OpenSpace is a website which presents a new paradigm for professional development. Built around the "Law of Two Feet" this face-to-face model encourages people to form discussion groups only on topics which interest them, and when uninterested, you must get up and use your two feet to go join another group which might interest you more.
An example of how an abbreviated OpenSpace meeting might work (on the topic of school communication)...
This is an opportunity to discuss issues and topics for which you as individuals have a passion. Normally groups meet for a full day or longer, so in a limited timeframe, this will really serve as a brief introduction to this model for professional dialogue. The key principles are:
- Whoever comes to a discussion group is who should be there.
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.
- Whenever it starts is the right time.
- When it is over, it is over.
- Respect the "Law of Two Feet." If you find yourself in a group where you are not learning or contributing, move to another group.
- The big topic is COMMUNICATION.
- Large sheets of poster paper will be on the walls and they will have words like parents, students, ability groups, progress reports, etc already on them.
- Anyone may add a specific question, concern, or issue to any sheet.
- Examples might be concerns about what we communicate to children when we do ability grouping or how we manage email while striving to sustain our legacy as a close-knit professional community.
- As you define concerns, pick a group and start talking.
- Please follow the basic rules of appropriate conversation and strive to let everyone who wants to speak, speak.
- This is a time to gather concerns, ideas, suggestions, et cetera; it is not an opportunity judge the opinions or suggestions of others.
- In each group someone needs to act as a recorder so any recommendations or ideas that need further consideration and discussion will be captured.
- Each discussion group will put their key thoughts, opinions, concerns, et cetera on a clean sheet of paper near the end of the session.
- Everyone will be given three sticker dots and will have the opportunity to "vote" for the three ideas, concerns, suggestions, etc that you believe need either implementation or further consideration.
- If a group is "in the zone" and wants to continue their conversation, that is fine