President Bill Clinton provided an insightful speech from his perspective of issues in the world and the need for educational equity. He continued to share from an easy chair chat between him and Elliott. He described the challenge of globalization and discussed the role of education in solving many issues. I sat captivated from my second row seats, twenty feet from directly in front of him, while over 2000 of my dearest friends, fellow educators, sat beside and behind me likewise captivated.
The next day, I listened to John Lithgow, incredible actor and now author, share a bit about his experiences and was reminded of how important and impactful educational experiences enabled by our parents can be in our careers and lives. His performance, “Stories By Heart,” later that evening featuring a rendition of “Uncle Fred Flits By” by P.G. Wodehouse demonstrated how much he learned from his father who read to him every night and began his lifelong learning.
Dean Kamen , spoke about founding First (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a program for students to get people interested in science, technology, and engineering in 1989. By 2011, his FIRST Robotics Competition has grown to 55 regional competitions around the globe, and one international competition in St. Louis, MO which inspire students to dream of becoming science and technology leaders.
Polycom had the blessing of bringing in 3 of the speakers via video conferencing. Professor Peter Cappelli, Wharton School of Business addressed attendees on Monday.
Tuesday, COO of Farmers Insurance, Jeff Dailey, joined the conference via Farmers Insurance’s immersive telepresence RPX room in Los Angeles to give insight into the importance of education and training in business. The audience of educators was proud that Farmers believes so much in education that their current commercials focus on the subject. Humorous and impactful, we relished in the message.
Wednesday, Sharon Begley, science columnist for Newsweek came in by video conferencing from Polycom’s immersive telepresence room in New York City. In an interview format, she provided her expertise on brain research, which I found fascinating. Her point that we should never use “hard wired” when referring to our brains because they are discovering the areas of our brain we thought were only functioning in one capacity such as the visual cortex, can actually adapt and respond such is it does to Braille for the blind.
This great lineup of speakers continued with people like Diane Oblinger, President and CEO of EDUCAUSE; Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons; and Betsy Myers, COO of Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaign. Undercover Boss Executive Producer, Steven Lambert, flew in from the UK to share about valuable lessons learned by CEOs as they go undercover and what they discovered about the value of workplace learning.
I personally enjoyed hearing Polycom customer Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Bill Pelster provide an update to attendees about the completed construction of Deloitte University: a 750,000-square foot, world-class learning facility outfitted with immersive telepresence and 4-corner training rooms. Larger training rooms have been designed to include a high definition video conferencing unit in each corner so that as trainees break into smaller work groups, they can collaborate with colleagues in offices across the world.
So much more information was shared and great experiences occurred during the amazing 3 ½ days. I will post links and pictures when they become available from the Masie Group.
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