■ Teachers must embrace (not just accept) relinquishing control to students. If students are to “own” their education, they must be trusted to make decisions—and mistakes—about what and how they learn. Also, teachers need to no longer be the “keepers of knowledge.” As said in the keynote by Dr. William Hite, “Teachers must be masters of context, not contents.”
■ We must redefine “achievement” and seek alternative methods of assessment. One sure way to raise hackles at Educon is to use the phrase “standardized testing.” The overriding message is that we must continue to strive to develop alternate methods of assessment that measure not only content skills, but personal traits including perseverance and empathy.
■ It’s all about design. Several sessions addressed the concept of “learning by design.” Instead of teaching students in a lockstep “worksheet” approach, we need to teach students how to approach a problem in a systematic method, and encourage them to solve problems interdependently.
■ Inquiry, inquiry, inquiry. We need to break the mold of posing questions to students and coaxing them to answer. Instead, we need to better teach them how to question themselves, explore, and make their own meaning. Not coincidentally, “Inquiry” is the first core value of the Science Leadership Academy.
■ Building community. Whether it’s like-minded educators forging bonds at Educon, or students connecting with classmates across the hall (or around the globe), it is clear that we learn more and live happier, healthier lives when we are connected with others.