My learning began with Professor Richard Kimbell of Goldsmiths University of London whose work is around capturing really good learning experiences from the classroom in portfolios and then enabling those portfolios to be assessed with a high degree of reliability. The highly valid and interesting work that goes on in classrooms is difficult to assess reliably. He uses digital portfolios, assessed by groups of teachers using the simple question, "Which one is better?" He cites Dylan Wiliam (1998) who asserted that "...most summative assessments were interpreted not with respect to criteria (which are ambiguous) ...but rather by reference to a shared construct of quality that exists in well defined communities of practice." This concept was called "connoisseurship" by Michael Polanyi in 1958. Kimbell concluded that:
Another highlight was meeting Dr. Lonnie Johnson. Dr. Johnson is a former Air Force and NASA engineer who invented the massively popular Super Soaker water gun. He reminded the audience to believe and have confidence in our students. Technology will bring solutions he said, and made sure that although ultimately successful, the super soaker took eight years and a lot of false starts along the way. He has since been developing the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Converter (JTEC), an engine that converts heat directly into electricity.
Dr. Johnson truly embodies a growth mindset and his message was unbelievably inspiring.
It was a pleasure to represent the Mineola School District along with Nicole Culella (PK-12 Instructional Leader) at this internationally attended event where we learned along side of passionate educators and had the opportunity to share our work as we presented a session entitled "Threading and Embedding Engineering Design Thinking PK-12." Our session was well attended and received by a packed room of educators representing schools from Maryland, Georgia, Utah, New York, North Carolina, Illinois and China.
As our presentation concluded, we networked with other educators and took away several key points.
Whittney Smith, Ed.D.
Dr. Smith is the Principal of Mineola High School in Garden City Park, NY. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Ruth Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University.