Tag Archives: Rochester

#L2BB2L Unconference: Epic Fail, Great Success, or Something in Between?


After months and months and months of planning, the Learning2Build/Building2Learn Unconference has just ended.  Reflective learner and practitioner that I am, I can’t help but immediately want to evaluate and assess to what extent we achieved our objectives as event organizers.  And, true to life, I find that in some ways it was a (and hear Borat in your head, please) Greeeeeeat success! and in other ways it was a complete and epic failure.  In order to address this question, we have to know what our objectives are.  In this case, we had several:

  • Create a space in which K-12 and college/ university educators can collaborate.
  • Gather change agents working in education, especially, but not exclusively, those in the Rochester area.
  • Empower learners to take ownership of their own learning.
  • Utilize a presentation method in which the medium is imperative to the message.

Our first and second objectives were absolutely met.  K-12 and college/ university educators did indeed gather at RIT on a frigid Saturday morning to discuss how we can help students create more content than they consume, the barriers that keep us from shifting the create/consume balance, and successful methods for tearing down those barriers.  There were scheduled sessions which included presentations, lectures, and demonstrations that were somehow related to this topic.  There is a Facebook group, a Google+ community, YouTube Videos and a flood of #l2bb2l tweets that allow this fledgling community to remain in touch.  It’s easy to see that the first two objectives were achieved.

The third and fourth objectives are much harder for me to evaluate.  In reality, the event was far more conference than un.

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What should a 21st Century school look like? A proposal for a public charter makerspace in Rochester, NY.

This post is my initial long-winded version of an attempt to communicate the methodology behind the makerspace public charter (middle?) school that I will be opening in Rochester, NY in 2015.  It’s a draft of what will become a 1-2 page concept paper that I will distribute to potential stakeholders as I seek to build my board of directors, secure funding, and demonstrate wide community support before submitting a letter of intent to NYSED in September 2014.

Why Rochester is ripe for innovation in education:

Recent reports evaluating the quality of education in the City of Rochester, NY show some of the lowest achievement rates in New York State; for young black males, the 2012 graduation rates are the worst in the entire nation.  Truancy rates for elementary school students are high (20% each day as early as Kindergarten), and 550 students haven’t attended school at all yet this 2013-2014 school-year and an average of 2500 absent on any given day, today’s news reported.  Literacy and numeracy skills in 3rd through 8th grade are abyssmal (5.4% of students achieved proficiency in ELA last year, and 5% in math) and the bureaucratic inertia inherent in a system the size of Rochester’s mires most strategic improvement plans.  The City of Rochester’s geography, specifically the border created by the “Inner Loop” divides many who “have” from those who “have-less”.  Within the City, the homicide rate per 100,000 for 2012 was 17.1, three times higher than NYC.   Immediately to the south and west of the City, however, are affluent suburbs, thriving industrial complexes, and technological leaders such as Bausch and Lomb, RIT, and the U of R and Strong Memorial Hospital  While the challenges facing young people in Rochester are many, the intellectual, material, and human resources available within and across communities are equally plentiful.  The public educational system in Rochester, NY is ripe for a truly innovative public charter school to enter the market: the KnowledgeCraft Makerspace.

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