Following Up on the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit (#nsvfsummit)

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of speaking as part of a panel on Teaching In The Digital Age with four other teachers from blended/hybrid learning environments. I felt that our panel discussion could’ve gone on much longer, since there was so much more to say. We barely touched upon the big issues that need to be ironed out (including the need for all these edtech companies to open their data so we can use it in a collective manner), the way a blended learning environment changes the day-to-day life of a teacher (in my case, discovering new tools and applications and testing them before implementing them in the classroom, being able to work with more small groups – which while amazingly powerful, is a lot more careful planning to do each day), and the balance of digital tools and downtime from tech (we try to utilize the right tool for the situation, which may be tech or may not be in that moment). There was a lot more on my mind from the panel and I’m sure it’ll come back to me sometime soon.

I got to talk people doing amazing things, from Daniel Yoo of Goalbook (used to work in our district and began Goalbook to fill a need in keeping educators, parents, and students in the loop around IEPs and personal learning plans) to Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson (who I worked with around the opening of PS7 and re-opening of Sac High, both schools which are performing significantly better than those before or around them). But I did have a big question I kept wondering about as I left the summit.

Yes, we’re making strides, and yes, there is a lot to overcome. But how many of these summits will we have before we really feel that we are getting a handle on these things? People move from venture to venture, but how many more until we begin to see a shift, like in The Tipping Point? I know next year I will likely be working in a new role in education, one that is not directly in the classroom with students anymore. How can I make sure my efforts are pushing us toward that tipping point?

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