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Keynote Speakers

Michio Kaku

favorites Opening keynote
Sunday, June 26
5:45-7 p.m.

Michio Kaku, Ph.D., is a futurist and theoretical physicist who has popularized science for all audiences. The Ivy League scholar's presentations include fascinating subjects like the science of dreams (how our prefrontal cortexes disengage, which suppresses the fact-checking component of our consciousness), what makes a super genius, the evolution of intelligence, and the two greatest scientific mysteries. He blogs regularly at Dr. Kaku's Universe, sharing his thoughts on everything from storing the human soul on a disk to why Hollywood needs to make better aliens.

Kaku has written multiple New York Times best sellers, including his latest, The Future of the Mind (2014), in which he illustrates stunning breakthroughs in neuroscience and how they are unraveling the mysteries of the human brain. He has hosted several TV specials for the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and the Science Channel. Kaku was also one of the subjects of the award-winning documentary, "Me & Isaac Newton." He hosts the weekly one-hour radio program "Explorations," produced by the Pacifica Foundation's WBAI in New York. In April 2006, Kaku began broadcasting "Science Fantastic," which is syndicated by Talk Radio Network and remains the only nationally syndicated science radio program. Some may recognize him from his recent appearance in Turbo Tax commercials.

Ruha Benjamin

favorites Tuesday keynote
Tuesday, June 28
9-10:15 a.m.

Ruha Benjamin is an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she specializes in the interdisciplinary study of science, medicine, biotechnology, race-ethnicity and gender, health, and biopolitics. Her driving question is, "How can we harness science and technology for greater equality?"

Her popular courses cover topics like "Race Is Socially Constructed: Now What?" and "Black to the Future: Science, Fiction and Society," and she's not afraid to tackle talks like "Women in Technology: Playing the Game or Hacking the System" and "Black Death … and Regeneration: An Ethnography of the Future" with public audiences. Her Black to the Future course pays particular attention to the way race functions as a social technology that produces parallel universes where people experience radically different and unequal versions of the world.

She is actively engaged in community initiatives that investigate the social impact and meaning of new biotechnologies, and she blogs about the broader questions of innovation and citizen science. She has been awarded fellowships by the American Council of Learned Societies; the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Science, Technology and Society Program; the National Science Foundation; and the Ford Foundation.

Michelle Cordy

favorites Closing keynote
Wednesday, June 29
2:45-4 p.m.

Michelle Cordy is a third grade teacher in London, Ontario, in the Thames Valley District, who calls herself "a teacher on an urgent quest." Armed with 1:1 tablets for her students, she is actively engaged in hacking her own classroom — which she defines as devising ingenious solutions and overcoming obstacles — and sharing the results with her professional colleagues.

Belonging, hands-on competency and elaboration are watchwords of Cordy's approach. The result: One of her students undergoing cancer treatment was able to continue classroom participation remotely. She documents her journey on her Hack the Classroom blog.

Cordy's focus is on mathematics education, technology integration and the social aspects of the internet. She engages in classroom-based research with partners from academic institutions as well as with industry partners. She began teaching in 2001, and has taught grades 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8 during her career. She has also taught in college and university teacher education programs.

Cordy is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a Google Certified Teacher and holds an M.Ed. in mathematics and science education.

Get behind the scenes with ISTE 2016

If you’d like to watch the Sunday keynote in a more intimate setting, head over to the Four Seasons Ballroom to see a simulcast of Michio Kaku’s speech. ISTE Board Chair-Elect Mila Thomas Fuller will take you on a virtual backstage tour where you can see the technology that powers an ISTE keynote. Afterward, Kaku will join you in person for a special Q&A and book signing.

Suggest a keynote

Know of a visionary you’d like to see at ISTE 2017? We’re looking for keynote speakers who inspire us, amaze us and ignite our passion for connected learning.

From Sir Ken Robinson and Jane McGonigal to Soledad O’Brien and inspiring classroom teachers, our keynote speakers all have one thing in common: They bring the “wow.” Our keynote speakers are known as individuals from any field, including education, who can bring fresh perspectives to our audience in new and exciting ways.

We receive many keynote suggestions from all over the world. Catch our attention by:

Thinking outside the box. The ISTE Conference & Expo isn’t your typical education conference.

Keeping it simple. Make your case briefly, concisely and with gusto.

Sharing examples. Link to videos and articles about your suggested speaker.

Don’t be shy — if you’ve got a burning message to share, feel free to recommend yourself!

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