Change Agents Who Upended the Status Quo to Inspire Attendees at ISTE 2017

ISTE 2017: Three keynotes will share how looking at things in a new way opens doors for learning and understanding.
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ISTE 2017: Three keynotes will share how looking at things in a new way opens doors for learning and understanding.

Three change agents who upended the status quo in their own unique ways will be the keynote speakers at the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE®) Conference & Expo in San Antonio, Texas, June 25-28.

Focused on connected learning in a connected world, ISTE advances the most important and influential trends in edtech, and ISTE 2017 continues this tradition by offering more than 1,000 sessions and learning opportunities in a variety of formats to accommodate many different learning styles.

“This year’s diverse keynote speakers each took unconventional paths in their careers, and their brave risk-taking allowed them to blaze new trails for their industries,” said ISTE Interim CEO Cheryl Scott Williams. “Their willingness to risk failure in order to drive transformation will resonate with the ISTE 2017 audience.”

Through their presentations and personal stories, the keynote speakers will highlight how looking at things in a new way, even if met with skepticism initially, can eventually open new doors of opportunity for learning and understanding.

The speakers are: 

Jad Abumrad, host and creator of public radio’s “Radiolab.” Abumrad employs his dual backgrounds as a composer and journalist to create what’s been called “a new aesthetic” in broadcast journalism. He orchestrates dialogue, music, interviews and sound effects into compelling documentaries that draw listeners into investigations of otherwise intimidating topics, including the nature of numbers, the evolution of altruism or the legal foundation for the war on terror.

“Radiolab’s” origin dates back to 2002 when Abumrad began tinkering with an idea for a new program that would be an open-ended radio laboratory. “Radiolab” emerged as the product of that tinkering and has evolved into one of public radio’s most popular programs, broadcast on 524 stations across the U.S. and downloaded more than 9 million times a month as a podcast.

“I’m really excited and honored to be at the ISTE conference this year and to be surrounded by people who spend their days, like I do, trying to bridge gaps and communicate,” Abumrad said. 

Abumrad will be the opening keynote speaker Sunday, June 25, from 5:45-7 p.m.

Jennie Magiera, chief innovation officer at Des Plaines Public Schools in Chicago and the author of Courageous Edventures. Previously the digital learning coordinator for the Academy for Urban School Leadership and a teacher in Chicago Public Schools, Magiera believes that despite the many challenges facing schools today, every classroom can be a place for what she calls “edventures.”

Magiera is also devoted to reimagining professional development to ensure teachers receive relevant training and support. She has served on the Technical Working Group for the U.S. Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan and co-founded various new conference concepts, including PLAYDATE, a collaborative online space where educators tinker with edtech tools, programs and apps.

Magiera shares her experiences with taking risks in the classroom and provides hints to help others feel comfortable doing the same in her book, Courageous Edventures

Magiera will speak Tuesday, June 27, from 8:30-9:45 a.m.

Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its summer immersion programs and clubs, Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. 

Started in 2012, the organization has grown to reach 40,000 girls in every state, and 90 percent of alumnae have declared or intend to declare a major or minor in computer science.

Saujani’s TED talk, “Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection,” has more than 3 million views and has sparked a national conversation about how we’re raising our girls. She is also the author of the groundbreaking new book, Women Who Don’t Wait In Line. Saujani is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Yale Law School.

Saujani will be the closing keynote speaker on Wednesday, June 28, from 2:45-4 p.m.

The ISTE Conference & Expo is recognized globally as the most comprehensive edtech conference in the world. For more than three decades, educators and education leaders have gathered at the ISTE conference to engage in hands-on learning, exchange ideas and network with like-minded thinkers seeking to transform learning and teaching. The annual event attracts more than 21,000 educators and industry representatives.

Learn more about ISTE 2017 at Register by May 1 for best pricing. Stay connected – follow @ISTEConnects on Facebook and Twitter, and join the conversation with #ISTE17.

About ISTE

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier membership organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world.

Innovative offerings include the widely adopted ISTE Standards for learning, teaching and leading in the digital age – as well as the ISTE Conference & Expo– the world’s most comprehensive edtech event. The organization’s robust suite of professional learning resources feature online courses, consulting services for schools and districts, books, and peer-reviewed journals and publications. For more information, visit Subscribe to ISTE’s YouTube channel and connect with ISTE via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

For more information:

Stacey Finkel





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