We attended Google's Virtual Conference first day last May 8. Before we start, I'd like to give a very big kudos to Google for Education for giving us this free virtual conference. I think I've mentioned this before, we don't have much of these conferences here in the Philippines. Well, we do in the education industry; however, for edutech industry, it seems like we don't.
That aside, here are my takeaways for Day 1:
The panelists were:
Jaime Casap- Global Education Specialist, Google
Jouni Kangasniemi - Senior Adviser to Finland's Ministry of Education and Culture
Ken Shelton - Educator, Trainer, and Google Certified Teacher
Zoe Tabary - Editor, Economist Intelligence Unit
Nicole - Secondary student in England
The first session was a panel discussion between experts in their fields on what skills are needed to be taught today to better prepare learners for the future. Each panelist shared what they and their teams do in their current professions. Moreover, all the panelists were in agreement that the future skills should be more inclined toward readiness for the workplace; with most of them mentioning collaboration, problem-solving, and analytical thinking. Everyone also agreed that the skills of the future are dynamic, and not static (or information-driven), with one panelist stressing that "we don't need to teach information because information is already at our fingertips."
by Levar Burton (Yes! The Levar Burton who played Geordi La Forge in Star Trek)
Co-founder of Reading Rainbow
Levar Burton was the next keynote speaker. He shared the experience of his mom reading him bedtime stories as a kid and how it that inspired him to achieve. He also tackled the exploration of "what ifs" that we get from reading. Furthermore, from Star Trek to Reading Rainbow, he credited the power of storytelling and the love reading as the driving forces behind his success. He then shared with us his most important takeaway from the keynote: "I don't believe that it is possible for a human being to reach their highest potential unless they're a reader."
by Lord Puttnam
Film Producer and Educator
Film producer and educator Lord David Puttnam shared with us the things that we need to focus on to get our priorities straight. He first showed a study that most colleges think that they are preparing their students for the world of work; however, almost all of the students and work leaders think otherwise. He makes a point of in order for educators to prepare their learners for the real world, they would need to prioritize collaboration, flexibility, and agility as skills to prepare for the future. He then gave us the takeaway for his keynote: "The person you are sitting next to could change your life" - giving much importance to collaboration.
by Lisa Bodell
CEO of futurethinktank and author of Killing the Company
Lisa discussed three tools that we can use for creative problem solving and championing change in a team environment. She also put much emphasis on collaboration and its importance to initiating change.
1. Assumption Reversal
There are always assumptions to every collaborative type of work; and according to Lisa, what we can do is reverse the assumptions. She gave an example of a weekly, one-hour meeting held in the boardroom. In about a week or two team members already have an assumption of what will is bound to happen - thus stifling creativity and reinforcing complacence in the team.
2. Ask Killer Questions
The correct questions to ask are the provocative ones. Lisa gave an example of "The Usual Suspects" - questions like "What do you think?" or "How should we improve...?" To initiate change and nurture a problem-solving mindset, we should ask thought-provoking questions instead. A question like: "What questions would you love to ask our students, parents, or administration, but are too afraid to ask?" was given as an example of a "killer question."
3. Kill a Stupid Rule
Finally, Lisa also shared this technique she uses when collaborating with teams that are in need of a process change: she challenges them to kill a stupid rule. She asks the participants to decide on a rule that hinders creative thinking and change - and ultimately get rid of it.
by Michael Fullan, OC
Former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and author of
Leading in a Culture of Change, and Six Secrets of Change
Michael Fullan gave us some tips on how to not bore our students and implement system change in three easy-to-remember ways:
1. Create change leaders
"Use the group to change the group."
2. Stop boring students
"Create a 'YES' culture in the classroom."
3. Bring change from the middle-out
"Top-down change doesn't work."
-Michael Fullan, OC
by Laszlo Bock
Google Head of People Operations and author of Work Rules
Laszlo Bock, Google's Head of People Operations and author of Work Rules shared his insight on "Making work rule!"
1. Give your work meaning
2. Never confuse development with managing performance
3. Letting the "teacher" teach
4. Don't Trust your Gut
by Sir Michael Barber
Former Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education, UK
In his keynote, Sir Michael Barber gave us eight talking points on how to run governments:
1. Decide your priorities
2. Organize to deliver
3. Have an evidence-based strategy
4. Do Planning
5. Develop routines and follow them relentlessly
6. Solve problems while reviewing progress
7. Irreversability - "seeing things through"
8. Using public money effectively
by Jennie Magiera
White House Champion of Change, and Digital Learning Coordinator
for the Academy for Urban School Leadership
For her keynote speech, Jennie Magiera shared her experiences with empowering her students. One such experience was when she was invited to do a keynote speech at a conference in California.
She told her students about it and they were curious as to what a 'keynote' was. She explained what it was; and out of curiosity, her students wanted to come along and watch her deliver it. Unfortunately, due to geographical and financial constraints they wouldn't be able to (they're based in Chicago). So, what Jennie and the class decided to do instead was have the students attend the conference -VIRTUALLY.
So she shared with us four ways on how she got to that result:
1. Cultivate curiosity - take risks and give more freedom to students
2. Outwit obstacles - solve problems
3. Learn how to play purposefully - empower students
4. Trust in ourselves, but more importantly, trust in our students
by Brittany Wenger
Student at Duke University and winner of Google's 2012 Science Fair
for her project Cloud4Cancer
Teenager Brittany Wenger shared her experience in being empowered and how she created an application called Cure4Cancer and the "Breast Cancer Neural Network." She won the 2012 Google Science Fair because of her project.
Brittany said that it all started when one of her aunts developed breast cancer. She was so curious about what it was, and did tons of research on the subject matter. What's more was that she also taught herself how to code. Given her curiosity and coding ability, what happened next was inevitable - she used her skills to create an app that detects cancer.
She credited her success to her teachers and family members who supported her all the way and made sure that the environment she was in was conducive to pursuing her work.
That's it from us. If you have anything else to add regarding the takeaways from the Keynote Speeches, please let us know through the comments section below. Cheers!