2nd Stop: Deeper Learning Conference

On March 25th, I flew to San Diego, CA for the Deeper Learning Conference at High Tech High.

The Deeper Learning Conference explored questions such as:

What is the intersection between deeper learning in schools and the maker movement? How can we get creative and design deeper learning experiences on a shoestring? How can we get explicit about academic mindsets – what they are, how they support deeper learning, and what they look like in practice? What happens when adults and students “make” together in schools?

When I heard about the conference a few months ago I thought, I’ve got to go!! So, I made it happen. The day was finally here.

I’m a Social Worker with a passion to transform learning spaces and a story that I want to share with the world. As in some of the spaces I’ve been in the past eight months, I was the only Social Worker at this conference. I was also one of the only people without a title, which was also interesting.

Already, I felt that I was in a position of responsibility to expand the conversation of education as one that relates to the whole world: not simply educators, principals, and administrators.

We’re a community, and there are ways to build on community assets to create spaces for young people to express their creative genius and grow authentically.

Over the next three days, it was an honor to connect with like-minded people who were passionate about creative design, social entrepreneurship, project based learning, social justice, and mindfulness in education.

It was AWESOME. I learned a ton and shared what I’m working on right now.

Here are several of the Key Takeaways from the conference (and again, this isn’t just for educators. If you’re passionate about creating spaces for young people or anyone to express their creative genius and wholeheartedly learn, check out these resources).

  • Key Takeaways:
    • Check out the Teaching Channel.
    • What is a Growth Mindset and how does language impact a student’s learning experience? Let’s use language that encourages the growth of the whole child, rather than emphasize whether they are “smart.”
    • How can we communicate feedback and create this growth environment in education? Through warm (positive) and cool (constructive) feedback. Is your feedback specific, kind, and helpful? Feedback
    • How can we integrate Design Thinking in Education? How can we integrate creative design in community projects? Check out: DSchool
    • How can we create spaces for young people to tap into their passions and create from an authentic standpoint? Check out: Project H
    • How can we view education as a space wherein students get to create, not conform or mold into a job role?
    • What kind of pressure do we place on young people when we ask the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What are we really asking? How can we transition from a mindset wherein students want to grow up being happy and healthy vs. being a doctor, lawyer, nurse, etc.? I want to be Happy and Healthy when I Grow Up

As you can see, we talked about a ton at the event! It was amazing and there were great people there. I’m grateful I got to experience it.

Here’s a student’s project from a creative design in education workshop:

Student’s creation: Bogged down by memorization and standardized testing

Here’s another awesome video by an amazing student on education: Enough?

And another by an incredible group of students and their teacher: Bored of Education

All of these projects touch my heart and demonstrate why I’m doing what I’m doing.  Too many students’ talents and dreams fall by the wayside because of their pressure to conform to a mold that doesn’t fit who they are as whole human beings.

Wherever you are and whomever you’re impacting, continue to unleash their authentic talents, dreams and creative genius. We’ve all got ’em. 😉

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