Who knew that a gathering of educators could be the #2 trending Twitter topic in San Francisco?
That's what happened on Tuesday as more than 250 California state superintendents, curriculum directors and technology directors gathered for the EdSurge Summit in Davis, co-hosted by the California State Department of Education and the CDE Foundation with the support of CUE.
Equally important was the participation of 26 companies, selected by a panel of more than 20 education advisors supporting EdSurge on the event. These entrepreneurs shared their products with the school leaders and came with ears open for feedback from educators on how their tools did—or did not—address key pain points felt by district leaders.
Richard Culatta, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the US Department of Education, started the morning by reminding educators that the "Future Ready" pledge, signed by more than 2,000 superintendents, has helped identify schools pioneering the smart use of technology. Sharing stories matters, he reminded the educators, because they are a powerful way to spread ideas and practices.
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, also took center stage, sharing details around his just-released A Blueprint for Great Schools Version 2.0. The state, which once led the nation in academic achievement, has struggled with budgets as well as the changing demands of students. Torlakson described California as on the cusp of a "renaissance" in learning—one focused on educating the whole child, not just optimizing for one test score.
Authors and education thought leaders Michael Horn and Esther Wojcicki then joined Culatta on a rousing panel about the role of blended learning in schools throughout the country. Horn emphasized that any conversation that involves new technologies has to start by first exploring the needs of a school and its community of students. And to support teachers making change, advised Wojcicki, teachers need more support—specifically, "buddies" or "Moonshot mentors" who will help turn their ideas into practices sustainable across the school.
We'll share more of the ideas from the conference in future posts. Stay tuned!