Robyn Jackson


Washington, DC

Interests: Professional...

  • Posted 1 Year ago
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My 3 Top Takeaways from ASCD 2017

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I’ve just returned from the ASCD Annual Conference #empower17 and I thought I would share my 3 top takeaways from the conference.

Takeaway #1: Personalize, customize, and empower

More and more I am hearing how important it is to offer students more choice and voice in the classroom. Not only does it empower students to be self-directed learners, it aligns with the way technology has allowed us to more and more customize our own experiences. I’ve talked about moving from differentiation to customization for years and I am heartened to see that this topic is taking center-stage for a lot of really smart educators as well. You can check out my conversation with Allison Zmuda and Benna Kallick about their work on personalized learning and with Mike Anderson on Self-Differentiation to learn more, but, the big take away is that as educators, our job is to empower students to be co-creators of their learning experiences.

Takeaway #2: It all comes down to the leader

There was a lot of talk about school transformation at this year’s conference but in almost every talk I heard, real school transformation depends heavily on the leader. Even in my own talk on Total School Transformation ( download a free Total School Transformation QuickStart Guide) focused on how critical the leader is in actually transforming schools. For too long, people have pushed programs and strategies to transform schools and they haven’t worked. I am glad to see that we are now refocusing on the power the school leader to bring about lasting change. (You can check out my conversation with Baruti Kafele on the four things school leaders need in order to be change agents in their schools).

Takeaway #3: Connections are everything

There was a time when we as educators could afford to live in our own little silos and focus on what was going on in our particular districts. But those days are far gone. Now, it is critical that we are collaborating not just with our colleagues within our schools and districts but across schools and districts world-wide. I was so thrilled to meet educators from all over the world, to connect via social media, and to begin collaborating, sharing our stories, and enriching each other in the process. When was the last time you connected with an educator outside of your school or district? If it’s been a while, you are seriously missing out.

If you were at ASCD this year, what was your biggest take away. And if you missed ASCD this year, what takeaway resonates the most with you?

Let me know in the comments.

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