Brad Brown, the Executive Director of Learning, Teaching, and Leadership Development at Puget Sound ESD, recently delivered a thought-provoking presentation at the Learning Counsel Symposium in Seattle, WA. Hailing from North Carolina, Brad brings over 30 years of experience to the table. In this article, we'll explore key points from his presentation, focusing on digital opportunities, the evolving educational landscape, and the importance of staying curious.

Puget Sound ESD serves as one of nine Educational Service Districts (ESDs) in the state of Washington, covering two significant counties—King and Pierce, which together represent 40% of the state's student population. Within this region, a staggering 206 languages are spoken, highlighting the diverse communication opportunities and challenges faced by educators. Brad emphasizes the interconnectedness of the education community, urging a mindset of curiosity and openness.

Brad encourages the audience to adopt a mindset of curiosity and openness, particularly in the context of technological advancements. Drawing parallels to conversations around race, he proposes agreements such as staying engaged, experiencing discomfort, speaking one's truth, and accepting non-closure. The intent versus impact dynamic is crucial in the ever-evolving realm of technology in education, reminding everyone that learning is an ongoing process.

Reflecting on his experiences in the Kent School District, Brad shares insights into the bold move of providing a laptop to every high school student. The goal was not to burden students with heavier backpacks but to bridge gaps and offer new opportunities for learning, curiosity, and invention. Brad emphasizes the need for intentional space creation to support digital learning experiences, acknowledging that mistakes are part of the learning process.

While technology continues to advance, Brad reminds the audience that a human touch remains essential. He shares anecdotes about the impact of technology on global connections, particularly in high schools where students are collaborating and learning with peers worldwide. He emphasizes that technology should enhance, not replace, human interaction.

Addressing digital literacy, Brad introduces the concept of data literacy, transcending mere numerical understanding. He encourages educators to view data literacy as a situational, logic-driven discipline that extends beyond graphs and numbers. The importance of incorporating this literacy into teacher training becomes evident as it empowers educators to create better assessments and standards.

Brad highlights the transformative power of technology through stories like "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," underlining the potential for technology to save lives and address real-world challenges. He urges educators to stay curious, share inspiring stories, and recognize the creativity that technology unlocks in both students and teachers.

Brad Brown's presentation provides a rich tapestry of insights, emphasizing the need for a mindset shift, intentional space creation, and a holistic approach to digital literacy. As education continues to evolve, embracing technology while staying grounded in human values is crucial for fostering a dynamic and inclusive learning environment. Full video below.