Coaches Corner

Interesting Facts and Finds from the world of education.

EdShift 2016 - Be Inspired!

This week I attended an EdShift conference on Monday and Tuesday and it was SO SO GOOD! I am SO EXCITED to explore this shift in education and am INSPIRED to move forward in that direction. It IS the right thing for kids - they NEED it and they WANT it! Really... they do!! We are stuck in a school system that has one or (if you are good) two feet out of a system that served kids for the 20th century. That doesn't fit anymore. School MUST be the catalyst for graduating learners who hold solid 21st century skills. Not independently but holistically. Look at what Thoughtful Learning says about 21st century skills, there are some sobering facts in there!


My head is still spinning with everything I learned and heard that i HAVE TO SHARE! Here are some nuggets (more like boulders) of wisdom and inspiration i walked away with:

The future of education...

Sir Ken Robinson was the opening keynote speaker - yes, I know, so cool!! If you are not familiar with him he spoke at Ted Talk in 2007 about how education is killing creativity. His talk, "Do Schools Kill Creativity" is the most viewed Ted Talk to this date (about 37 million views). It's really good, you should watch it!


My biggest take away from his talk was that we have created a set of challenges because we haven't changed the way we do education to keep up with our changing world. But... we CAN re-create our systems. His two reasons to transform education are:


  1. The world is changing at a fast rate. The digital revolution is just starting (even though it seems like it did awhile ago). People have always turned to technology - even during the industrial revolution. Think about how that revolution changed the world. We have only scraped the surface on what the digital revolution will bring.
  2. There are more people on the planet now than ever before. Everyone is different and we must cultivate and revive creativity in our schools. The system needs to focus on what WAYS they are smart, not HOW smart they are.


The most profound thing I heard was that a change in your space (classroom) changes the system. If a teacher in a school closes their door and decides to make the change in their own room, that is a change in the system. If a principal at a school decided to make a change in their school, that is a change in the system. It starts with one person, department, building, or district and over time it will change the whole system. We HAVE to start somewhere! Why not start with you!


There are lots of things he said that I will remember but these standout...

"Kids halfway through school loose interest in learning" (sad face!)

"Quality teaching improves learning, not testing."

"Create the right conditions and people will learn"

"80% of dropouts end up in prison" (He doesn't like the word "dropout" because it says the child failed the system, when really the system failed the child)

"Education is about learning. Kids love to learn. What is it that we can do to help them do that" (Watch the Mind Drive video below for some major inspiration!!!)

2013 MINDDRIVE Social Fuel Tour Short Documentary
Saving the Silver Bullet: Jaime Casap at TEDxFargo

Education disrupts poverty. - Jaime Casap

Jaime Casap is the lead Google Global Education Evangelist and he was our closing keynote speaker. O.M.G!!!!! (You can watch the above video to get a taste of his googlyeness!)


He told us that by the year 2020 there will 1.4 million jobs in computer science to be filled and only 400,000 people to fill them. Our kids, think our kids - are we getting them ready? He asked us to think about what the right model for education is for our current economy and our future economy and then he told us what he thinks is the right model.

It must have: (Mostly in his words...)


  • Technology - The world is at our fingertips but we are not using it to its full ability yet. Generation Z is global, social, visual AND technological. How they think about learning is different that how we think about learning. Side note - They are creating 2.3 million apps a year at Google. Wow!!
  • Critical Skills - The world is changing. Don't ask kids "What do you want to do when you grow up?". Ask, "What problem do you want to solve?". Then ask them what do they need to know to solve that problem, what skills, what knowledge, what resources, how? Being a problem solver is in our DNA. By the time our students are in the working world there will be jobs available that don't even exist right now. Are we doing a good job of preparing them?
  • Iteration - consists of success and failure. We live in a constant world of iteration. There is no end state (except in sports) For example: They update Google 600+ times a year and they update apps 200+ times a year.
  • Collaboration is how problems are solved. Collaboration requires the ability to listen, change minds, ask good questions, leadership. Problems today are so much more complex that they can't be solved alone.
  • Digital Leaders - Digital citizenship is the minimum requirement. If they don't learn it in school, then where will they?


Things he said that I won't forget:

"We need a culture shift of converting information in intelligence." (not for memorization) Intelligence is what we are striving for, not regurgitating memorized facts.

"Education is a commodity"

"100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE!!" What??!!

"Nothing is more important than the role of the teacher. They are there to help students be good collaborators and good communicators"

"We need passion based schools where grades don't matter"

"The Goal is to stop talking about technology in education. Just talk about education that technology happens to be a part of."

"We need systems, processes and learning models in place to solve the problems we have now."

"We are just getting started - what's possible is amazing!" - only 40% of the world is online right now. Can you just imagine what will happen when that number goes up?!


The world is changing so fast!


"We need to create a generation of critically-thinking, collaborative problem solvers. Students who know and understand world issues. Students who understand political and socioeconomic systems on a global scale. Students who recognize and appreciate cultural diversity. If we really want to face and solve the problems of this complex, multifaceted, diverse, and complicated world, we need a generation of students who are strong in all the C's: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and global competency." ~ J.Casap


Can we do this? YES! Do we know how exactly? No, but isn't it worth figuring out?

Preparing Students for College and Career