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Speeches matching topic Education
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Barbara Pierce Bush (Exclusively WSB)

United in their humanitarian missions and the spirit of service—as well as through their close family bond—Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Hager have found a shared purpose in giving voice to the disadvantaged while bringing to light stories of hope. Coming from a unique vantage point as the only twins to grow up in the White House as both grandchildren and children, Barbara and Jenna were inspired to live lives of meaning from an early age. Stemming from their travels to impoverished areas in Africa and Latin America, they have now made it their life’s calling to address the most pressing health, education and economic inequality issues of our time. Whether through Barbara’s creation of Global Health Corps or Jenna’s position as a Today correspondent and UNICEF chair, both women help spread the message that ideas put to action are the best kind. With their special brand of infectious warmth and kind humor—evidenced in their delightful back and forth banter during their presentations—this dynamic pair will ignite an audience’s passion to serve and inspire future young leaders to give back in their schools, local communities or abroad.

A central challenge of any educational system is to bring out the best in all its students. This means providing a robust learning experience for both introverted and extroverted children. Yet too often with introverts—who comprise nearly a half of every classroom—we simply ask them to act like extroverts. This is a serious waste of quiet children's considerable and under-noticed talents, not to mention their energy and happiness. In an enlightening and practical talk, Susan Cain shows us that introverted children possess gifts that enhance the culture of any classroom, and are crucial to the survival of our society. Drawing on her original research, compiled over years, Cain answers a plethora of questions, including how and when to use group work, grade on class participation and use social media in the classroom. Passionate yet coolly reasoned, Cain will radically change your view of the best way to cultivate the talents of quiet children, develop their leadership skills and create a classroom culture designed for introverts and extroverts alike. This is an urgent and necessary talk for anybody concerned with the state of education today.

Dr. Milton Chen, senior fellow and executive director, emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), will discuss how school systems are reinventing themselves, focusing on their growing edges of innovation in districts, states, and nations. These Edges are redefining the nature of “school” as it was known in the 20th Century and include:

  1. the Thinking Edge
  2. the Curriculum Edge
  3. the Technology Edge
  4. the Time/Place Edge
  5. the Co-Teaching Edge
  6. the Youth Edge.

The Six Edges form the framework of his book, Education Nation, selected as one of the 10 best books of 2010 by the American School Board Journal.

The Edges address fundamental shifts to our thinking about schooling; ways in which technology is transforming when, where, and how students learn; and roles of teachers and students with teachers forming teaching teams with other experts and students taking on more responsibility for their own learning. Dr. Chen will show examples of these innovative practices from Edutopia.org, the Lucas Foundation’s multimedia Web site and its archive of documentaries, available for free download and embedding.

To educate all learners to higher levels, education must shift away from a narrow conception of curricula focused on language arts and mathematics. Experiences with the arts and in nature enable schools and other learning centers to expand engagement and success for students, building on their strengths and "multiple intelligences." Instead of an "achievement gap," we should address the "experience gap" and provide students with authentic, place-based learning in, for instance, school gardens and National Parks. These experiences enable them to learn not only about STEM, histories, and cultures in powerful ways, but also about themselves, their abilities, and their aspirations.

Powerful digital devices are now affordable "weapons of mass instruction" for all learners. Providing them to every student, as well as teachers who know how to harness their power for learning, has become the civil rights–indeed, the human rights–issue of our time, since education is the key to violence reduction, health care, employment, and community-building. The next generation of digital tools will include wearable devices that enable students to track and improve their own behaviors. Dr. Milton Chen will present examples of projects that enable students to learn more, faster than in previous generations, enabled by hardware, software, rich Internet resources, and networks of mentors. He will show examples of these innovative practices from Edutopia.org, the Lucas Foundation’s multimedia Web site and its archive of documentaries, available for free download and embedding.

Dr. Milton Chen, senior fellow and executive director emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), will present the rationale and examples for inquiry and project-based learning (PBL) in STEM. At a time when the U. S. is emphasizing STEM for college- and career-readiness, PBL now needs to become the curricular centerpiece for a national movement. GLEF's Edutopia.org website has documented many exemplary STEM projects during the past decade, using documentary film and supporting articles and interviews, from elementary grade students using GPS devices on farms to monitor endangered species to high school students designing schools of the future with architectural software.

PBL and STEM represent an important "edge of innovation" in our schools, as described in Chen's award-winning book, Education Nation. PBL curricula connect to other "edges of innovation," such as the role of technology is transforming when, where, and how students learn. New roles for teachers and students are being defined, as teachers form teaching teams with other experts and students take on more responsibility for their own learning. Dr. Chen will show examples of these practices from Edutopia.org. Its archive of documentaries is available for free download from iTunes U.

The visual and performing arts can support learning across the curriculum and enable students to use all of their "multiple intelligences" to succeed in school and life. Dr. Chen will present examples from the Edutopia.org archive of how the performing arts can improve reading and writing and how understanding of film "grammar" can support learning in literature and history. Rather than being regarded as a separate elective subject, the visual arts should be considered as a valid form of communication
alongside the verbal language arts. The digital arts now enable students to express their knowledge through imagery, music, sound, and graphics.

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