What 60 Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills: Grant Lichtman


The rate of change in the world demands that we re-imagine and restructure the foundational learning relationship among students, teachers, and knowledge. In September 2012, pursuing a decades-long passion for transformational education, Grant packed up his Prius and set off on a solo, nationwide research tour to discover what schools are doing to prepare students for an evolving future.   Find out what he learned from three months on the road visiting 21 states, 64 schools, and the great ideas of 500 educators.  Presented by Grant Lichtman, Author and Educational Consultant.

Diving Into Deeper Learning: Marc Chun

The complex issues we face today require a key set of problem-solving skills.  How can schools best prepare students to be ready to take on these challenges?  How can they help ensure students have the “deeper learning” skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and metacognition, as well as have the content knowledge they need?  Presented by Marc Chun, Education Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation.

The Merits of Risk: Christopher Barnes

Some assume the merits of risk to be self-evident (no A’s without F’s). Yet, this isn’t a commonly shared value among students, parents, or even peer educators; they often don’t understand risk and rarely advocate for it, seeking only “safe” opportunities. All students must embrace risk if they want to reach their potential and be prepared for the future that awaits.  Presented by Christopher Barnes, Founder of the High Mountain Institute.

Design Thinking – Maximizing Your Students’ Creative Talent: Co Barry

Design Thinking is a powerful approach to problem solving and supports schools in moving toward a more hands-and minds-on, challenge-based curriculum.   Learn from Co ways that design thinking methodology can unleash student creativity and improve students’ ability to solve complex, real-world problems. Presented by Co Barry, Founder and CEO CreatEdu.

Rise of the “We”: Theo Wilson

Change is coming, and the shape it will take is a change in consciousness captured in the difference between “I” and “We.”  A new consciousness predicated on the ability to communicate and collaborate across cultures, between disciplines, and among countries will change the world as we know it. Presented by Theo Wilson, founding member Denver Slam Nuba.

Press Play – Gaming, Simulation and Achievement in the Classroom: Jonathon Best

Achievement and investment go hand-in-hand in today’s 21st century classroom.  By integrating design elements from modern video game frameworks and leveraging the impact of success in a technology-saturated and highly simulated world, teachers can better motivate and in turn, serve our digital citizens through their progression towards college and the professional world.  By the end of this talk, educators will walk away with concrete steps to help them integrate the modern world of video games and simulation in their daily practices.  Presented by Jonathon Best, Press Play – Teacher at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy.

Environment, Justice and Empathy – An Inspiring Example of 21st Century Education: Martha Ashley

The future needs young people that are interpersonally and culturally empathetic, able to communicate across lines.  How we teach these skills demands new thinking.  In this example, a five-day camping trip in New Mexico culminates a course of study intentionally designed to teach students empathy, communication, and critical thinking skills by studying the traditions, values, history, and culture of the Cochiti people. Presented by Martha Ashley, St. Mary’s Academy Middle School Principal.

Re•Designing the Classroom Experience: Paul Kim

“Who cares?” and “Why do I need to know this?” are not just tired student mantras to be brushed aside by frustrated teachers. They are questions about significance that lay at the heart of education.  Design thinking is a tool that allows both students and teachers to discover more significance and creativity in the curricular experiences that bring them together in the classroom.  By redesigning the classroom experience, we can invigorate the learning process for students and teachers who want to reform education. Presented by Paul Kim, Colorado Academy Teacher.

The Milestones Project – The Bonds that Unite Us: Richard Steckel

American journalist Linda Ellerbee reminds us that, “People are pretty much alike.  It’s only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities.”  Richard Steckel will explore the similarities among people and cultures demonstrating in the process our profound affinities and why they are so important to our collective future. Presented by Richard Steckel, Co-Founder of Milestones Project.

What Happens when Hip Hop Culture, Young People, and Poetry Meet: Ken Arkind

What happens when one of the world’s oldest and most revered form of communication meets hip-hop culture?  Magic.  Explore how this modern version of poetry influences learning and helps students both think and communicate in new and powerful ways.  Presented by Ken Arkind, Executive Director Denver Minor Disturbance.  Ken is joined onstage by Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam Champion, Amal Kassir.

The Try – Two Words that Can Change Your Life: James Owen

These are tough times in which to launch a career or find a job, and what about all the young people who aren’t equipped for success?  Intelligence, skills, and connections do matter, but, as any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you, the most critical ingredients in success have more to do with qualities of character, like grit, guts, and heart.  The good news is the real-life evidence that these pivotal success factors can be taught. Presented by James Owen, Author, Film Producer, and Social Innovator.

Cowboy Ethics in the Classroom – The Great Experiment: Ann Moore

How do you teach kids to embrace strong values, work hard, and believe in themselves? Students will tell you that traditional character education usually fails to engage them. But trying to instruct kids in character and values is a recipe for failure. If teachers want to change young lives, they need to focus on inspiring kids to look within and reach for the best in themselves. A long-running, Denver-based model program has shown how this can work, with measurable results. Presented by Ann Moore, Educational Consultant to the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership.