A Conversation with Dr. Matt Harris, ISTE Chairman-Elect
Without a doubt, there are few things as energizing as gathering educators from around the world to collaborate, share, and learn from one another. At the recent Microsoft Education Empowered Event (E2), I was thrilled to catch up with Dr. Matt Harris, who has a fascinating perspective on education technology around the globe.
Harris serves as the Chair-Elect of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and will take over as Chair in 2016. He also has the very necessary hands-on experience of being a teacher and an administrator. He has worked with schools in Asia and North America, has taught every grade level from pre-school to graduate school, and is currently the Head of Learning Resources at the German European School in Singapore.
During our conversation, Harris shared his thoughts on the global community of educators, trends, and how education is increasingly becoming much more international.
“It’s very interesting to have colleagues from Brunei speaking with colleagues from Denmark and they are speaking the same language even though their curricula are so different, their cultures are so different and the requirements within their classrooms are so different,” says Harris. “And yet they’re able to move in the same direction. I think there are some standards of learning and standards of using educational technology to enhance teaching and learning that are just pushing everybody forward and removing all of those differences and barriers so that we are doing the best for kids all around the world.”
As the first ISTE Chair to live and work outside of the United States, Harris has a different take on ISTE’s role. Specifically, how to make change happen faster.
“I think it’s a matter of putting people together more regularly,” says Harris. “I work at an International School, and even though there are International Schools all over the world, it’s a really small community. Facilitating those connections and discussions with key topics or key ideas [regularly] would go quite a long way so things don’t just happen for three days in Redmond.”
In today’s Daily Edventure, Harris shares much more, including how he’s seeing educators displaying courage through optimism, and by embracing new, innovative teaching methodologies. “I’m seeing it happen,” he says. “I’m seeing these pockets of people saying, ‘I’m gonna to do that, and the best method for me doing that is to use technology to collaborate…to connect outside of my community to make sure that I’m still hitting all these people that are just as brave or courageous as I am.’”