Presenters

Keynote Presenter:

John Spencer

 

I believe that every classroom should be filled with creativity and wonder. I want to see teachers unleash the creative potential in all of their students so that kids can be makers, designers, artists, and engineers.

I realize that school can be busy. Materials can be scarce. The creative process can seem confusing, especially when you have a tight curriculum map. So creativity becomes a side project, an enrichment activity you get to when you have time for it. But the thing is, there’s never enough time.

We can do better.

I believe that creative thinking is as vital as math or reading or writing. There’s power in problem-solving and experimenting and taking things from questions to ideas to authentic products that you launch to the world. Something happens in students when they define themselves as makers and inventors and creators.

I believe all students deserve the opportunity to be their best creative selves, both in and out of school. I believe all kids are unique, authentic, and destined to be original.

Every day, I ask my kids, “What did you make in school today?” Too often, they can’t give me an answer. But on the days that they do, their eyes light up and they passionately describe their projects. It’s in those moments that I am reminded that making is magic.

I have a crazy belief that all people are naturally creative. Too many people have believed the lie that there are certain “creative types” who are the exception to the rule. That’s why I do what I do. I want to see teachers transform their learning spaces into bastions of creativity and wonder.

 


Spotlight Speakers:

Dean Shareski

Someone recently described me by saying, “If you want to learn from Dean, don’t follow him on twitter but read his blog instead” I thought that was a fair statement. This is the place where I’m pretty serious, or at least focused on my passion of learning and how to make better schools for our kids. Twitter? That’s a different story.

I’m the Community Manager for Discovery Education Canada since 2012. From 2002-2012, I worked as a Digital Learning Consultant with the Prairie South School Division in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada. Previous to that I taught grades K-8 for 14 years. I specialize in the use of technology in the classroom. I hold a Masters of Education in Communications and Technology through the University of Saskatchewan. I also am a sessional lecturer for the University of Regina.

Since late 2004 I’ve been immersed in understanding what the Read/Write Web is all about and how the new shape of knowledge changes how we all learn. I believe teachers and students ought to use technology to connect ideas and learners in safe, relevant, authentic ways to answer questions, share ideas and develop community. Learning can be, and should be, fun and personal. I was fortunate to be awarded the 2010 ISTE Award for Outstanding Leadership in Technology and Education. This honor is mostly a reflection of the great people I work with both within my school division and beyond. My greatest asset is that I know smart people and how to find them.

More important than any of that is my family. My wife is a educator and my children teach me every day.  Other than technology, my passions include golf, music, travel and my faith. I write out of a strong belief that school and learning must be different. My personal growth as a learner has been exponential as a result of my exploration of technology and connectivity to some of the best and brightest in education today. I’m discovering that great minds and ideas exist locally and also through personal, virtual connections.


Karen Lirenman

Karen is a lifelong learner, author, and educator. She is transforming education by connecting her students with the world using Twitter, blogs, and video conferencing. Karen has a student choice-driven hands-on approach to teaching which includes inquiry, project based, and maker mindset. At present Karen teaches a combined grade one, two, and three class at the Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning, but really she just teaches and learns with children.  Her classroom runs very little like a traditional classroom.  Karen is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Innovator, ISTE Award recipient, and 5x Ironman finisher.  In 2016 Karen published Innovate with iPad: Lessons to Transform Learning as a way to help educators see how technology can help students create their own content instead of consuming someone else’s.