Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Learning Together at #MACUL16: True Collaboration

It didn't take long at the MACUL 2016 conference for our next guest blogger, Katelin Lopez - Central Middle School World Languages, to find her inspirations.  She found her big take-away in the opening keynote by Jaime Casap.  Here is her thought provoking reflection...

Katelin Lopez - April 13, 2016 
My biggest take-away from the MACUL '16 conference was not from a workshop, although they were great too, was actually from one of the keynote speakers, Jaime Casap. 
Jaime Casap is part of the Google for Education Team and works with organizations, helping them find ways to improve the quality of education by using and enabling technology capabilities.
As Jaime spoke, I kept thinking, "WOW. This guy thinks outside the box. He is so right!" And “I wish my brain worked like his.”
Everything he said made total sense to me, but I never would have come to those conclusions on my own.
This sheer epiphany in and of itself is exactly what Jaime spoke to. I never would have thought about collaboration in this way, without Jaime talking to us about it. His points were simple and well taken; students must be given opportunities to discuss, explore, and most of all- problem solve together, because we are greater together than individually. Just like me being at MACUL to explore, discuss, and problem solve with other educators.
 Jaime talked about collaboration. True collaboration. A collaborative environment where students work together to solve problems, similar to the way they will in the real world. 
Upon returning home from MACUL, I was so moved by what he had to say at the conference I wanted to hear more of his thoughts. I hopped on Youtube to see if I could find videos of Jaime Casap. I was not disappointed.
Jaime is a big component of not asking students what they "want to be when they grow up," but instead asking them "what problem they want to solve," because their world is much different than the one we, their teachers, grew up in. They don't necessarily have to go to college to help solve real world problems. They can use information available to them at their fingertips to solve many global issues. 
Jaime drove his point home with an example that struck me. A 15 year old student created a flashlight that runs off a person's body heat. She "initially thought of the idea after learning that a friend in the Philippines, who didn't have electricity, was failing in school because she didn't have enough time to study during daylight hours." This was the problem she wanted to solve. Read her amazing story here
Moving forward, I know I need to think out of the box to prepare my students for the world they will work and live in. The need is so great for them to be problem solvers!
Listen to Jaime Casap for yourself:
MACUL '16 Keynote by Jaime Casap
Education is a Silver Bullet - Ted Talk
Extra Yard for Teachers
Works Cited:
Nguyen, Tuan C. "This Flashlight Is Powered by the Touch of Your Hand." Smithsonian. 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

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