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Unconference Model Offers New Learning Opportunities

As leaders in education, we seek to transform thinking, systems, and organizations. Through modeling, coaching, and facilitating learning, we build capacity in others. In December, as part of the Learning Forward Annual Conference, we are launching a new type of pre-conference session, based on the unconference structure, titled Learn Now: Open and Connected Conversations.

The structure, or lack thereof, of an unconference allows the participants to shape and direct the learning for the day. According to edcamp.org, the format promotes "organic, participant-driven professional learning" — one of the most authentic developments of learning communities. After a brief opening, attendees can sign up to present during a 60-minute time block. Once the agenda is built from these time blocks, participants choose the sessions to attend. This model ensures that the day's agenda will be based on common goals. The day will wrap up with whole-group reflection and processing.

This type of meeting structure is ideal for attendees who desire to ask questions, share their expertise, and network with others who are seeking new and transformational strategies to facilitate learning.

Learn Now pre-conference attendees will be able to learn with Jim Knight, Marcia Tate, Lori Gracey, and Chris Yeager. These professional learning experts have all agreed to facilitate at least one session as well as learn alongside others.

We have modified the unconference model a bit to extend the learning beyond the physical face-to-face session. Beginning in September, there will be opportunities for registered participants to virtually build our community and share ideas. Through social media, we'll collaborate and engage in dialogue to better prepare in advance of the Learn Now session, and then continue the discussions of specific topics long after the session is over.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to lead the design and facilitation of the day. I look forward to connecting and learning!

Click here to register for the session (save $75 if you register before June 30) and invite others.

Michelle King
Director of Professional Learning, Coppell ISD
@mikingpd

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