Sunday, June 29, 2014

ISTE Recap - Day 2 - Creative Confidence: The Teacher Who’s Always Pitching

Source: ISTE
First of all, let’s not kid ourselves, there are a lot of people here at ISTE 2014. The Georgia World Congress Center turns into Pamplona when a marquee session hour approaches. There’s also a panic upon walking past a long, bullish line waiting for an event that you haven’t heard about. You’re tempted to join the stampede for fear of missing out. Still, the hours are impeccably managed by the ISTE organizers, and the mood of sharing is high.

Source: ASIDE, 2014

With the opening of the ginormous Expo Hall today, 12 start-up companies chosen from over 100 hopefuls had five minutes in the Ed Tech Pavilion to sell their ideas to the crowd. Even though there were no educators on a judging panel whose job was to evaluate educational products, the pitchfest was still a fascinating glimpse of up-and-coming learning tools.

It reminded us that teachers themselves are always pitching. Passionate teachers are always trying to carry their voices above the noise to convince students and administrators of the value of innovative learning. At times, they pitch like ships on the sea, trying to maintain even keels among the agitated waters of testing and mandates. But more of the time, they are desperately pitching for more time, more resources, and more flexibility. They are looking to communicate their nuggets of wisdom and their clever approaches to anyone who will listen.

Source: ASIDE, 2014

Because someone is always questioning progressive educators, they must in turn persuade parents and policy-makers that it’s okay to try something new. For their part, Copernicus educational products actually invited teachers to promote their visions on the side of a VW Bus, scrawling their hopes for what education might look like in 25 years.

Source: Creative Confidence
In between sessions today, we read Creative Confidence: Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All (Crown Business, 2013) by Tom Kelley and David Kelley of IDEO. The thesis of the book is that, “creative confidence is about believing in your ability to create change in the world around you.” All throughout today, that message was echoed by dedicated educators. Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers) asked attendees at the #geniushour panel what breaks their hearts in the world and what they are going to do about it. In explaining their inspiration, the pitch team from Modular Robotics invoked the Hebrew phrase, “Tikkun Olam,” which means "repairing the world."

In their book, Tom and David Kelley point out that there is no word in the Tibetan language for “creativity.” The closest translation is “natural.” It is ironic and affirming, therefore, that good teachers are naturally creative. Each presenter today demonstrated imagination and curiosity. They reiterated the same lessons from Creative Confidence: sustaining a doer’s mindset, not rushing to judgment, acting with intention, and leaping with courage. In essence, the Kelleys promote “karaoke confidence,” to put aside ego, build on the energy of others, value team camaraderie, and keep a sense of humor. That is ISTE at its core.

Source: ASIDE, 2014

On a practical level, our favorite apps and sites from today were Pop Lock Robot, Listen Edition, Pear Deck, and IFTTT. Our favorite quotes came from Twitter friend Sylvia Martinez (@smartinez) who encouraged educators to stop getting mad when kids won’t learn exactly as they are told. She also admitted, “I’m greedy. I want every hour to be genius hour.”

Check out the recap from Day 1: "Who Is Standing On The Shoulders Of Teacherpreneurs?"

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