Jan 20th, 2016 by Cathy Jo Nelson
This concurrent session at FETC Thursday, January 14 was extremely inspiring. I’ve listened to Speaker Sylvia Martinez at a number of ISTE Conferneces, at Educon, and now at FETC and she is, with or without hubby Gary Stager, a force to be reckoned with. If you don’t want to feel inspired, skip her sessions! From her bio, “Martinez started her career designing high frequency receiver systems and navigation software for GPS satellites.” It was nice to hear her share this anecdote about her first job as a GPS designer, and how she left the position to do something that she felt made a difference.
I believe she is spot on with her observation that we are living in and teaching during another American Revolution. The Industrial Revolution, more than about steam engines, was about how people changed the way they “organized.” The revolution we are experiencing now is no less the same. Consider how the tools we have available today, the ones we use on a daily basis, have changed the way we work and live. I wonder what this “revolution” will be referred to in the future? The technology revolution? The “invent to learn” revolution?
Sylvia Martinez gave us much to think about. Today’s mindset of sharing everything, creating, building, learning independently, the growth of the maker movement, and how we have grown into a “show and tell” society are shaping the future. As educators we need to encourage this mindset in our youth. Sylvia was not the only session where I heard the promotion of her book Invent to Learn, or the concept of the maker movement. It was nodded during the opening Keynote by Reshma Saujani, again in Howie Diblassi‘s session I attended later, and throughout the exhibit hall and smaller conversations in the conference venue. Sometime back I got her book, Invent to Learn as an ebook. Little did I know then it would become known as “the bible of the classroom maker movement.” I am now inspired to load it up and read it, and even implement some kind of maker space in my own teaching context, the library.
Invent to Learn Website
My cover shot/screenshot of my ebook:
I also chose to attend Howie Diblassi’s concurrent session that afternoon titled Creating MakerSpaces in Schools: Hands-On, Minds-On Activities. His session was energetic and fast paced! Visit his site (and here) where you can download all 172 slides (mind you he only had 40 minutes for this session) and at his site, you will get all content that he referenced in his pres. While I’m not sure I picked up a lot of new material or inspiration, I definitely found a wealth of material to come back and look at in my leisure. His enthusiasm was contagious as well.
Some take-aways (other than the book!)
I’d never heard of Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker-Show, but it was repeated in several sessions. Started when Sylvia was 9yo (I think), the now 13yo is an invited speaker to some of our edtech and education conferences. What!!? Quite inspiring. This is an older video, way before she was 13. Check out this cheeky kid.
Some resources I need to look into include:
I am appending to this post a special thanks to the South Carolina State Library and Halie Brazier for accepting my application for a funding source for travel and attendance at the Future of Education in Technology Conference. My funding is directly attributed to the Library Services and Technical Services Act and the U.S. Institute of Museums and Library Services. I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to attend this professional development conference for educators.