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Thursday March 14, 2019 at 2:05pm Age: 73 days
Category: District


Global Keynote Specialist & Educational Technology Strategist Ken Shelton, who served as the keynote speaker at Minisink Valley’s March 14 Professional Development Day, addressed the topic of equity in education and how to provide students with a diverse and equitable educational experience.


Mr. Shelton regularly gives keynotes speeches and presentations and leads workshops in Educational Technology, Technology Integration, Equity and Inclusion, Multimedia Literacy and Visual Learning, Visual Storytelling and Instructional Design.


An Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Innovator, Mr. Shelton is also a member of the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction's Education Technology Task Force. 


Mirror and window experiences


 “Education is an experience, not a starting line or a finish line,” he said.  “Our experiences are either through a mirror or windows. The mirror is how we see ourselves and the windows are what it means to be someone else.”


To be both a mirror and window for all students, education curriculum needs to present diverse points of view on the same event/experience, especially the points of view of people and communities who are marginalized and underrepresented, Mr. Shelton emphasized.


Equity, accessibility and diversity


All students, he said, can learn and achieve when provided with the right conditions, support and services.  This can be best accomplished when teachers follow the ideas of “thought/provocation,” the fostering of new ideas and -- at the end of the day -- equity, accessibility and diversity.


“What is your plan?” he asked.


To acknowledge the diverse experiences of students, instructional materials need to be authored by and represent diverse identities.


Mr. Shelton also spoke to the concept of “techquity,” the merging of instructional technology with culturally responsive/relevant learning experiences that support student development of essential skills.


“What experience do we want our students to have?” he again asked the audience. Not every student will have the same needs as other students. Not every student is the same.”


The importance of a great school culture


As part of that, Mr. Shelton stressed that a school’s culture matters.


“The most important thing in your learning environment is culture,” he said. “How well do you know your students? Is there an adult who knows you, beyond your name and your number? Think about that as adults. Think of your favorite teacher, it’s the relationship, not the curriculum. I stress the fact that culture is more important than curriculum. And part of that culture ties into an equity theme.”


He also reminded the audience that “best learning environments don’t display anything that isn’t created by students.”


Mr. Shelton also challenged faculty to say, “I need every student to have their own success plan.”


And he equally stressed he understood what goes on daily in the classroom.


The Zulu word “Sawubona” means “I see you,” and Mr. Shelton used that word several times during his presentation.


“Sawubona,” he said. “I see you. I know how you feel. I know your challenges. I’ve been there.”