Last week, Parul and Kattie, the newest member of our team, went down to Gillette Stadium, in Foxboro, MA, to participate in a MassCUE conference. They were joined by 1,500 teachers, administrators, superintendents and other educational heavyweights of the area.
To take us through the MassCUE experience, I sat down with our newest Gradeable great, Kattie. She joins us from Las Vegas where she taught at a Title One school. She became a member of the Gradeable team because she wanted to disrupt the bureaucratic education system through education technology. Her goal is to make sure that teachers will have pathways to help students achieve a successful future. Kattie is leading the charge on the teacher experience.
Not only was it great to have a conference driven by educational technology, but it was attended largely by a diverse group of people. To Kattie this proved that Massachusetts has a mindset of adapting the state to technology. It’s a great indication of the commonwealth’s dedication to moving forward through innovation.
The two keynote speakers were Dr. Tony Wagner, a Harvard guy, and Chris Lehmann, the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy, who helped orient people around tech and the state of education. Wagner spoke about how we can create better students instead of teaching to test. He encouraged the crowd to create a group of creative thinkers.
— Kattie Lam (@kattielam) October 23, 2013
Lehmann talked more about teachers. He stressed that if you put a good teacher in a bad system, the system wins every time. Another point he had was that kids needing to have skin the game for technology and blended learning to work. With the blended learning model, in which students essential study at home to do exercises in class, kids are more responsible for lessons. What happens in class each day depends on students too, no longer just the teachers’. (post on 1:1 classrooms, blended learning coming next week!)
— Kattie Lam (@kattielam) October 24, 2013
One recurring theme that Kattie came across that most teachers harbored an “us vs. them” mentality when it came to dealing with administration and standards to adhere to. Not only do educators have to serve as a student’s teacher, counselor, mom (or dad), and caretaker, but they also have to please administration and parents. Teachers feel that their classroom has a unique set of problems, depending on the demographics, resources, or school system they are in. While she believes that educators must either adapt to technology or get left behind, Kattie empathizes with everything teachers are responsible for.
“The fact that teachers took time out of their schedules to come to this conference with an open minds deserves a kudos,” Kattie says. “It’s good because they didn’t build a wall.”
There is a great quote out there about keeping an open mind that goes like this: “Where there is an open mind, there will always be a new frontier.” — Dorthea Brande (thanks, Google). With technology meeting education, things can get frustrating to say the least, but try to remember that there are people out there on your side. There are people out there, just like us at Gradeable, who have dedicated themselves to making the teaching experience better for teachers.
Did I get a little sentimental there? Can you tell I’m all smiles while writing this? It’s because RED SOX ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS. Sending my positive energy from Boston. Have a great day, everyone and Happy Halloween from Gradeable!