be ready to give their final pitch to the judges and other participants. After each pitch, the judges voice their compliments and concerns. Think American Idol. The judges have no say, they just draw attention to things that they love or things that participants might not have considered. The day ends with a vote. The winner gets their idea “enabled”.
What does it mean to have your idea enabled?
Well, having recently come from a classroom, there are a lot of times when I would say “I wish I had, more tech, more teachers to help, more supplies, etc.” When we enable an idea, we remove ALL of those obstacles.
Enabling is not a forever gift, it happens in support of the idea. "We need tech” gets enabled by taking some central resources (computers, laptops, iPads, whatever) and lending them for a short time period. Enabling “more teachers” might mean central resource teachers going to help/co-teach for a short time period. Same goes for supplies or anything else that needs to be in place for the idea to happen.
While this enabled teaching is happening, the process is being documented so that it can be shared and scaled.
What about all of the other ideas?
Good question. I’ve been toying with a “we did it anyway” prize. Any group or individual that decides to make their idea happen anyway, will be eligible for the same prize as the winner. The catch is that they will have to try their idea once without support. They’ll document the process and submit their lesson along with a reflection on how they might improve their idea.
I’m not sure that this will ever happen, but sometimes sharing dreams is the first step to making them happen.