April 11, 2013
“Passion – the Difference Maker” – from Jen Carey
Jen Carey is LIVE blogging for us from the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit USA. You can also find these posts on her site - indianajen.com.
“Follow my lead. Let’s go somewhere that matters – not just somewhere that glitters.” - Angela Maiers
Please note: the slides and audio for Angela’s talks are available on her website. Angela Maiers is an experienced and passionate educator. She is a celebrated author and keynote speaker. She just kicked off the iPad Summit with her keynote address. Angela’s excitement is palpable in the large conference room. In spite of some technical difficulties (a staple at all talks on technology), she pushes through and begins chatting about the role of passion within education. You can see Angela speak about passion at the TEDxDesMoines event, recorded here.“Passion is not an event, it’s an emotion,” Angela states. She argues that we often view passion as a luxury. Rather, we should recognize that we all have passion inherently – as educators that work at our craft, travel for learning, and recognize in our students. “Nothing great in the world can be or has ever been accomplished without passion.” A single person that hides their passion, drive, and discipline actually harms the community. We need passion to drive us forward as a society. We need to protect our own passion as well as cultivate the passion of our students. Looking at the American educational system, the rules are written by people who don’t “get it.” Educators and those that work directly with children do. That’s why we’re here today. Angela tells the story of attending a summit of three hours addressing the need to create innovative students. Out of 8,677 Tweets, not a single mention was made of cultivating passion. Instead, the focus was on accountability, standards, and rigorous assessment. Three concepts that make teachers around the world cringe. Creativity and innovation… risk taking - these were all neglected. Without passion, education cannot be an innovative industry. Compare this mentality with a collection of individuals at SXSW. While the event is famous for its music and film festivals, the core element of South by Southwest is that it’s a collection of tech innovators. A core element of this festival is a focus on innovative and emerging technologies. She pointed out that in this element alone, the word “passion” was mentioned thousands of times. Angela highlights that passion is necessary in education, and that, interestingly, iPad has fostered and encouraged an element of passion within the world of education. In other words, “Passion Matters”! The conversations about education often focus on data. This is in part where some of the disconnect happens. We want our students to be ready to be global citizens, and yet data-driven education does not fuel passion or innovative success. Passion is not quantitative it’s emotional. We need to make these conversations part of the culture. For many students, school is a “soul sucker.” It penalizes risk taking and discourages passion. We have a passion gap in this country, not a technology or achievement gap. Students need to be driven to do work that matters. If you can secure the heart, then you can get everything that the mind is capable of achieving. As Angela reinforces, schools today kill students’ passion as we remove the focus from passion and work that matters to instead look at testing and data-driven assessment.