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For Attendees



[Listen and learn : Multi-presentation]

Monday, June 27, 2:30–4:15 pm
CCC Bellco Theatre

favoritesAyah Bdeir  favoritesMarley Dias  favoritesJanice Dias  favoritesAmelia Earhart  favoritesCaleb Harper  favoritesLindsay Thornton  favoritesAlex Thornton  
Join us for a provocative series of five mini-keynotes from thought leaders beyond the world of ed tech. From inventors to futurists to innovative nonprofit founders, this session is sure to inspire and intrigue. Now in its third year, EdTekTalks earns rave reviews from attendees who delight in hearing from these out-of-the-box thinkers.

Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand, Featured session


favorites Ayah Bdeir

Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an open-source library of modular electronics that snap together with magnets. Bdeir was born in Lebanon, currently lives in New York City, and earned her master's degree in science from the MIT Media Lab. As an esteemed engineer and interactive artist, Bdeir is one of the leaders of the maker movement. Her career is focused on advancing open-source hardware to make education and innovation more accessible to the entire population.

favorites Marley Dias

Marley Dias is an 11-year-old from West Orange, New Jersey, who grew tired of reading books in her middle school classes about “white boys and their dogs” so she created a plan, with the help of her mother and founder of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, Janice Johnson Dias, to do something about it. They gathered 1,000 books with relatable female characters, particularly strong, black girls. The movement is incredibly successful, with the trending hashtag #1000BlackGirlBooks, and the collected books have made their way to schools in need around the country.

favorites Janice Dias

Janice Johnson Dias holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Temple University with a specialization in urban and political sociology. Her research focuses on impoverished mothers and children. She is a recipient of grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living Research and the Research Foundation of New York to examine low-income black mothers’ perceptions of neighborhood safety and the relationship to their daughters’ physical activity.

favorites Amelia Earhart

Amelia Rose Earhart is the first woman to fly around the world in a single-engine aircraft. She is a passionate aviatrix and president of the Fly with Amelia foundation, which grants flight-training scholarships to young women ages 16 to 18. In 2012, she completed her instrument training hours by flying from Oakland, California, to Miami, Florida, tracing the final trans-continental flight of her namesake, Amelia Mary Earhart, in a Cirrus SR-20.

favorites Caleb Harper

Caleb Harper is the principal investigator and director of the Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAG) at the MIT Media Lab. Harper leads a group of engineers, architects, urban planners, economists and plant scientists to discover and advocate for the future of food systems. His team brings to light important environmental questions and promotes a more transparent and collaborative food system. Harper and his colleagues are working on developing an open-source agricultural hardware, software and data common that will ultimately lead to a more sustainable planet.

favorites Lindsay Thornton

Lindsay Thornton holds an Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Boston University in counseling psychology, with a specialization in sport performance. Previously, she taught first grade, coached gymnastics and researched positive psychology. Her current research focuses on better understanding psychophysiology (the relationship between psychology and brain/body responses) and optimal performance, and she has published several papers and chapters in this domain. She is licensed as a psychologist and is board certified in biofeedback and neurofeedback by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA).

favorites Alex Thornton

Alex Thornton, a teacher for seven years, holds an Ed.M. in international educational development policy and planning and an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Boston University. He also has experience in coaching nearly all team sports. Thornton's postdoctoral work was done with psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey and emphasized the use of exercise to change school cultures and optimize student learning. He collaborates closely with leading thinkers to bring findings and applied interventions from sleep, nutrition, play and neuro/biofeedback research to educational and organizational settings. Thornton's goal is to merge neuroscience with education and teach people how to make sustainable, positive changes in their lives to maximize their potential.