The Next Conversation: “Inquiry: Educating for Change”

Event Date: Tuesday, October 24, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Admission is free. Tell your friends.

Location: Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle

The Summary

If we are in the midst of massive cultural change, how does that change affect the ways in which we learn, both as children and adults? Can education get us ready for the changes that are coming? And how do art and rapidly changing technologies play into education?

The Guests (see guest bios below)

James Miles, Executive Director, Arts Corps; actor, teacher

Michelle Zimmerman, teacher, Director of Innovative Teaching and Learning Sciences, Renton Prep Christian School

Donte Felder, Head Teacher, Orca K-8 School; screenwriter

Lara Davis, artist, racial equity consultant, Arts Education Manager, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture

The Story

This time, we’re looking at education and inquiry in a time of change. And we’re looking at the role of art and technology in shifts in the way we learn.

In planning for the next 9e2, one of the things we’re looking at is a set of huge changes happening in the world, in part as a result of a wealth of new technologies, but also simply because of the introduction of new ways to thinking, imagining, organizing ourselves. We’re looking at the art and culture of technological and scientific change. And at the core of any culture is learning.

As new technologies and new social models become ubiquitous, the ways in which we interact and get information are changing deeply. Those changes can’t help having a solid effect on the ways in which we teach and learn.

Many of the familiar models for teaching and learning were designed for another time, for another world. What will replace them?

If we believe common accounts, especially in the popular press, the world of learning is in a sorry state; people are coming of age without a fundamental understanding of the way the world works. But we see plenty of examples that run counter to that sense; innovation and energy seem to be everywhere.

We’ve assembled a group of guests who are actively involved in creating new learning models, in innovation and experiment in integrating art and integrating technology into learning. This will be a fascinating conversation. Come talk about it.

The Guests in Detail

Originally from Chicago, James Miles has just moved to Seattle from Brooklyn, NY where he worked as an actor and educator for 19 years. Before joining Arts Corps, he was the Director of Education at Urban Arts Partnership, in New York City. James has also facilitated workshops and designed curriculum for the New Victory Theater, Roundabout Theatre, Disney Theatrical Group, and others. Previously a professor at NYU, James taught a myriad of classes, ranging from Acting and Directing to EdTech and Special Education. He is on the board of directors for the Association of Teaching Artists and the Teaching Artist Journal. A graduate of Morehouse College and Brandeis University, James has presented at SXSWedu, NYU’s IMPACT Festival, Creative Tech Week, EdTech Europe, Google Educator Bootcamp, and has provided professional development to teachers across the world. His work has been covered by Pie News, New Profit, Complex Magazine, NPR, CBS, US Department of Education, and ASCD. James is a former accountant, model, and actor. He can be frequently found on Twitter, as @fresh_professor, writing about arts education, educational policy, and academic inequity.

Michelle Zimmerman, PhD, has taught all grades from Pre-K through 10th within the past 16 years, with a focus on middle and high school since 2009. She has presented her research across the US and Canada since 2007, and to Satya Nadella and his executive team. The evidence of her original research and theory into practice can be seen in designing Renton Prep. She was thrilled to see the school become FETC STEM Excellence Award Finalist for 2016 as top 3 STEM Middle Schools in the Nation, Microsoft Showcase School, and receive the Award of Excellence for Digital Curriculum and Content Strategy from The Learning Counsel, and the inaugural Lester R. Bayer Award for Excellence in Urban Education. Dr. Zimmerman is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Surface Expert, Lead PBS DigitalMedia Innovator, and was named 2016 NCCE Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year, and received the Ahead of the Class – Excellence in Education Award (presented by Renton City Council and Seattle Seahawks). Her high school STEM students co-authored an invited chapter with her to add to her original research chapter in Revolutionizing Education with Digital Ink: The Impact of Pen and Touch Technology on Education (Human-Computer Interaction Series, Springer 2016). The legacy of her work is expressed through her students submitting their own proposals, speaking at international conferences and co-authoring invited blogs.  She most recently spoke at the New York Academy of Medicine for STEM Summit 5.0.

Donte Felder is fueled and inspired by the students he teaches at Orca K-8, an alternative school in South Seattle. Besides exploring the formation of the United States and the philosophy of story, Felder is energized by the many possibilities that are presented when writing a screenplay. Felder is a graduate of Goddard College where he received his MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on screenwriting. He is on the board of directors of Hugo House and Arts Corps. Felder is happily married and has three wonderful children. This interview shows Donte’s ideas about the Orca Film and Theater Academy.

Lara Davis is an artist, racial equity consultant, and arts administrator working at the intersection of culture, public education, and social justice.  She has served as a Seattle arts commissioner and as program director for Arts Corps, a nationally recognized youth arts education organization.  As arts education manager for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Lara co-leads The Creative Advantage, a public/private initiative to reinvest in equitable arts education for all Seattle students. Lara is the inaugural co-chair for the National Guild for Community Arts Education’s ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian/API Arab, Native American) Network, serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Teaching Artists Guild, is a 2017 Marshall Memorial Fellow, and the 2015 recipient of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Award.  She knows firsthand the power of creativity necessary to build access, transform communities, and inspire systemic change.


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