Pre Conference Sessions

Pre Conference Jan 23 | Main Conference Jan 24-25, 2020


Use Design Thinking Beyond the Makerspace or Design Lab with Ewan McIntosh

Design thinking is most often consigned to the use of a design cycle in a school’s maker space, design lab or design and technology space. But how do you use the design cycle to teach Shakespeare, history topics or mathematics?

Ewan McIntosh and his team have worked for over a decade at harnessing design thinking in industry and in the classroom, taking it out of the “design and tech” box, and placing it at the heart of learning and teaching across whole schools and systems.

In this pre-conference, we ask “what if we assumed any learning could be enhanced by using design principles, thinking and a design cycle?” We’ll explore:

  • the advantages of having a common language of learning
  • the challenge of a deep immersive dive into topics, and how to frame these
  • how to create a nuanced synthesis, and push students’ capacity to define laser-sharp problems
  • how to move students beyond their usual means of presenting ideas and information

Education’s Moonshot: What If We Could Double Student Achievement with Digital Tools? with Sonny Magana

Despite billions of dollars spent equipping classrooms and schools with the latest digital technology, the impact of education technology on student achievement remains frustratingly low (Hattie, in Magana, 2019). This raises an essential question: What if we could double student achievement with digital tools and modern methods?

In this hands-on workshop, award-winning educator and pioneering researcher Dr. Sonny Magana will share the T3 Framework for Innovation from his best-selling book, Disruptive Classroom Technologies. The T3 strategies were shown to reliably double student achievement in multiple clinical trials. Dr. Magana will show how T3 Framework categorizes technology use into three distinct stages: T1) Translational, T2) Transformational, and T3) Transcendent and how the T3 strategies empower modern learners who thrive when given multiple opportunities to creatively transfer their knowledge in order to improve their world. Systemic adoption of the T3 Framework is helping whole learning systems across the globe realize the largely untapped potential of educational technologies to generate collective efficacy by catalyzing students’ current and future learning readiness.

These sessions provide participants with foundational learning on the T3 Framework for Innovation. Learning outcomes include:

  • Build awareness of the research findings on technology’s impact on student achievement;
  • Understand and be able to discuss the organization of the T3 Framework;
  • Understand and be able to implement the T3 Framework strategies in classrooms immediately to begin accelerating students’ mastery of current and future learning capacities; and,
  • Understand and be able to use the T3 Framework to build collective efficacy of whole learning systems.

Making the Shift to Agency: Empowering Students to Personalize Learning with Sascha Heckmann

Participants in Making the Shift to Agency will explore the “What ifs” of the classroom-based shifts required to empower learners with agency. Dr. Heckmann will facilitate an immersive inquiry-based experience where participants will explore the future of learning, the aspects of a highly effective learning progressive environment, and the shifts required of educational practitioners to empower their learners with agency.

The pre-conference will provide educators with the first-hand experience of learning in an agency empowered environment as participants will be provided with a voice in their experience, choice of their learning, and ownership of the collective experience. By experiencing agency, participants will deepen their understanding of the essential shifts required to allow for learner expression of agency within the highly effective and learning progressive classroom.

Participants will explore the following guiding questions during their full day inquiry:

  • What if you created future-ready learners?
  • What if your learning environment was highly effective and learning progressive (HELP)?
  • What if agency was alive in your classroom?
  • What if you shifted our instructional practice to promote the expression agency?
  • What if you personalized learning through agency?

Participants are asked to bring an electronic device suitable for accessing a learning management system, headphones for private listening and video conferencing, and appropriate charging equipment. In addition, participants will be asked to respond to a pre-session questionnaire to tailor the session to the needs of the participants.

MAP Growth: Essential Reports & Instructional Ladders with Dawn Summerfield

In this hands on pre-conference workshop, participants will use data from MAP Growth in their school to plan differentiated instruction. Participants will learn to integrate standards, their own assessment data, and their school’s curriculum to design tiered instructional plans. Takeaways include applying key MAP reports to form instructional groups, connecting specific students to skills in the Learning Continuum for an upcoming lesson. Finally, we will address topics of interest, such as formative assessment or flexible grouping, to enhance planning. Bring your laptop, your MAP reports login, and get ready to dive in!

Dawn is a private consultant for schools and has worked in education for 25 years. She is a Certified Facilitator of NWEA Professional Learning, helping schools to effectively use their MAP data to improve teaching and learning. She has particular expertise in improving student executive functioning skills, promoting school community health and wellness, mentoring new teachers, and working with the NEASC accreditation process. Dawn has in-depth experience in school leadership, curriculum design and assessment, special education, and differentiation through the use of data.

What if... I Had More Time to Develop My NGSS Units? with AISB MS Science Team Joel Scanga, Darrick Couts, & Seamus Doran

What if I had time to collaborate with more teachers to make my NGSS units even better? What if I could create authentic assessments that engage all of my students? What if I could figure out how to make my classroom more more aligned with NGSS every day?

At this session, we aim to have each participant leave with at least one freshly revised unit for their science classroom. The day will be split into parts, each focusing on a different facet of NGSS unit design. We will provide structure and opportunity for you to collaborate with other passionate science educators.

Since our aim is for you to complete a unit, we ask all participants to bring the NGSS Performance Expectations for the units they already teach. Foundational knowledge of NGSS (i.e. the Science & Engineering Practices and Cross-Cutting Concepts) is expected of participants so we are ready to hit the ground running when we arrive. Please feel free to bring any other resources and assessments that you would like to contribute to the conversation.

Darrick, Seamus, and Joel have been teaching together at The American International School of Budapest for the past three years. In that time, they focused on developing a middle school approach as part of a school wide transition to the NGSS. They have led NGSS professional development opportunities, including a CEESA Job-A-Like, an ELMLE workshop, and are collaborating with other international schools on the NGSS. Their recent focus is on assessing authentically with the use of graphic organizers. They enjoy working with teams to improve NGSS implementation and look forward to continuing their journey with you.

Budapest: from Concepts to Stories with Andras Valezy

Experience a walking tour of one of Europe’s most fascinating cities while exploring use of academic vocabulary and students' understanding of language. The walk will focus on the golden age of Budapest in the 19th Century, and its tumultuous history in the 20th century. Travel through the various districts of the city, exploring their amazing stories including Andras's first hand account of his family's struggles and eventual escape from Hungary before the fall of the Iron Curtain.

As part of this full-day, pre-conference tour, we will also examine the significance of learning academic vocabulary; furthermore, we will discuss how we can use our surroundings to engage students and enhance their understanding of language, which plays a key role in their learning. Bring your walking shoes and your appetite for Hungarian cuisine, and prepare to be captivated by the city Andras has called home for the past decade.

This pre-conference workshop is recommended for teachers who are interested in ways to scaffold the learning of academic vocabulary for their students and for those interested in discovering and delving into the history of Budapest’s recent past.

Andras holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum Teaching and Learning from the University of Toronto. He has taught in the public school systems in Ontario, Canada and in the UK. Over the past 15 years he has held teaching and curriculum leadership positions at international schools in Germany and Hungary. In addition to fostering strong research, communication and critical thinking skills in the classroom, Andras’ work has focused on developing curriculum which cultivates students’ natural curiosity through inquiry. Most recently he has been working with students and teachers on developing practical approaches to using academic vocabulary drawn from standards and higher order thinking skills (IB command terms), as the foundation for learning which promotes inquiry and creativity.

His other recent work has focused on the implementation of standards-based assessment and grading in middle schools. He has extensive experience teaching a variety of subjects in elementary and middle schools. He also has practical experience teaching the Common Core State Standards, the Ontario Curriculum, British National Curriculum and the IB PYP curriculum framework.