Last week at NWeLearn’s 10th Anniversary conference, I had the great opportunity and privilege of introducing one of my ed tech heroes, Audrey Watters. It was not only a big deal for me that Audrey was won of our keynotes, but it represented a milestone and celebration of what this little conference has grown into and how it is leading the pack in some ways.
Seeinging the tide of STEM & Ed Tech conferences filled with all-male panels of experts and all-male line ups of keynotes (noticeable to the extent it generated a meme of its own), I threw down the challenge via tweet:
The NWeLearn nation answered the challenge in a big way – Audrey as one keynote, and so many top lady thinkers presenting sessions that we suddenly found ourselves in the majority. You rocked it, NWeLearn!
Here’s Audrey’s introduction (co-authored with my buddies Alysonn Indrunas and Maria Erb):
Good morning. Are you having a good time? Enjoying the sessions?
When we talk about who influences us in our careers, especially in EdTech, it’s easy to come up with a host of names, but for the women in the room, there is perhaps no stronger influence right now than Audrey Watters. And that may be true for men, as well.
Audrey often gives voice to the things we cannot say in our daily work lives while she critiques institutions and philosophies around the intersection of education and technology. As someone who claims to be a serial dropout, we’d like to give her an honorary degree in Feminist Radness. And men, if you feel excluded, allow me to remind you that feminism is for everyone.
On that note, NWeLearn has achieved a milestone. This year we have 26 presentations by women, 18 by men, and 9 presentations with shared duties. Wow NWeLearn! Way to represent!
According to Audrey, “To “hack education” isn’t something that just technologists should do or care about. Nor only is this a concern for teachers, administrators, parents, or students. We all should consider the implications of technology on how we teach and learn, lest the future of ed-tech be just like the history of ed-tech: learners as pigeons.”
Learners everywhere have a true champion in Audrey, watching their backs and taking shots at corporate bullies in disguise. She is onto them.
In her spare time, she reads, rabble-rouses, and prepares for the zombie apocalypse “because you never know”…And if you want to buy her a beer, try to make it a Green Flash West Coast IPA.
Please join me in welcome Audrey Watters!
The other thing tha happened this year? The Tweeters came out in force – sharing thoughts and resources from both keynoters (Jesse Stommel took the keynote reigns on the second day). The hashtag #nwelearn lit up by attendees and those following along from beyond the conference.
You can read all the tweets by checking out the conference Storify feed.
I hope you’ll join us next year at NWeLearn 2016 – somewhere in Oregon!