Reporting in from the field here at ISTE 2016! Because the conference is close by in Denver this year, our district sent over 200 employees to learn about tech. With over 18,000 participants in attendance, I seldom saw someone I knew! It has been mind blowing to say the least.
Ruja Benjamin was the keynote speaker this morning. I love a speaker who can captivate with both their words and the passion of their voice. Listening to her speak was like reading a classic book aloud – so exacting with her words and so eloquent in her delivery. She spoke of cultural codes and how we learn certain behaviors as children and how difficult it is to change those. For example, the code talking of girls who learn to apologize and to acquiesce in the presence of boys. Or the code in our computers that when googling ‘three black boys’ will bring up the image of mug shots while ‘three white boys’ will bring up a Gap advertisement. Inequality has been engineered into our world but what if we could engineer it out? How different would our world be if we could teach compassion the way we teach reading and writing? “Teachers, if universally recognized and empowered can change history.” We are in the unique position to be able to change the code – change the trajectory, by ensuring that our students embrace and embody compassion.
With all of the focus on technology, there is so much about dreaming up the unimaginable possibilities of the future – human hearts cloned from a stem cell, interactive wallpaper and driverless cars. What if we dream up the unimaginable possibility of peace, and acceptance and tolerance?