It’s a wrap.
Last Thursday, I gave my TED talk at the fantastic TEDxAmsterdamED event. This one day conference was dedicated to the theme, ‘The Education (R)evolution’, and asked the question ‘Is revolution needed for education to evolve, or is the future of education already within reach?’
My talk focused on providing primary school-aged children (4-12 years) with technology and programming education as a way to help them develop higher order (21st century) skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity.
I don’t think that words do justice to my feelings associated with giving the talk. I was so honoured to be asked to speak. The speaker training we all received was amazing and prepared us in the best possible way. (Fantastic speaker coaching sessions with Leander from Great Communicators and a particularly great session with Jostein van Vliet of House of Performance who encouraged me to think about what I wanted people to do after they heard my talk.)
But three days before, I was deep in the throws of stress and anxiety while battling the flu. At a certain point, I thought ‘Cut the fuss and keep it simple’, took a few deep breaths, and decided to just speak from the heart.
It’s a funny thing: walking on to the stage in a robot head and then having to take it off and face a live audience. Yet because I knew I was talking to people who care deeply about the state and future of education, a calmness came over me when I started to speak. I saw smiling faces and people nodding, despite the glare of the camera. I saw friends who had come to support me. I saw people clap and heard them hoot when I said that ‘Girls rock. They show the same aptitude for technology and programming education as boys.’
Best of all, I got to meet some really fantastic people who joined me as speakers: people doing great things in the field of education and going that extra mile to revolutionise education. Check out each and every one of them here.
One particularly special experience for me as a former journalist: being interviewed by the kids from Right Now, the news bureau from the Kraemerschool in Amsterdam West. Their questions were thoughtful (some were even tough). ‘Why do we even need teachers?’ ‘How do you help students develop high self-esteem and confidence?’
A big ‘thank you’ to Jessika Lynch, education event curator extraordinaire, and the entire TEDxAmsterdamED team who organised an interesting, thought-provoking event. As Drew Wackerling, the event’s host, said, the people who attended are all friendly and enthusiastic about education. The conversations were great and I made a heap of new contacts.
I’d love to follow up with the TEDxAmsterdamED audience as well as people who care about technology and programming education. Here’s some suggestions on what you can do:
Or drop me an email and suggest how we can make technology and programming education better for primary school-aged children (ages 4-12 years). I’d love to hear from you if you are a parent, teacher or someone who believes strongly in higher order skills development.
– written by Deborah Carter, NewTechKids co-founder and Business Director