Every teacher knows the moment: you ask your students a big, challenging, broad question and… silence.
As you stare out at their faces your mind races. Did they understand the question? Are they thinking? Will someone please say something?! It’s tempting to fill the silence yourself. But I’ve found if you wait, and trust, and give the question some room to breathe it’s remarkable what your students come up with.
That’s how I felt facilitating the Open Space session this year at the Blackbaud K-12 User Conference. As hundreds of participants gathered in the conference hall and the empty session board loomed behind me I realized that we were about to do something remarkable: design a half day conference for hundreds of participants in forty five minutes!
The passion and energy in the room carried us swiftly through that awkward moment between when I stopped talking and when the first participant proposed the first session (thank you whoever you are!) and in no time we were off and running with dozens of workshops!
Although the whole user conference was very valuable to me and all of the other participants I was particularly excited by the energy, engagement, and connections that happened during the Open Space sessions.
It’s kind of like when you ask your students a big question. If you wait, trust, and listen it’s remarkable to see what your students come up with.
Many thanks to Blackbaud K-12 for giving us the room to ask big questions!
Did you miss the Open Space session? Were you there and you want to relive the awesomeness? Check out this great video from Mark Christensen or the Open Space Wiki!