What happens when you place 50 highly motivated educators in a room with entrepreneurs and education visionaries for a weekend?  Innovation!

We should use that word carefully~ for in these days of education reform innovation is used in a variety of contexts and carries meanings that are different for many but in this environment innovation happened and will continue into the future!

The Teams?  Four educators paired with a business person who is an innovator themselves, and an entrepreneurial mentor.

The Task?
Interview a student, assess their needs, and design a solution to change their educational world for the better. From preschool to high school, at-risk to affluent, struggling to gifted, each student has a bright future ahead.

The Environment?
A partial agenda, a flexible framework, free form brainstorming, culling of ideas, changing the pieces and moving at the speed of light in design mode (then pitch mode) for our product.Inside the classroom solutions, outside the classroom solutions, advanced learning projects, task monitors, service learning environments, and blended collaboration labs all surfaced as ideas which were re-shaped, peer evaluated, and re-designed. Then it was vision-making time where we could dream, make contacts, and test the possibilities amongst our peers.

The Outcomes?
Inspirational stories, re-rejuvenation as educators, opened eyes towards limitless possibilities, networking, and funding possibilities, and most importantly...student centered projects straight out of an incubator.

IMAGINE THIS: What if educators were afforded the opportunity to dream, design, and live solutions for students in 25% of their workday, each day, every day, every week, without interruption, with limitless possibilities, support for new ideas and new trends,with no boundaries except the best ideas are about the child? Imagine how we would take hold of our profession and design what should be happening for our students! Imagine the difference in the learning of students! Imagine the difference in how we would instruct! Imagine the empowerment of people who will make change from the grassroots of a classroom!

Captured this weekend was a vision of a few people, a task which seemed rare and insurmountable at the start, an end product that was student-centered, and 12 hours of high speed professional chaos that re-ordered itself into real solutions. Educators as innovators. That is the true solution to the challenges we face.

Thank you Daniels Fund, Legacy Foundation, and EdSeeds. And thank you entrepreneurs, visionaries, and mentors. Thank you for believing we could do it, and giving these crazy, passionate, and committed  educators the time, place, and structure to dream, invent, and believe that we can, and do have,  real solutions that work! See you next time-- with another 10 ideas in hand....