Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs and Our Students Alike #edtech

LearnLaunch Accelerator announced their seventh Accelerator Class on April 27, 2017 at their headquarters on Summer Street in Boston. In an effort to stay connected with the world of entrepreneurship, creativity and the world of edtech, I attended as an educator, thinking I would learn about some #edtech tools to assist in my job as #edtech director (for three fabulous school districts on the north shore of Boston: Tri-Town School Union in Middleton, Topsfield and Boxford, MA). I did discover some great #edtech tools, but so much more resonated with me.

What I encountered was amazing. I did, in fact, learn about some pretty incredible #edtech tools:

  • Kaymbu (https://twitter.com/kaymbuinc)
  • BlocksCAD (https://twitter.com/BlocksCAD)
  • Choosito (https://twitter.com/choosito) 
  • Creatr. (https://twitter.com/iamcreatr)
  • Schoolhack LiFT (https://twitter.com/SchoolHackNews)
  • Unruly (https://twitter.com/jumpstartLLC)
  • WealthyLife (https://twitter.com/wealthylifers)
These tools were creative, engaging and exciting! What was more impactful, however, was what I learned about resiliency, creativity, entrepreneurship, passion, grit and determination, and how these skills are crucial to develop in our students for them to be successful in their future.

LearnLaunch Acclerator; image courtesy of @edtechtimes
I spoke individually with several CEOs of startups that were in attendance, and listened to others give their they are looking for in potential employees. More than ever, this opportunity affirmed that our students must be prepared to be thinkers, collaborators, innovators and creators who possess resiliency, creativity and empathy for others. As a result of my time at the LearnLaunch Accelerator, the data suggests that effective entrepreneurs possess skills, which as educators we must ensure students are developing:
pitch as to why their company was worthy of support and investment. I was blown away by the parallel between the skills needed to be successful in real life (what Learn Launch is facilitating with #edtech startups) and what skills we are working to develop in our students and classrooms in the Tri-Town School Union. This amazing opportunity provided me the chance to listen to CEOs pitch their product, speak with them about their journey and also inquire about what skills
  • Effective presentation and communication skills are keys to success;
  • Lifelong learning isn't just a kitschy phrase, but a highly sought-after skill;
  • Resiliency is the thing that success is made of: it is crucial to dust oneself off and keep on at it regardless of any failures and bumps along the way;
  • Schools and businesses must struggle with the same problems: how do we develop workers and employees who can identify areas of opportunity;
  • Empathy is key: demonstrating an understanding of our communities and how individuals and groups have a positive social impact is a valuable skill;
  • Networked thinkers are valuable because they are able to rely on others to collect and curate the best ideas and adapt them to a new experience;
  • Understanding cultures other than our own is a non-negotiable if we are to be successful.

It is our obligation as educators to develop students who are prepared for their futures, not just our present. We can do this on a daily basis when we infuse opportunities for students to develop these skills, in both large and small ways. It is irresponsible for us to to have the knowledge that our students must possess these skills, not do all we can on a daily basis to support and challenge our students. We can do it! And it takes ratcheting up a small parts of what we already do in our classrooms to ensure that students have opportunities to practice critical thinking, effective questioning, authentic problem-solving, empathy, global understanding and innovation.

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