Reflection Shorts- Martin Institute- Year Two

I kept telling my wife that I didn't belong on the presenter scheduler, and that I was the least intellectually capable person that they asked to present. I'm pretty sure that I'm still correct on that, but I was honored to be in a group of learners and presenters that are actually doing so many things for education. I was inspired by the work of so many hard working people.

PDS in Memphis was a perfect setting for this event again as the ethic of hard work oozes from this school, and it is coupled with a humble and gentle attitude that is welcoming for all. Another key takeaway for me at the Martin Institute Summer Conference was that there little ego in the room. Humble, servant leadership was on display everywhere, and the presenters found a rhythm and network together that seem forged over years and not hours. Bravo to Grant Lichtman and company for the vision for making this happen.

My presentation was successful, but it wasn't overly attended. I try to remain true to the concept that those who are supposed to be in the room are in the room, but it is hard to watch more traditional sit and get sessions continue to maintain their volume at conference. It makes me wonder whether adult learners only give lip service to the idea that they want a more active learning environment for professional development. Are these opportunities still too far outside people's comfort zones? In addition, do we need to have layers of professional development that are based on time for implementation? For example, on today's agenda are sessions that you will leave with something that you can use in one week. Tomorrow's agenda includes only sessions that are ideas that will take a semester or more to begin to implementation. The draw to  sessions that are useful tomorrow is often to great to pull people into thinking-only spaces when they have the choice between the two.

In my presentation, I actually asked the participants to be involved in a short challenge that had them leave the room assigned for our learning, gather information, synthesize ideas, and present to the others in the room. It was real learner-centered learning, and it allowed the participants to experience learning in a way that students would experience their assignments. The participants really enjoyed the fresh nature of the learning, and my hope is to bring another iteration of this type of presentation to my next opportunity. There was a lot for me to learn and I'm failing forward into another space.

The Martin vision continue to be to take the best people with deep passion surrounding the very best practices in education and scale learning as quickly as it makes sense to all that are ready to explore it. I look forward to being on this journey moving forward.

During my sessions, I asked the learners in the room to reflect on a few questions, and I wanted to include those here as not to lose their wisdom.

What learning would you like to experience?

  • Hiking Appalachian Trail
  • Learning to Play the Guitar
  • Graphic Design/Media and Software Development
  • More Culminating Events
  • Learning what it's like to live in a new country
  • Learning more about Networking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Writing and obtaining grant money for technology needs
  • How to become a beekeeper
  • Experience the Holy Land
What "glue" does Education for Sustainability provide kids?
  • It creates problem solvers.
  • It plays on kids' strengths as team members
  • Greater Connectivity Community which engenders the ability to appreciate different people's situation and create a more accepting environment
  • Building an Improved Collaborative Environment among learners
  • Gives students a global perspective
  • Provides knowledge of the world needs
  • Gives students a global perspective in solar energy irrigation
  • That our experiences are just as important as our learning
  • Schools work with communities
  • Opportunity for more culminating events
What if....
  • School systems made this kind of learning as easy as falling off a log
  • All students had laptops
  • Schools incorporated active learning into every class. 
  • Educators made an effort to learn more abut schools and communities in our area.
  • Students voiced their opinions about possible improvements to their school
  • Students had more choices in their learning
  • Students had world travel experiences and appreciated other cultures
  • Students experienced life in other areas of the country
  • Students experienced life on minimum wage
  • Students had whatever they wanted to learn or college-choice like classes
  • We developed a "safe" forest for our students.
  • We did more community service.
  • We rearranged the school day/ course schedule that allowed kids to engage in research topics similar to what we did today?
  • The senior trip would a student led mission trip to a poor country year after year.
  • The 10th grade bible students trip was to the Holy Land