Day 16: Inspiring Keynotes of the Past

Day 16: Inspiring Keynotes of the Past

June 16, 2021 Off By JR

Thanks to the ALTC for limiting this to being just keynotes, because if I had to choose from any presentation I’ve ever seen my brain would probably melt and pour from my ears from overheating. Keynotes alone is challenging enough. There are plenty of conference keynotes that fade from memory almost as soon as they’ve wrapped up. There are plenty where there was a nugget or two that have stayed with me, and I’m sure they’re from keynotes, but can’t quite remember when or where from. There are some where I’ve seen and read the work of the presenter enough that it’s not the keynote itself per se that’s inspiring, but the person themselves, and their work pretty much all bleeds together in my mind. Thankfully this prompt isn’t for what I would say is the most inspiring keynote I’ve ever seen, I think that would be an impossible task.

Inspiring Keynote Speaker

One person that always comes to mind is Audrey Watters. Her insightful analyses of edtech through her writing and speaking is both challenging and inspiring to those of us who work in this field. I first encountered her work through Twitter (I think) and subscribed to Hack Education pretty soon after (this was during my time in graduate school). Ask me to pick a single keynote and I can’t. Honestly, many of the keynotes I’m aware of that Audrey has done is because she is gracious enough to write them out and share them with her readers. I don’t know that I’ve actually ever been so fortunate to see one of her keynotes in person, and have seen just a few online. I encourage you to read some of the keynotes (in the first link) and I’ll borrow from David Hopkins top pick which was Audrey’s keynote for ALTC (I think it’s fitting considering the group organizing this challenge series).

I want to also take a moment to say, if you haven’t read Audrey’s work before that she has an upcoming book that will be a must have for anyone working in ID or EdTech Teaching Machines:

Teaching Machines will be released on August 3. It is available for pre-order from anywhere books are sold, including directly from the MIT Press website. If possible, support your local bookseller.

– Audrey Watters

I’ve been so excited for the publication of this book and preordered it as soon as the announcement was made.

Interesting Audience Participation

In a former role I worked as an educational developer. That role had some overlap with my background in ID, but was much more teaching focused, especially face-to-face and blended formats (well one specific kind of blended format). My supervisor at the time and I went to Washington DC for the Teaching Professor conference, organized by the folks at magnapubs (you might recognize the Faculty Focus publication by the same group). The year I went to that conference, Kimberly Tanner, professor, San Francisco State University gave a talk Assessing How Individuals Organize Disciplinary Knowledge—Card Sorting, Superheroes, and Moving Towards Measuring Expertise Among Undergraduates. The big things I took away from this was the ideas of concept inventories and how novices and experts cluster ideas and concepts differently. It was the activity itself that really stuck with me, where we had envelopes under every second chair, and my supervisor and I had to organize super hero cards into groups. We had to name each group according to criteria that a super hero would fall into that group.

The session wasn’t recorded, or I can’t find it, so check out a similar presentation instead:

Beyond Assessing Knowledge by Kimberly Tanner – Western Conference on Science Education 2015 from ITRC on Vimeo.

Open Education Provocateur

2018 was an interesting year in the field of Open Education. My intro to OpenEd generally was through school, and that is where I learned about David Wiley and his work. I still follow his blog, although it is focused less on Open and more on learning more generally now (my words not his). Much of it still applies to Open, of course, one of my favourite more recent posts involved blindfolded basketballish tasks and feedback – Everything Old is New Again: Textbooks, The Printing Press, The Internet, and OER. So, the keynote, was at OER18 in Bristol, and actually the first time I’d ever been to OER (also why I’m glad that this prompt was only about keynotes because this conference was bursting at the seams with awesome). This particular keynote stands out to me, because of all the tension around the “OpenEd community” there was at the time, at least the sense I had of change coming. David had been asked to be provocative, and he delivered on that superbly. The keynote made me uncomfortable, challenged me, made me laugh, and made me want to scream. I think I actually have a backlog of draft blog posts for each of the questions he poses as well. Maybe one day I’ll be able to answer.

Persisting Ideas I have trouble getting buy-in for

Back in 2013 I was introduced, well not personally yet I don’t think, to Valerie Irvine from University of Victoria. Her keynote at the Teaching and Learning with the Power of Technology conference (TLT) at the University of Saskatchewan discussed a type of course delivery method that took root in my mind, and was totally inspiring, Multi-Access Learning. Since then, I have been fortunate to meet Valerie at other events around the world, see her and her colleagues start up OTESSA (part of the congress conference), have her run workshops and present at the ETAD Summer Institute, and generally be inspired by her advocacy for access and equity in education. Although I have yet to get real, real buy-in to create multi-access courses and programs, Valerie’s work continues to inspire me and provides a guiding light to design towards.

That’s not all

Of course, there are plenty of others who inspire me in this field every single day. It’s difficult not to just say “these 30 people” and show off all their keynotes. This is the group that comes to mind today, in June of 2021. If you have keynotes I haven’t mentioned here that you found inspiring, I’d love to hear from you.