Associate Professor and Director, Teachers College, Columbia University, Christopher Emdin, kicked SXSW EDU 2017 off with a stirring opening keynote. His talk, We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service, took us through a captivating look at the current state of education. We enter the rest of the week inspired, thinking about our potential to truly have impact in the work that we are doing and how we are shaping the learning experience for today’s youth.
“We are educators, we never get the opportunity to be central in the discourse of education because it’s the natural perception by folks outside of our field that we don’t know what we are talking about or that we’re just there because we had no other options. No, I’m here because I need to do what I need to do. I’ve been called to do what I need to do. And we got to embrace that fact.”
Drawing upon his work, Emdin was quick to recognize the inequity of tech in solving the problems facing young folks today reminding us how prevalent thinking has enabled “a lot of folks hide under the umbrella of tech with out focusing on the core of pedagogy.” Swiftly labeling those “simply here to listen to good ideas and monetize off them as the “enemies” and dubbing those with the best intentions but perhaps misguided by the virtue of established ideologies to behave more like “frenemies,” Emdin struck a deeper cord on the topic.
Christopher Emdin, SXSW EDU 2017 Keynote We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
Merging theory and practice, connecting contemporary issues to historical ones, and providing a deep analysis on the current state of education, Dr. Emdin ushers in a new way of looking at improving schools and schooling. Drawing from themes in his New York Times Bestselling book, and the latest album from rap group A Tribe Called Quest, Emdin offers insight into the structures of contemporary schools, and highlights major issues like the absence of diversity among teachers, the ways educators of color are silenced in schools, the absence of student voice in designing teaching and learning, and a way forward in addressing these issues.