It’s November so I have left beautiful South Florida (where it was 77 degrees) to Boston (50 degrees and dropping) for the annual iPad Summit hosted by EdTechTeacher. For the first time in a long time, I am attending a conference solely as a learner. Instead of prepping for my own presentations, I just get to enjoy the events.
This year, they switched up the pre-conference workshops. I had the privilege of visiting the Cambridge Innovation Center and MIT’s Media Lab. What I loved about this was that it wasn’t about curriculum, lesson plans, or pedagogy. Instead, it was a big picture discussion. What are employers looking for today? How do we foster entrepreneurship in our students? I also got to see some great tools in action that I am not allowed to share with the public.
At the Cambridge Innovation Center, we met Vickie the founder of Youth CITIES, an organization that fosters entrepreneurship in young children. In meeting with her and other leaders in innovative practices, the notion that “it’s what you can do, not what you know” was highlighted. If we can get kids to think outside the box and build professional networks, they will be ahead of the curve in the real world. They also encourage more team building and social interaction. While in academics we are graded solo, in the real world we work in teams and on projects.
After lunch, we got to visit the MIT Media Lab. If you are familiar with the work of Seymour Papert, you know that he espouses the view that we learn by doing and grow by sharing and collaborating with others. The Media Lab highlighted this experience to the extreme. All around us were open labs. While the focus was technology the projects were on medical sciences, music, and we finished in Lifelong Kindergarten where, surrounded by legos, we learned about Scratch, Scratch Jr., and (my favorite) MakeyMakey:
The Education Arcade, with its focus on learning using games, was the highlight of my day!
I wish I could put down on paper all that I learned, but I’m just starting to process it all. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the conference brings!