Monday, November 23, 2015

What's the big deal? #cuerockstar admin

What's this CUE Rockstar Admin camp all about anyways? From the outside, it probably looks like this:
A beautiful location
Selfies with Yoda 
Did I say beautiful location? 
Maybe some dancing?
Or is it just a fancy technology camp for school administrators that happens to take place in a cool venue? 

Why should someone attend one of these camps? After all, we're busy people who don't have time for fun and games. Right? What is CUE Rockstar all about?

I think it's like this video. Watch.

If you think a video about 7 year olds sounds crazy, stay with me. The experience these kids have at this amazing restaurant isn't that different than CUE Rockstar Admin. Here's why:

  1. Amazing location. These kids are in one of the fanciest restaurants in New York City. It's memorable, it's special. They will never forget this experience.
  2. They are together, enjoying each other, being social. This video would not be the same with one kid in it. The sharing of this new and rich experience is more special because they are experiencing it together.
  3. These kids are out of their comfort zone. They're trying things they would never eat at home. But somehow it feels safe because they are all in it together.
  4. They are energized by the experience, and they celebrate. The toast at the end is their high five and their smiles couldn't be bigger!
I also have to think that the expectation these kids have for a dinner out is changed forever. How will McDonalds ever compare?

This IS Rockstar Admin. We are those 7 year olds. 

  1. Skywalker Ranch is "the" beautiful location, one of many different venues chosen to create a special feel and experience for those who attend. For a few days, we journey off to a special world together. I think changing our place helps to change our mindset, too. We're primed for something special to happen when we journey to somewhere awesome.
  2. Connecting. Perhaps the most important thing that happens at these camps. These camps aren't about learning to make a Google form or write on a Padlet wall. Will you learn some new tech skills? Probably. But you'll also learn how to use the tool to change your school or district. The most important learning happens in the conversations, the reflecting, in the thinking out loud. What are you doing that I can take back? What didn't work for you that I can learn from? How can we inspire each other? (See Rockstar Admin reflection posts by Andrew Schwab hereJoe Wood here, Amy Fadeji here, Catina Haugen here, and Ken Durham here)
  3. Get out of your comfort zone! The dancing on Day 3? So fun, but really something we would never do alone. If we can dance together, a room full of school administrators, then what can't we do?    In our sessions, we ask each other tough questions and get vulnerable. In one session, someone said something like, "We do a great job of preparing kids for school. We don't prepare them for the real world." These conversations are HARD to have, or don't happen at all back in our districts. But maybe, just maybe, if we say these things out loud to each other at Skywalker Ranch, it can get easier to have hard conversations when we get home.  
  4. We are energized by the experience! It's tough to be gone from our school sites. But the experience shared over three days can spark inspiration and passion that will hopefully continue to shine on! On the last day, participants also reflect and share publicly their takeaways from the three days. It's not about having a polished plan or even about what you present. It's about making your thinking visible, about being truly open in a group and sharing that we often have more questions than answers and that we are willing to try something new and even scary to make school more awesome for kids. 
Keep on dancing when you get home! 

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