Summit. (noun) A day-long ’sit and get’ event designed to draw political and media attention to the powers-that-be at the top. Usually comprised of speeches, panel presentations, and non-interactive breakout sessions. Iowa antonyms: EdCampIowa, ISLI, StuCamp, EdCampDesMoines, school district unconferences, Iowa 1:1 Institute.

Summits are a great way to reinforce the passive, transmission-oriented model of learning.

Summits are a great way to get your own supportive talking heads on stage and not those of others.

Summits are a great way to talk at rather than with.

Summits are a great way to hammer home that certain people and perspectives get voices and others do not.

In Iowa, we like education summits: 

4 Responses to “Summits”

  1. Great point Scott. I would also like to suggest that this does not happen everywhere. I am heading to NCCE next week to lead a Makerspace Summit and we only have a total of 50 minutes of speaking in the whole day. 30 minute keynote, 15 minute midday reflection, and 15 minute closing keynote. The rest of the day is all making, doing, experimenting, and figuring out the next steps to change education.

    While I agree with you 100% I also know there is hope for change.

  2. You know what’s worse than attending these things? Working for someone who does, comes in with the “Next Big Thing”, and decides to do it, with no planning or thought as to the effects or consequences. Not that I’d have any personal experience with that…

  3. LOVE this post. PD today sucks! I cannot tell you the number of sessions that I have sat through, and learned nothing except how good the speaker is at making their slides pretty! The game of education has rules that are stacked against learning. These rules enforce items that have no purpose for learning (control, order). They certainly have an impact on learning, but its a negative impact. We need to throw out these rules and start over. Make rules that highlight thinking, sharing, and collaborating. Make rules that are real and deal with real learning. Make rules that change the game.

  4. What I have really liked about different PDs I’ve been to recently, is that they are channeling the same UDL student choice to the educators. In my most recent PDs, teachers can choose which sessions interest them most and attend those. I work in a large school district made up of 180 schools so the PDs can be very overwhelming and some topics may not be relevant to everyone. With all of the changes in education, our conversation needs to be WITH not AT, like you said. Many people are overwhelmed because they do not feel like they are a part of all of the changes. It can feel like a constant up hill battle.

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