This afternoon I attended the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s sponsored dropout summit. This was not only a great opportunity to experiment with integrated with CoverItLive, it also was a great chance to see an amazing visual artist at work. Sean Griffin (@sean_griffin on Twitter) is a Tulsa-based visual artist who specializes in helping organizations and groups visually capture and synthesize their work. According to Sean’s website:

Sean Griffin is a strategic planner and thought partner integrating visual thinking tools into business and organizational change processes. Working with clients in a variety of industries Sean is instrumental in increasing collaboration, shared vision, innovation, creativity, and performance. As a visual thinking Internet pioneer, Sean founded one of the first interactive agencies and Web site development company’s broadcasting original television content.

Sean was tasked to visually represent, synthesize an summarize the ideas of our keynote speaker and our breakout group reporters during our summit today. This photo of the mural Sean created summarizing our keynote speaker’s main ideas gives you and idea of how wonderful his work is. It takes a great deal of talent to simultaneously synthesize what you’re hearing a speaker say, AND draw it in a graphically pleasing as well as effective way!

Summary mural of Franklin Schargel's ideas today

This sixty second video includes shots of Sean’s mural summarizing the opening remarks made by our state superintendent, Sandy Garrett:

This second sixty second video features visual summaries of comments made by our keynote speaker, Franklin Schargel, again drawn by Sean Griffin:

Sean posed for a photo with me before our closing session, when our different “working groups” reported back to the entire conference. Look how many different colored pens are in Sean’s hand. He is a VERY talented guy.

Wesley Fryer and Sean Griffin

I joined the “Urban challenges” group during the breakout discussions, and included photos of the results of our brainstorming in the Flickr photo and video set I created from today’s summit.

This top suggestion was mine at the end of our session: We need to change a predominant assumption for school today. In the 20th century, we assumed all students would take a STANDARDIZED pathway in their education. Today, we need to assume all students will take a CUSTOMIZED pathway in their learning journeys.

Solutions to our dropout challenges

We need to put a LOT more things “on the table” as we discuss educational reform and educational transformation. These include the bell schedule, our current “list” of required academic courses/credits for high school graduation, and (hat tip to Dr. Don Wilson) even the idea of separate grade levels. Although this conference focused on dropout issues and challenges, really we were talking about the need to transform our schools into learning centers which can better meet the needs of ALL the diverse and unique learners in our society. The two books I’ve recently read which are influencing my thinking along these lines strongly today are Sir Ken Robinson’s book “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” and Christensen, Horn and Johnson’s book “Disrupting Class.”

Here’s the full CoverItLive blog stream I posted (with input from a few virtual attendees) during today’s summit. In all I/we made 227 entries to CoverItLive, which are available as an RSS feed as well. I REALLY like CoverItLive, particularly when it’s integrated with Ustream. The key element bringing everything together today, however, was the FAST and open WiFi at Oklahoma Christian University.

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