Magiera takes #METC17 keynote on a Courageous Edventure

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IMG_3894As 600 attendees at the METC keynote sat in rows listening to keynote speaker Jennie Magiera, she talked about how Horace Mann brought that seating arrangement over to America from Prussia. But things should, and need to change, in the classroom because she said 65 percent of today’s students will be employed in jobs don’t exist yet.

“Things are kinda sci-fi and it’s hard for us to imagine and envision jobs that students will have, but think about jobs of today that didn’t exist when we were students,” Magiera said. “Social media manager? You are going to get paid all day to tweet if you are good at it. The top YouTube content creators gets paid millions of dollars a year, so if teaching doesn’t work out for you, try viral videos.”

Teachers can prepare for the change by being the change.

“Change means that you have to take a risk,” Magiera said. “You have to shift your mindset and the ways you get kids interested in the classroom. Risks are scary things, change is scary. But we have to do it for the good of the students.”

That’s why she started taking Courageous Edventures with her students.

IMG_5141“I changed the ‘A’ to the ‘E’ and made it Edventures,” she said. “It’s punny, it’s catchy, so yea.”

She found that teachers avoid to take risks because they are afraid of failure.

“I didn’t want my students to fail,” Magiera said. “I wanted them to be successful and I wanted them to have the job they wanted and I wanted to give them everything I could to not let them fail.”

Magiera said wanting kids to not fail is something that all teachers have in common.

“We are always looking over their shoulder because we want them to be successful,” she said. “What teacher goes out looking for ways for their students to fail? Well, me.”

She showed a video of a kid who tried blowing out a candle of his birthday cake. As he was spitting and failing at extinguishing the flame, and his dad kept scooting the cake closer and tried guiding his son’s lips to try and help. After that failed too, the dad gets up to grab a straw and puts it into his kid’s mouth. He then helps guide it in order to blow the candle out.

“How many of you would have blown the candle out for Marty?” she asked. “I have blown out many kids’ birthday candles which is weird because I don’t have kids, so I’m blowing out birthday candles of kids from friends and family.”

IMG_3907Fail for her stands for First Attempt In Learning.

“When my students eventually get it, their understanding of the concept is so much more powerful,” Magiera said. “They didn’t just mimic what I did, they now have a great understanding of the process.”

That for her is where the Edventure starts.

“Your career isn’t what you do because of the paycheck, you do it because it’s what you are, it’s your passion,” she said. “But when we try to get teachers to change what they do every day, it’s a scary thing. We are asking them to go from no way, to hmm, to hooray!”

Her five tips guide teachers to have fun in the classroom.

  1. Tip 1 Channel your inner student
  2. Tip 2 Make sure your curriculum is future ready
  3. Tip 3 Don’t Teach Topics, Teach Children
  4. Tip 4 Try something that scares you.
  5. Tip 5 Don’t wait to take a risk

She provided an example of something that covered the five tips she discussed by describing something that terrified her.

“For me, it was virtual reality,” she said. “I had just heard of Google Cardboard and I got a message from Google to call them and when I did, they asked if I wanted to be the first school to pilot Google Expeditions.”

It was a big risk, but kids have fun with technology, and she didn’t wait to get started.

“They experienced everything around the world, and they got excited about learning and they asked questions,” Magiera said. “Students said ‘I can’t wait to tell my parents where I went today.’ Not what I saw and not what my teacher told me, but where I went.”

She said a lesson about Mount Everest allowed students an opportunity to learn.

“The questions they asked led to follow-up questions about the people that live there and saying that they felt like they couldn’t breathe. They asked how cold it was and if the boots they were wearing would be warm enough to wear there leading to students doing a lesson about insolation. A 5-minute journey led to hours of classroom discussions.”

She ended her keynote with a challenge to teachers.

“What risks will you take for your students?” she asked. “Take out your phone, open your email app and compose a new email and make yourself the recipient. In that email, I would like for you to challenge yourself to do something nuts and if you can’t think of what to do write, just type: ‘Dear me, Do something nuts, Sincerely, you.'”

Photos by Hailey Shelton, Brooke Guiot, and Henry Behlmann

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