7 Things to Include in Your Innovation Conference

If I was hosting an innovation conference focused on secondary education, here are some things I’d include.
1. A bunch of interesting breakout conversations:

  • Managing matriculation: badging beats birthdays
  • Motivation: what we know & what we’re likely to learn from big data
  • Math: how to flip it, blend it, and customize it
  • More writing: practical strategies for getting 500 words/day out of kids
  • Making the best post secondary choice: a new spine for 6-12 including self management and data-driven decision making

2. The conference would host a design prize for a new high school. About $25k in prize money and at least 30 days of planning time should do.  Suggested categories for entries would include:

  • Incubator High: like General Assembly, it would include a business incubator and associated classes (maybe this is grade 11-14)
  • Sim High: most subjects are taught by participating in or building simulations (like Cityville or SimCity)
  • DIY High: what if high school was 200 badges?  Students could learn where and how they wanted, just plug in to demonstrate the learning.
  • Civic High: Social media-enable social change school of informed advocacy

3. There would be visual field trips to some early blended school models including

4. There would also be visual field trips to school development networks and I’d ask all of them to describe their most effective sites and what the next version of their model includes:

It’s also worth including the Ohio STEM Network and Texas STEM Network
5. There would be a design studio with platforms you could build a blended school around:

6. A session would explore lessons from workforce development

  • Cisco Academy
  • A successful community college program
  • Military pilots training

7. There would be an exhibit hall with cool components:

I missed a lot of cool stuff.  Send a comment making the case for why/where you should be on the agenda!
Disclosure: I’m a partner in Learn Capital.  Pearson is an investor.  Edmodo, Mangahigh, Formative Learning, and AdvancePath are portfolio companies.  Connections and K12 are advocacy partners.  

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Marie Bjerede

Yes! This is what conferencing should look like. I'd like to pre-register, please.


Tom Vander Ark

Thanks Marie, would be fun to work with you on something like this.

Paul leather

I agree, aside from the obvious private enterprise bias, I am completely in support of the direction and vision of this event... When will it happen? Love the idea of badging... Want to see DIY High

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