If you went to ISTE this year you are probably not reading this blog right now, as you are still there or, having already left, are now in active recovery and trying to shield yourself from all external stimuli. ISTE is, in a word, overwhelming. With over 14,000 educators, what seemed like as many industry experts and vendors (don’t worry, it wasn’t actually that many!) and more panels, workshops and speakers than we could possibly count, there is an incredible amount to take in. And also an incredible number of things people might take away. And since my 21 hours there only included around 5 sleeping I thought I’d share just a few observations.
Inspired by the articles on education models in Forbes and Quartz. Two of my middle school students hard at work into the evening at a 3-day entrepreneurship event, building a mobile app that is one day set to compete with Google calendar for the benefit of students, teachers, parents, and their learning community. I will never forget the time in my short yet sweet teaching career when I got to teach “morning math,” a series of 45-minute, optional classes that started at 7am on a school day. I had just begun teaching middle school math after spending numerous years in the petroleum and biotechnology industries as an engineer, and I was finding myself increasingly agonizing over how ‘boring’ my math classes were becoming… even to me, the teacher! The world’s fast-moving out there, yet here were my middle school students, suppressing all of their creativity in a math curriculum from that (tried but) didn’t provide them with connections between learning and what it can do in the real world. My students thought my background in industry was cool and often wanted to hear about my experiences; however, they couldn’t think on their feet about how they, too, might one day work in interesting fields. Their textbooks weren't made to spark their curiosity. I started thinking a lot about how to change this environment. When did I first find true love and purpose for learning subjects like math and science?
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