Sitting just across the street from each other in downtown Washington, D.C., is the America Association of Colleges of Teacher Education building and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This year’s National Technology Leadership Summit took advantage of this spacial proximity with a special program for the fifteen attending national education association presidents on Wednesday evening at the museum.
NMWA education director Deborah Gaston and I showed artists’ books from the library collection, and I gave a brief hands-on paper engineering session for the presidents, who seemed happy to relax and play after a day of travel. From there we proceeded to a delicious dinner at Ceiba Restaurant which specializes in Latin American cuisine.
The next day the summit began in earnest with the presidents joined by editors from educational technology journals, directors of non-profit foundations, and technology industry representatives. There were 3D printers and digital die-cutters scattered around the conference room, and in the afternoon we broke into teams and took a stab at designing a tiny motor from a given box of batteries, wire, magnets, and miscellaneous parts. Although we discovered that none of those on my team completely understood how a motor worked, the resulting discussion about the distinctions between teaching science and engineering, and how to ensure that classroom projects really did serve to teach STEAM principles was enlightening.
I’m looking forward to ongoing discussions resulting from this year’s summit, and to more exciting ideas for the summit next year. (By that time, the government should be up and running again).