NECC, Day 4, Keynote Panel


My notes from this morning’s keynote: 

Intro by Don Knezek, who briefly talked about globalization of education, and that many countries are preparing teachers to work anywhere in the world (importance of languages). In addition, today’s world necessitates the skills to be creative and innovate, on top of technology skills. Our education context and learning landscape have changed. The demands of our students are different.


  • Learn what you can about education around the world.
  • Competence and tech literacy are not sufficient.
  • Learn to operate in a global and multicultural environment
  • Provide leadership and services in this area.

Panel, moderated by Andrew Zolli, about the emerging creative classroom, and how education can foster innovation and creativity.

Mary Cullinane, technology architect, school of the future in Philadelphia. Works for Microsoft to help design this school

  • Learning first, technology later
  • Focus on concept and power of language
  • Be comfortable not knowing

Being able to have creativity in an age of accountability.

Francesc Pedro, OECD, CERI, analyst.

How innovative are countries? Can we compare countries? Talked about indicators like computer use at home by 15 year olds as compared to use at school. The US ranks high on the first but lower on the second. Also, CERI has found that access to computers is extremely important, especially at HOME! Computer with Internet access at school is a little different. In some countries like Japan and Korea it has a negative effect. In the US it has a large positive effect.

So, what’s more important, use at home or in school? In math, use in school has a negative effect, home use has a positive effect. Why? We don’t know (yet).

Michael McCauley, creative director for ProActive, works in f2f marketing of concepts and ideas. His metaphor is to seek out “your cathedrals.” (higher purpose, faith, inspire others).

Elizabeth Streb, choreographer. Interest in movement from a very young age. She invents contraptions (physics and dance):

  • draw out moves
  • embrace failures
  • break the rules
  • set impossible goals

Discovery as a process


Nature of place, new dimensions of place:

Mary C.: failure should be an option. It should be safe to fail (v. accountability today). Second, the concept of ad hoc gathering places (v. keeping them apart or putting them in rows). Students are in school to be with one another.

Elizabeth S.: questioning the difference between public and private. She chose a large garage because of stuff having been invented in environments like that. Also having many people practice together (instead of the idea that artists practice in private).

Michael M.: garage is a great metaphor for the creative process (v. board room, conference room). Importance of mixing things up when creating teams. Every day is difference, you just go.

Francesc P.: educational innovation can be the result of the action of four different things:

  • include doers and users (teachers and learners) in the process of creating innovation
  • ability to network.
  • modularity: ability to work on a modular basis. Being able to build part of a system autonomously.
  • technology: we miss the connection between educational technology, science, and research.

They are all talking about risk and empowerment:

Mary C.: could you imagine if innovation was swimming downstream in schools instead of upstream? So we’ve been trying to lessen the bureacracy but still make it possible for other districts to duplicate what’s being done in Philly (e.g. Microsoft gave no money, just human capital).

Michael, M.: corporate is thirsting for IDEAS. 

Francesc P.: Research on our understanding of the brain.

  • E.g. you should start learning a foreign language as soon as possible.
  • separating boys and girls based on differences in how brains operate. There is no research to support doing this.

Mary C.: working for Microsoft, what is the environment like? It’s a place where individuals are self-critical, asking themselves how they can get better constantly. What if we had this in our schools? We’d have time to think. Thinking and doing are considered the same thing there.

Is there a resource that you’d like everyone to know about?

Michael M.: Dan Pink’s A whole new mind, and Dream society.

Francesc P.: OECD report that’s coming out next week (on the OECD site).

Elizabeth S.: Come to Slam! Go to a bookstore, read all the titles in a section you’re interested in.

Mary C.: remember the word “motive”. What motivates our kids, what ate their obstacles, trends, interests, environment.

Andrew Zolli:

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One response to “NECC, Day 4, Keynote Panel

  1. Pingback: Change Agency - Advocating a better education system for the 21st Century. » Snippets from NECC 2007 Tuesday June 26

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