Imagination Summit

A few of us from Fuller headed down to Biola last Friday to the Imagination Summit.  I had low expectations for this conference.  I’ve been to many other conferences that are supposed to be about educational innovation that turned out to be, well, less than innovative.

The Imagination Summit had a good lineup of speakers who said many exciting things.  Highlights for me were found in:

  • Dan Cathy – He spoke about innovative leadership and honoring God from the head position of a company.  While not directly about education, Dan’s perspective encourages those of us in education to continue to pursue the future.  Not trust in what worked for us in the past.  Above most of what he said, I like this: “When the rate of external change exceeds the rate of internal change, disaster is imminent.”  My translation: educators need to do things differently.  Not the same thing in different ways.
  • Maureen Girkins – She was tapped to talk about the future of textbooks from a publisher’s perspective.  I liked how she answered the big question on everyone’s mind in the first 15 seconds: “Will physical textbooks survive? No.”  That was it and she wasn’t apologetic for it.  Nice!
  • Jason Illian – I wasn’t familiar with Jason or reThinkBooks.com but I liked what he said.  I would boil down what I heard him say to this: the use of paper books won’t sufficiently meet the need for the ways in which people use the information in books in the future.  But the future begins now.

There were a couple other interesting speakers but in terms of imagination, well, there wasn’t much there.

But, there was one person who stood out above everyone.  Way out and way above. That is Paul Kim of Stanford, School of Education.  Paul said so many things that I wouldn’t try to recap them all here.  The work he is doing in third world countries is simple and amazing.  His perspective on education in the future is dead-on, and it encourages me that we are moving in the right direction with online learning at Fuller.  Here are a few highlights from his time:

  • “Technology can open the door to better education, not only delivering lecture farther.”
  • When you create education to be delivered in new/different cultures, spend resources to contextualize it.”
  • “The time it takes me to work with kids compared with faculty? No comparison. Kids learn tech so much faster.”
  • “Educators need to evolve.  The biggest obstacle to progressive technology education is our mindset. Educators don’t want to change.”

Thanks, Biola, for hosting a great event!  Look forward to it next year.

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