Learning and Networking: Reflections on the PowerSchool Learning User Summit in Atlanta
The Backstory: Recently, the first Atlanta-area PowerSchool Learning User Summit was held at The Epstein School for local schools using PowerSchool Learning, piloting PowerSchool Learning, or just interested in learning more about it. We touched based with Aaron Griffin, Principal of Digital Learning and Technology at The Epstein School, to find out how it went, what he got out of it, and what he’d like to do the next time!
PL. What made you decide to hold a User Summit at your school?
AG. Last year was my first year at The Epstein School, and I didn’t know much about PowerSchool Learning, so my IT director and I started talking. We had a group of other IT people get together in a small group and that seemed to go well. So the Summit was a way to work with more people in the area and say “Hey what are you using? How are you using it? What your your challenges? What are your benefits?”
PL. What were some of the big takeaways for you?
AG. For the schools that were thinking about implementing PowerSchool Learning, they could ask questions to the schools that had been using it. In other sessions, there was a lot of discussion about what people are doing, how they’re setting it up, how they’re structuring the beginning of the year with permissions and all of that.
PL. Did those discussions help you learn anything new?
AG. For us, it more or less solidified what we were already doing – although we did learn about LTI. So, that’s something that we’ll look at doing a little bit more with next year. We are just understanding how LTI can be important for us.
PL. What do you think others got out of the summit?
AG. It really helped people who were beginning to implement PowerSchool Learning to talk to others about how it’s used. When you have people that are just starting to implement, they just want as much info as possible to hit the road running.
It was also a really big networking thing for all of us to work together and talk about different things, so it kind of served a lot of different functions. It was great that we could all get together and talk about it things that we don’t normally get the chance to talk about, not just about PowerSchool Learning.
PL. What were some of the “other things” you were able to discuss?
AG. We discussed stuff like ‘We’re moving to office 365 or Google Apps’ or ‘We’re implementing a lab- type of thing’, so you know then that you can ask them about those kinds of things if you have questions.
PL. So, now that you’ve had your first Summit, is there anything you’d like to do differently next time?
AG. I think we’d have two separate sessions. A group like our school and another school that’s been using PowerSchool Learning for a while with a group that has just implemented it, so we can work through anything they have questions about or give examples of stuff.
And then we’d also have more of an advanced session with schools that have been using PowerSchool Learning for a while discussing with each other, showing examples.
And then just go the next step and if there are some changes we want to suggest to PowerSchool Learning, and we do that. It was nice to have Bryan (former Haiku Learning CEO and current VP of Product at PowerSchool, who joined via Google Hangout for a session). It would also be nice to have a developer that can do a Hangout so we can ask questions and make suggestions.
Or do something on a larger scale like a Hangout where everyone can attend, beyond the Atlanta area, and have one group facilitate the conversation. Something more large-scale!
(Haiku Learning is now PowerSchool Learning after PowerSchool bought Haiku Learning in 2016)