ISTE Leader of the Year Chris Lehmann, principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, talks about ISTE past, present, and future with T&L Editorial Director Kevin Hogan.
T&L: Remember your first one?
CL: My first ISTE was seven years ago, right around when SLA was just getting off the ground. Twitter was just beginning to hit and bloggers were this weird other group that people were just starting to pay attention to. We were here to learn as fast as we can.
T&L: How have those things you have learned at ISTE affected your work with SLA?
CL: It’s not so much that things have changed. It’s more like an evolution. We started with a profound pedagogy and we understood that using modern tools would help us manifest that pedagogy in really powerful ways. And we’ve really never gotten away from that. Obviously, the tools evolved along with the pedagogy but one of amazing things we’ve done here is that I don’t think we’ve ever taken a 90 degree turn. The ideas we started with are still the same ideas we have.
T&L: What’s in store for you and for ISTE in the next seven years?
CL: We are about to embark on our next huge project, which is launching our second campus in the fall here in Philadelphia. We’re working towards the idea of starting a middle school sometime in 2014. We have found overwhelming interest in inquirybased, project-based modern education here in Philadelphia. I believe we can build a network of such schools that leverage these new technologies so that while each school can be its own rich unique community which is an incredible opportunity. So I’m hopeful that in seven years time we won’t be just one great school with 500 kids in it but a network of similarly minded folks do this same sort of work.
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