Tonight I had a really amazing opportunity. I got to attend a TED conference for free, here in Denver. We really had some amazing speakers lined up for us, and it felt like a real privilege to listen to these people speak, who traveled from all over the United States to give their talks.
The screen we were faced with when we entered the hall was so surreal. I couldn’t believe I had actually gotten an opportunity to attend one of these amazing conferences in person. The entire evening passed by faster than I could have expected. We got to hear talks about environmental education, integrating technology smoothly into the 4th grade classroom, global initiatives being coordinated by Teachers Without Borders, 3D technology in the classroom, and an amazing performance by a virtuoso piano player.
One of the projects which I really found interesting was introduced by Dafna Michaelson and involved turning students into solvers of problems. She described how she engaged her daughter’s 3rd grade class in discussion, and how the class developed a solution to the problem the school was having with recess. She extended the idea to the entire TEDx audience, and we ended up in a brainstorming session about problems in our community and how we thought we could solve them.
We each listed our name, our community, our problem, and our potential solution. Apparently the person with the "best" idea wins a $1000 contribution to help make their idea a reality, but to be honest this type of brainstorming was interesting enough for me. Just having the opportunity to brainstorm with some of the most creative and intelligent people around was awesome.
The highlight of the evening was meeting Adora Svitak. They first showed her video from a previous conference, and then she came out to speak which shocked all of us! She’s an amazing 12 year old with a vision for how education should be run. She is articulate and outspoken and an amazing young educator. Here is a repost of her talk from an earlier TED conference.
Next year’s ISTE conference is going to be difficult to beat. What an amazing night!