What Did You Take With You?

HoerrWith ASCD’s 2011 Annual Conference a few weeks behind us, what’s stuck with you?

In keynote sessions, we explored broad themes like making change when change is difficult, getting in touch with your creative and imaginative self, and reigniting your passion for meaningful work. Breakout sessions were ideally opportunities to explore these ideas in more nuanced, strategic ways.

What’s one thing that you learned, or that intrigued you most, at Annual Conference? What face-to-face connections did you make with other educators, and how will you carry those with you?

Post submitted by ASCD Annual Conference Scholar cofacilitator and New City School Head of School Tom Hoerr.


  1. I LOVED Chip Heath’s keynote on change. The “elephant”, “rider” and “bright spots” resonated with me as we are going through what often seems like insurmountable change right now. I also very much appreciated “Organizing your Digital Life”, which was focused on developing your own Personal Learning Network. I immediately put both in two place. I bought the book to bring back to my CSU campus and I started organizing my Personal Learning Network through igoogle, incorporating Google Reader, Delicious, Twitter and Facebook. I was very impressed with the conference. I also very much enjoyed Linda Darling-Hammond and “ish” “dot” . GREAT conference.

  2. I guess what I took was the sheer variety and volume of ideas in one place.Sometimes they clashed, but more often they were complementary: same place but from different views and angles. Being in teacher education it mad me more conscious than ever of helping new teachers make meaning from all this stuff and recognize how best to combine, refine, expand, shift, and on occasion change direction in response to what students bring when we interact in our classes.

  3. I felt that the sessions reinforced the critical role of the teacher and the importance of ensuring all teachers develop skills to become effective ,for example by using shadowing, observations and feedback. I also very much appreciated “organising your digital life” and came home and started using the suggested resources. Great conference

  4. I think my biggest takeaway was simply that conferences like this are still powerful and relevant (though one-shot they may be). PD budgets are often the first components out the door as schools and districts find ways to survive the recession—and yet, we need to invest not only in the learning of educators in our schools, but find ways to connect and inspire them.

  5. I also loved “organizing your digital life”…it took away some anxiety that I have been feeling lately.
    One of my favourite sessions was “Beyond the Classroom Walls in a Globalized World” presented by Lisa Dabbs and Joan Young. Their real life examples of educators that are making this happen was perfect!!!


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