Event Recap: Apps That Close The Gap Summit
“What problem do you want to solve?” asks Google's education evangelist, Jaime (pronounced Hi-mee) Casap. This was the running theme throughout the summit as speakers from all different areas of education technology — non-profits, mobile app companies, and corporate giants — shared their stories and thoughts on education. In the 21st century, it's no longer about asking kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It's asking kids what kinds of problems they want to solve. That's what we should ask ourselves as those working in education technology today.
There were a total of 11 speakers. Many of the talks were inspiring; others, not so much. The three that made an impression on me were Joliz Cedeno, program associate at Global Kids, Rebecca Garcia, co-founder of CoderDojo NYC, and Jaime Casap of Google.
Joliz Cedeno's exuberance and passion for her work in the Global Kids was infectious. She spoke of students being creators of content on the web rather than mere consumers and even showed the audience a couple of the projects her students created, one using Second Life to make short films that brought awareness to climate change issues and another using a mobile app, Geocaching, to bring awareness regarding the hot topics during the 2012 presidential election. The projects were amazing. I wish I knew how to use some of these tools!
Rebecca Garcia looked barely old enough to be out of high school, yet the minute she spoke, you knew you were listening to someone who genuinely wanted to positively impact students' lives. The grassroots movement, CoderDojo, which started in Ireland, directly impacted Rebecca as she was once a student. Her life was so greatly changed by the program in which kids and mentors gather together on a weekly basis to learn coding that she started a CoderDojo program right here in NYC. Her aim is not only to instruct, but to inspire students.
Lastly, the keynote speaker, Jaime Casap, was a great opener for the summit. He gave a history of education technology, spoke of the dangers of creating a digital gap, and emphasized the idea that it's not just a matter of integrating technology into education, but it's how that technology is used. I think this idea is extremely relevant today as more edtech companies are created and more products pushed onto teachers.
Overall, I left the event with newfound energy and enthusiasm. It truly is an exciting time to be working in education.
Here is the list of the entire panel of speakers:
1. Jaime Casap: Global Education Evangelist, Google Inc.
2. Dr. Carolyn P. Rose: Associate Professor, Language Technologies Institute and Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
3. Joliz Cedeno: Program Associate, Global Kids
4. Serita Cox: Co-founder, iFoster
5. Rebecca Garcia: Co-founder, CoderDojo NYC
6. Desiree Bayonet: Curriculum Developer, iCivics
7. Andrew Gardner: Senior Manager, BrainPOP Educators
8. Ryan Shaun Joazeiro de Baker: Julius and Rosa Sachs Distinguished Lecturer at Teachers College
9. Jessie Woolley-Wilson: Chair, President, CEO, DreamBox Learning
10. Daniel Fountenberry: Founder, Bourne Digital
11. Larry Nelson: Worldwide Managing Director, Education Partners, Microsoft