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Third grade teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Innovator, Michelle Cordy, was the closing keynote speaker at ISTE 2016 conference & expo in Denver, Colorado. As a teacher in London, Ontario, Canada and author of Hack the Classroom, Cordy is a highly respected ISTE community member on a mission to ignite young minds through new ways of learning and teaching that incorporate ed tech, and which empower students in their own education. In her closing keynote speech, she looks at the importance of being a connected educator, of expanding the education network, of engaging and empowering students, and she brings new ideas to the conversation, including the importance of mindfulness and stewardship. What happens, she asks, when just a few teachers, instead of being only connected to the teacher on your left and the teacher on your right, make just a few more connections, and find people like themselves in that network? In this network—what Cordy calls a “small world”—good ideas are passed between participants, people have access to the expertise of librarians, STEM educators, artists, and more. Connection, community, mindfulness and stewardship can lead to engagement and empowerment, to new devising solutions and a rethinking of how we think about and arrange the educational tools we’re given. By bringing students into the process, we can together transform education for future students. This innovative teacher calls ISTE a “special small world where good ideas pass. In fact, ISTE is many small worlds because within this group… all of us are connected and we share ideas in this diamond network.” Being a connected educator who shows up to the place in education where you can make your greatest contribution, and refuses to leave is a powerful thing!

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