The term “influencer” is often applied to brands and social media mavens, but it’s also a word that pertains to visionary edtech leaders. “Ed Influencers,” the new podcast from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), digs into the motivations and aspirations of today’s most prominent education innovators. In each episode, ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South sits down with an edtech leader who’s helping to transform teaching and learning. From impacting education practice to influencing nonprofits, education policy and the edtech industry, South finds out what makes these influencers tick, and what’s next for them.
Kumar Garg of Schmidt Futures discusses strengthening STEM career pathways, learning engineering and educator researchers.
Kumar Garg, managing director and head of partnerships at Schmidt Futures and the former leader of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, discusses a host of initiatives designed to strengthen STEM career pathways. He also breaks down some big ideas in education like learning engineering and educator researchers, and explains why these concepts are more important than ever before. In the course of the discussion, Garg also touches on OER policy, learning R&D and how we might improve education research.
Christina Gardner-McCune, Ph.D., unpacks the vision for AI learning in K-12 classrooms
Christina Gardner-McCune, Ph.D., director of the University of Florida's Engaging Learning Lab and co-chair of the AI4K12 Initiative, a national initiative to strategically integrate artificial intelligence (AI) education into K-12 learning, shares why sparking students’ and educators’ interest in AI is important and relevant, and what steps we should be taking right now. In the course of the interview, Gardner-McCune discusses the guidelines for teaching AI in K-12, explains the connection to computer science and coding, and unpacks the idea of AI as a life skill for even the youngest learners. She also shares the “five big ideas” behind the progression of AI in education: computer perception; representation and reasoning; machine learning; natural interaction; and societal impacts.
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., Shares How the Learning Sciences Can Help Us Support Students Post-Pandemic and Into Their Futures
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D., a psychology and neuroscience professor at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education, studies the psychological and neurobiological bases of social emotion, self-awareness and culture, and their implications for learning and schools. In this episode, she takes a deep dive into how we can build upon our knowledge about how the brain learns to best support students post-pandemic and beyond. Along the way, she discusses her recent research into how the experiences of immigrant students impact their brain and psychosocial development; how the brain develops when students are allowed to drive their own learning; and how what we learned during the COVID-19 pandemic should influence the way school is structured.
Temple Lovelace, Ph.D., Explains the Impact of COVID-19 On Special Needs Students of Color
Temple Lovelace, Ph.D., professor of special education and program director of special education Programs at Duquesne University, explains the impact of COVID-19 on special needs students of color with disabilities, and describes the work needed to provide these learners with the education and support they need. An expert on social justice and education equity who’s preparing the next generation of educators, Lovelace defines emancipatory R&D, shares the inequities that emerged for students of color during the pandemic, unpacks some of the systematic oppression that was lessened for these students when they were able to learn from home, and discusses how we might rethink education for these learners moving forward. Listen to find out how Lovelace’s work is keeping equity at the forefront of education.
Carissa Moffat Miller, Ph.D., CEO of CCSSO, Discusses Top 3 Challenges for State Leaders During, Beyond the Pandemic
Carrisa Moffat Miller, Ph.D., CEO of the Council of Chief State School Officers, shares her organization's key learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, the remaining challenges ahead for state education leaders and the different ways exemplary leaders are innovating to overcome these challenges, with equity always at the forefront. Along the way, Miller shares insights into what she identifies as education’s top three post-pandemic concerns: school reopenings, learning gaps, and mental health guidance and support. She also unpacks how top leaders are building a new normal in education, and explains how the lessons learned from the pandemic may change how learning takes place moving forward. Finally, she shares her best advice for education leaders: Don’t be afraid to act even when there’s not a clear “right” answer, and get comfortable with admitting when you don’t know something.
Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee shares how education policymakers can strategically develop plans for a post-COVID era
So far in this season of EdInfluencers, we’ve focused on how schools have responded to closures and online learning. But how should we be thinking about the return to classrooms? What must be different in the future to ensure equitable learning for all students?
Mike Magee is the CEO of Chiefs for Change, a national nonprofit organization that provides guidance on policy and practice to a network of state and local leaders. His organization’s newest report, “The Return: How Should Education Leaders Prepare for Reentry and Beyond,” published in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, offers research-based recommendations in four areas that will impact student achievement and well-being. These are not recommendations that are specifically focused on keeping us physically safe. Rather, they are focused on how we might change the system to be more resilient and equitable and to better serve our students' needs. Some of them may surprise you.
Keep em coming!
These are great candid conversations with inspiring education leaders. I hope the series continues!