On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, Brett McGrath invites back his teammate, Tierra Leustig, the Dyknow Marketing Manager. Tierra shares her behind-the-scenes experience organizing the Progressive Learning Conference and recaps what she learned from the presenters.

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Don’t have time to listen to the episode? Here’s a peek at what’s inside…


Biggest Takeaways from Progressive Learning Week

There have undoubtedly been a lot of takeaways from this period of remote learning, but Tierra shares specifically what her biggest takeaways were from the sessions at Dyknow’s Progressive Learning Conference. The punchline from the week was that regardless of what progressive learning styles and strategies educators are implementing, teachers, students, and faculty members have always had the tools to make these possible.

Although these strategies may seem intimidating, these strategies do not require expensive technology investments or extensive professional development. Teachers all have the skills they need to make these possible, it’s just a matter of giving them the space to take risks and enabling them to do progressive learning effectively. 

What have we learned about teachers during this time?

One of the most important things we learned from talking with educators and Tech Coaches for this conference was how adaptable and dedicated educators are. Regardless of where learning was happening or how it is being conducted, teachers went the extra mile to make sure it was still effective. Going back to school after summer, it is clear that progressive learning styles will continue to drive instruction regardless of where that instruction is happening. 

A Recap of the Progressive Learning Conference

The Progressive Learning Conference was a week-long event full of informative and engaging sessions from our presenters. In this conversation, Tierra gave a recap of the week from start to finish with her biggest takeaways from each of the sessions.

Day 1: Keynote Speech with Tara Martin

On Monday, Tara Martin gave her keynote presentation on being REAL with education and teaching from the heart. It was a great way to kick off the week and set the stage for how these progressive learning styles can help enhance instruction and enable teachers to teach from the heart. 

Tara shared a lot of information on her experience growing up as a student and how hard remote learning would have been for her given unique and challenging circumstances. Tierra’s biggest takeaway from this presentation was that students are now learning in unnatural environments, which brings a lot of inequities and disparities into the remote or hybrid classroom that they would otherwise get away from when going to school. This brings about the need to teach from the heart and use progressive learning styles to do this effectively.

Day 2: Personalized Learning with Jill Thompson

On Tuesday, we had our first breakout session with Jill Thompson on how to use Core Four principals to apply personalized learning to any environment. Jill talked about choice boards and other activities to personalize learning for students by evaluating their needs and implementing which activities will be best for them.

From this presentation, Tierra’s biggest takeaway was that students all learn differently and we need to evaluate students on an individualistic level – especially during remote and hybrid learning. For instance, students who are tactical learners have a disadvantage when forced into video and audio learning activities, so we need to adopt new tactics to account for this and make learning personalized and accessible for all students.

Watch the full session

Day 3: STEM with Chris Woods

On Wednesday, Chris Woods, of the Daily STEM, led a breakout session on STEM and remote learning. He had over 120 slides filled with images of where he finds STEM in his daily life and examples of how teachers can promote STEM education in their classrooms regardless of what kind of lesson they are conducting. 

STEM is typically talked about in education as a very high-level topic that requires a lot of investment and fancy tools for. Chris Woods’ mentality is that STEM is everywhere, and wherever you are, you can find STEM and create a lesson from there. Tierra’s biggest takeaway was that these more intimidating instructional strategies that educators might shy away from really shouldn’t be that intimidating because they are achievable for anyone.

Watch the full session

Day 4: Flipped Learning with TreeFishEDU

On Thursday, TreeFishEDU (Kyle Niemis, Nick Johnson, and Eric Guise) led a session on Flipped Learning based on their new YouTube show called #FlippED Flops. They shared what mistakes they have made with flipped learning, as well as their different approaches to flipping learning in the classroom and outside the classroom. 

Flipped learning can take many forms and requires a lot of trial and error to see what will be effective. Tierra’s biggest takeaway from this session was that learning what not to do from other’s mistakes can be one of the most effective ways to learn how to do something effectively. This session truly embodied how to “fail forward” and continue working towards success despite roadblocks along the way. 

Watch the full session

Day 5: Equity, SEL, and PBL with Jorge Valenzuela

To close out the week, Jorge Valenzuela led a breakout session on Equity, SEL, and PBL on Friday. We can’t talk about strategies that make learning effective without acknowledging the inequities and disparities that exist and make learning a challenge for a large population of students. Jorge shared insight into what he has observed working with schools that experience these inequities and how to combat these using SEL to help students identify emotions and come up with strategies to manage these emotions effectively.

Jorge’s presentation was a great way to close out the week, as we started the week with Tara sharing her experience with inequities and why educators need to teach from the heart, and Jorge shedding light on what those disparities look like today and how to teach from the heart with SEL and PBL.

Watch the full session

What is most exciting moving forward with progressive learning?

With progressive learning and remote learning becoming so widespread, Tierra is most excited that now we are seeing so many teachers who previously might not have considered themselves “thought leaders” driving new learning styles and being so innovative. So many teachers have been engaged in new PLNs, trying new strategies, and sharing these out. It will be exciting to see how educators are leveraging all of these styles of learning and having conversations with those who are passionate about what they are doing.

We are always looking to have conversations with educators who are trying new things and are passionate about sharing out what they are doing. As we have these conversations, we will continue to share this content in the form of podcast episodes, YouTube episodes, and blog posts so that K-12 educators can continue to learn from one another.

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