<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=191589654984215&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
2016 PL Summit Sparks New Friendships and Ideas

2016 PL Summit Sparks New Friendships and Ideas

Personalized Learning  |  Education Elements  |  EE Summit

The room was suddenly, almost eerily, silent.  Dananjaya Hettiarachchi stood on the stage at our 2nd Annual Personalized Learning Summit and we all watched him, mesmerized.  We held our breaths for a few seconds while our fingers slowed down their constant tweeting.  And then, like the world champion public speaker he is, he made us burst out into laughter. I leaned forward, excited to hear more.  Finally, after months of planning, this was happening.  We had gathered some of the best and brightest personalized learning leaders all in the same room. The PL Summit was off to a roaring start.

Last week we brought together more than 250 leaders of personalized learning and when you put that many bright sparks in one place you definitely start fires.  At every table in the ballroom, in all of the workshops, in so many nooks and crannies and yes, even at the bar, the exchange of ideas was among the most powerful I have witnessed. We suggested everyone leave with at least three new friends and many left not only with someone to email, but with a visit to another district already planned.  The theme of the Summit was about making personalized learning stick, but instead I watched us also make it spread and with the excitement, almost explode.

There are many many things that made our Personalized Learning Summit special, but I thought I would share just a few of them.

It was about the students.  Every person there is committed to personalizing learning as a way to help each student reach their highest potential.  It was obvious in the workshops, in the conversations and in the keynote speeches - including one by high school senior, Manzell Stone Clay, Jr.

Standing Ovation for Manzell Clay Jr.


It was about trying new things. Chad Littlefield of We! had us out of our seats asking new questions and making new friends.  The maker spaces and workshops had people designing classrooms, contraptions and powering devices.

Having fun learning

What does a PL classroom look like?


It was about teams and working together.  The PL Summit was the result of hard work by the whole Ed Elements team - every person in our company showed up to volunteer. But it was also about each district team and what they brought in terms of knowledge and experiences to share with other leaders from around the country.  The Summit brought people together in amazing ways.

Great team

Where the magic happens


It was about leaders.  The event was full of 250 of them and we celebrated everyone there for being a leader at their school, in their district, or of their company...but most importantly for being a leader of personalized learning.  This group is among the pioneers of PL.  We heard from them and our workshops and keynotes focused on them, tackling issues around how to lead change, how to be the best you can be, and how to support all of your teachers and community members.

New LELA cohort



It was about having fun.  Because ultimately learning should be fun...for adults and for kids.  So each workshop displayed that spirit (see embarrassing and not-included-here tweets from the Core Four workshop) and our happy hour at Jillian’s had everyone playing, laughing, and dancing together.  We handed out over 1000 poker chips for participation in workshops, for tweeting, and for networking.  We learned that some superintendents are pool sharks while others you don’t want to play against in a game of blackjack.  We got urgent texts on our cell phones with requests for songs like The Wobble and witnessed not only Andy’ Austins two great songs about blended learning and personalized learning, but also the Ed Elements fly girls.  This Summit was about making memories.

photo booth

Andy's surprise performance

Andy brings the house down

Last year we finished the PL Summit and were thrilled with how our first national event went.  We could not believe we had pulled it off.  This year the moment it started I knew it would be even better than the year before.  The  2016 PL Summit surpassed my expectations. As I watched the sparks flying around me I thought I might burst with pride that I get to work at Ed Elements, with an amazing team, supporting absolutely incredible districts.  So for everyone who came - thank you.  And for everyone who didn’t, don’t worry, there’s always next year, where we will seek to answer important questions such as….

Provocative questions


We. Can’t. Wait.


 Check Out Our District Partner Videos



About Amy Jenkins - Guest Author

Amy Jenkins was the chief operating officer of Education Elements.

Public Relations Today