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Celebrating Innovation at the Tech & Learning Leadership Summit in Atlanta

leadership summit
(Image credit: Future)

Innovation blossoms in a leadership environment where new ideas can be tested and evaluated. Additionally, school district leaders must have the vision to make a difference and the courage to evolve and make that vision a reality. 

How do leaders make this happen? I say, through collaboration. That collaboration and rich professional learning recently occurred at the Tech & Learning Leadership Summit in Atlanta. It is exciting to say, "Tech and Learning LIVE Summits are BACK in person!" 

Districts that pivot and offer professional learning aimed at educators' needs and wants see less attrition and increasingly educated teachers. Ongoing and continuous professional learning for district leaders is the key to the future design of schools and peer collaboration. 

The Tech & Learning Leadership Summits are a perfect place to meet new peers from around the globe and bolster knowledge of current trends in the field. These events give leaders a viewpoint about the learning process from practitioners living the work every day. Additionally, participants can meet with industry partners to learn about the latest edtech on the market. 

Hotlanta Learning 

leadership summit

The inimitable Carl Hooker  (Image credit: Matthew X. Joseph)

Successful leaders know that risk-taking is a part of being successful. T&L’s Atlanta Summit had many new leaders take the risk to join the event for the first time. Little did they know the day would be packed with collaborative challenges, peer discussion, team building, and unlimited learning and laughter.

Carl Hooker, host and MC (above), shared, "Students learn by observing teachers taking risks, and when they see you try new things, they will be empowered to take risks in learning and collaborating too." Carl brought his trademark enthusiasm and passion for education to the event, opening the day with a welcome activity, planning collaborative and impactful learning activities, and then leading a session on risk-taking. He has been instrumental in the educational shift of infusing learning with technology integration during his 23 years in education. He also expertly led attendees through a series of risk-taking improv activities designed to help activate the creative side of participants' brains. The activities focused on strategies and confidence to get back up if an educational risk didn't go as planned.

BreakoutEDU also led a collaborative activity (below) that allowed attendees to be students and dive into critical thinking and problem solving. This team-building experience set the tone for the day by modeling innovative learning and opened participants' eyes that education is a team sport. Breakout EDU gamifies learning to create an engaging and empowering experience for students of all grade levels. Learn more here about the positive impact they can have on professional development and team building. 

leadership summit

(Image credit: Matthew X. Joseph)

The learning continued throughout the day with individual sessions. The facilitators combined a mix of traditional presentations while sparking discussions on the topic to include all voices and highlight the opportunity to share, learn, and apply the collective experiences at the event. 

Sessions included:

  • Impactful Professional Development Strategies 
  • Personalizing Learning Experiences 
  • Data Privacy/Cybersecurity 
  • Supporting Student Well-Being 
  • Digital Curriculum 
  • Equity and Access 
  • Sustaining Student Engagement 
  • Changing Pedagogy 

Attendees enjoyed a tour of Tech & Learning’s new Atlanta office with a team actively utilizing all the learning from the day. The APPMazing Race activity allowed participants to get up and move with the challenge of solving a group challenge collectively while encouraging a high level of creativity. This activity from the day modeled the shift in collaborative learning happening in schools and districts. 

leadership summit

On the bus to T&L's Atlanta offices (Image credit: Future)

 The day ended with recognizing four leaders for their innovation and impact on the field of education. (Read more about these winners here.)

innovative leader awards

(Image credit: Future)
  • Most Innovative Learning Spaces: Dr. Kristy L. Beam 
  • Best Implementation of Digital Curriculum: Sam Brooks
  • Best Overall Implementation of Technology: Cristin Kennedy 
  • Best Example of Teacher & Student Well-Being Programs: Dr. Claudia Martinez 

Being engrossed in learning for a full day gave participants a mix of new strategies while learning from participants' collective knowledge and experience. These events have a unique way of involving participants while delivering high-level professional learning. 

After participants dispersed from the Tech & Learning headquarters refreshed and energized, the next important step is to take time to reflect on all the new ideas and strategies attendees learned at the event. Implementing what is learned from events such as this is only as good as your ability to understand what impact a change would make. Try a few new resources or tools this week that you didn't know about before the conference. Tailor any new strategies to fit your style; only then will it have an impact. Keep sharing ideas and strategies using #TLTechLive hashtag as we keep the collaborative learning going! 

If you have never been to a Tech & Learning Leadership Summit, sign up to join and get ready to share, listen, and learn about the extraordinary work going on in your region! Find all of the upcoming Summit locations and dates here

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph (@ MatthewXJoseph) is Executive Director of Learning in Providence Public Schools, Rhode Island.