Friday, June 21, 2013

Huntingburg's Math Summit

This week, just beyond the buzz of the Summer of eLearning, #INeLearn team members attended two of the three math summits scheduled for June. These day long events were the DOE's invitation to open dialogue on math topics such as standards, assessment, the instruction delivery system and earning credits. On Monday, K-12 educators joined higher-ed and industry leaders in Plymouth and on Thursday, the same occurred in Huntingburg. This is one of the first of many projects that the eLearning team will be collaborating on now that we are members of the larger College and Career Readiness Curriculum team.  

Superintendent Ritz greeted each summit group and spoke to "The System: When Challenges become Opportunities" between guest speakers who set the stage on "Perspectives on Mathematics in Indiana and the Nation" and "Painting a picture of the IDEAL Indiana math graduate."

Attendees didn't linger over morning coffee and donuts, rather they were immediately up and engaged in discussions around ideas that were gleaned from shared resources. More importantly, their rich conversations were captured throughout the day in both mind-alike and mixed group collaborations.

As the day concluded, charts speckled with colored post-its representing various stakeholders (elementary school, middle school, high school, higher education, school administrators and business/CTE members) filled the meeting space walls.  

Teams had spent the day listing essential elements around the ideal, pulling realities from the data, merging the two lists into common themes and drafting statements about each theme. It sounds like a lot of work, and it was. But as the team representatives shared what their group deemed the statements that would best increase the ability of schools to graduate a mathematically literate population, it was evident there was passion for this work in the room.

a LiveBinder of Math Resources shared at the summits
As I confessed to the groups I facilitated, I am a fish out of water when it comes to discussing math instruction. (I am one of those language arts people.) Fortunately they allowed me to stay in the room and I discovered that much of the conversation taking place could be applied to other content areas and learning in general. In fact, when the mind-alike group drafted their picture of the ideal math graduate, the first two things they focused on were the characteristics of confidence and resourcefulness.

Sure, they talked about algebraic functions and quantitative reasoning, but they did so in the context of student ownership of learning and the need to teach conceptually. Both groups' broader discussions touched on the skills needed for the 21st Century educator and student-thoughts that were on the back of my mind as they were the scheduled topics for our weekly #INeLearn Twitter chats. The team I worked with for the bulk of the day even tolerated me dragging them into the noon #INeLearn chat as we took a lunch break--thanks again Team A!

Registration is closed for the final summit as the Indianapolis event is at maximum capacity, but this month's work is just the beginning so watch for new opportunities to engage in the ongoing dialogue.  

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