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Vision 2020 – Wednesday

June 12, 2012

I hope everybody had a great day at Candyland Vision 2020 Tuesday and is ready for day 2.5 of professional development Mecca! Wednesday is the second day designed specifically for teachers, with many of the presenters also being held over for administrators on Thursday. For attendees who have come in groups from rural Oklahoma (where your district is safe – for now), the Wednesday/Thursday swing promises to have the most impact.

You can start the morning with an 8:15 session with the SDE’s STEM Director. His session promises to reveal where there are “pockets of excellence” in the state. I hope someone asks him how he knows there are only pockets of excellence and if this means that mediocrity is the norm. Math and science teachers who have met him already know that he’s more of a salesman than content area specialist, anyway.

General Sessions at 9:00 with Drs. Joseph Renzulli and Janet Allen should both pack a tremendous punch. Either would be a good selection, though they have perhaps opposite target audiences. Renzulli is a foremost expert in the field of gifted education; Allen provides strategies in teaching literacy skills that can be used with low-achieving learners and in all content areas. Hopefully both draw large crowds and educators missing one will have a chance to hear the other in a breakout session.

After that, the day becomes a series of good-sounding titles that may or may not be up to the hype. Implementing Inquiry-Based Science Standards is a good thing for science teachers. Robotics demonstrations are always good. Using iPads in the classroom will take on increasing importance in the years to come. In the end though, these are disconnected, one-shot, hit-or-miss workshops. This conference was put together with such little advance planning, that in the end, it won’t likely be the game-changer SDE officials are hoping for.

So come for the keynote speakers. Buy a Thunder t-shirt. Eat in Bricktown. Make some professional networking connections. Blow up the SDE’s Twitter hashtag #eduvision2020. And then head back to your district, knowing you may not see any of Barresi’s staff in person for another year.

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  1. June 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I thought it was interesting that there are no titles of anyone listed in the program, not even organizations are noted. Only the “national speakers” they’ve paid to present have any identifiers in the program. Several of the keynoters have Florida connections, of course.
    And, the STEM guy’s session interested me also, particularly since he’s only been working at the state level less than a year – how does he know where those pockets are? Plus, what’s the difference in “pockets of excellence” – and, later in that sentence fragment – “those that have achieved at very high levels in STEM education”? Well, at least it’s all good. Not sure why he’s only going to “touch upon the STEM plan from the State Department of Education”? Seems like in 30 minutes he should be able to fully outline it.

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