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Educational Services Division

"Crazy Learning" at Leadership 3.0

By Michael Simkins

"My brain is on overload with ideas for professional development! Why, what, and how are so important. So many new apps and web sites! Crazy learning!"

"I learned much at this conference. Most, most importantly, I'm inspired to inspire my teachers through technology."

"My big take away is that inspired leaders need to create an environment that allows for risk taking and failure. Also how important the classroom environment is in creating spaces for collaborative learning."

"My favorite idea from the conference is Genius Hour. I can't wait to use 20% time with my 6th grade students. Like Kid President says, 'Create something that will make the world more awesome.' I am confident my students will make something AWESOME!!"

Who are those people and what are they talking about? Those are the reactions, posted to Padlet, of four educational leaders as they drove home together after attending the seventh annual Leadership 3.0 Symposium. Their reactions are typical of those who attend the event. In fact, when asked to "grade" their experience, the average attendee gave the Symposium an "A!"

Lee Mendelsohn demonstrates just one of the features of the new InFocus Mondopad.
Lee Mendelsohn demonstrates just one of the features of the new InFocus "Mondopad."

The Leadership 3.0 Symposium is a three-day professional learning event designed especially for educational administrators that targets the intersection of leadership, technology, and innovation. This year's Symposium was held April 10 - 12 in San Mateo and was attended by 275 school leaders—the largest crowd to date! The Symposium is produced collaboratively by Santa Cruz County Office of Education's Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership (TICAL), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and CUE, Inc.

Each year, the Symposium features workshops, breakout sessions, and prominent keynote speakers—all addressing critical topics on today's educational scene. Workshops this year included how to assemble your own "Administrator's Digital Toolkit" with hand-picked resources for getting the job done on a daily basis. The 40+ breakout sessions confronted such topics as digital citizenship, developing online professional development, reinventing learning spaces for a mobile world, and identifying quality apps, websites, and games for learning.

Keynote speaker Kecia Ray explains Metropolitan Nashville's "laser focus" on improving learning outcomes.
Keynote speaker Kecia Ray explains Metropolitan Nashville's "laser focus" on
improving learning outcomes.

Two keynote speakers provided inspiration for this year's attendees. At Friday's luncheon, Dr. Kecia Ray, Executive Director of Learning Technology for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and current president of the International Society for Technology in Education, shared how her district reinvented itself by moving to citywide planning and bringing in outside partners such as the Nashville Tech Council and representatives from the business community. On Saturday, author Sylvia Martinez spoke on what every administrator needs to know about the Maker Movement—the global revolution that celebrates creativity, ingenuity, problem-solving, and lifelong learning using modern tools and technology.

Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins welcomes attendees to the opening session.

Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins welcomes attendees to the opening session.

The Open Educational Resources Summit was a special feature of this year's Symposium. Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials freely available for use, reuse, adaptation and sharing—without charge. They are already a mainstay for many creative teachers and resourceful students, and as school internet connections become faster and more students have access to laptops, tablets and other personal technology, interest in OER is burgeoning. Underwritten by Net Texts, the OER Summit included speakers from around the country sharing tips on how to leverage OER in support of Common Core State Standards, how to evaluate the quality of resources, and how to adapt and develop appropriate policies for using OER.

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education was instrumental in launching the Symposium in 2008. At the time, ACSA—the statewide professional association for school administrators—did not have a professional development program with a technology focus. CUE specialized in advancing achievement through educational technology but few of its members were administrators. TICAL was the catalyst that brought the two organizations to the table to design a professional learning event that capitalized on the complementary strengths of all three—ACSA, CUE and TICAL.

The three partners have been co-producers of the Symposium ever since. In fact, that's one of the reasons for the "3" in the name, Leadership 3.0 Symposium—three organizations with one goal: educational leadership for the 21st century. "3.0" alludes to how software programs are numbered and was chosen to represent a whole new "version" of professional learning. It also reflects the three foundational components of the Symposium: leadership, technology and innovation.

Learn more about the Symposium on the web at!

Santa Cruz County Office of Education  |  400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060  |  831.466.5600  |  Fax: 831.466.5607
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides quality educational programs and services to a diverse community.