Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Edtech for the Whole Child: Tech That Nurtures the Learner

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Listen and learn : Panel

Dr. Pamela Cantor  
Dan Cogan-Drew  
Dr. david miyashiro  
Dr. Joseph South  

Addressing the whole child considers the complexity of development that spans across multiple domains of learning, including social and emotional development, identity development, physical well-being, mental wellness, cognitive development, ethical and moral development, and academic development. Yet much of the technology we use in classrooms only accounts for a fraction of a child’s developmental needs. How would our technology solutions need to be different to nurture the learner as well as the learning? Join us to learn more!

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Coaches, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Reimagining learning
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
Equity and Citizenship Advocate
  • Ensure all students have access to the technology and connectivity necessary to participate in authentic and engaging learning opportunities.
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The COVID-19 pandemic, the related service economy recession, and ongoing racialized violence have laid bare the inequities of experience and opportunity for many young people in our country. It may be hard to find silver linings through so much suffering, but now as recovery and reopening take shape, we have a chance to design something very different and better for children.

Guiding Principles for Equitable Whole-Child Design
Here is the opportunity we have today: developmental and learning science tell an optimistic story about what all young people are capable of. Children’s brains and bodies are malleable. The contexts and relationships they are exposed to are the primary driver of who they become, including the expression of their genes. Today, we can use the principles of Whole Child Design to build environments in all of our classrooms, schools, and other community settings for learning that enable children to cope with stress, build resilience, and develop the 21st century skills and mastery level competencies they need to live lives of fulfillment and choice.

Our organizing framework to guide transformation of learning settings for children and adolescents is reflected in the Guiding Principles for Equitable Whole Child Design. The five elements—Positive Developmental Relationships; Environments Filled with Safety and Belonging; Rich Learning Experiences and Knowledge Development; Development of Skills, Habits, and Mindsets; and Integrated Support Systems—in many ways, are not controversial and resonate with educators.

However, despite these positive associations and their apparent simplicity, they have not yet been widely used to develop and create learning settings, nor have they been engineered in fully integrated ways to yield healthy development, learning, and thriving. Educational technology solutions, as a whole, tend to be narrowly focused on academic achievement and often do not acknowledge or intentionally support the developmental relationships between students and peers, educators, parents, councilors, mentors, and community members that undergird their learning potential.

For those who participate in this session, we anticipate the following outcomes:

• Acquaint themselves with the Guiding Principles of Whole Child Design
• Explore the relationship between a child’s wellbeing, developmental relationships with others, the keys to motivation and engagement, and their academic growth
• Gain new ideas, framings, and ways of thinking about designing and implementing educational technology solutions that better align to the Guiding Principles of Whole Child Learning
• Explore some examples of technology solutions that represent integrated solutions for developing the whole child



Supporting research

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Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround for Children

Pamela Cantor, M.D. is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, author and thought leader on human potential, the science of learning and development, and educational equity. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, she founded Turnaround for Children, which translates scientific insights into tools and services that help educators establish the conditions for all students to thrive. In two books published in 2021, Whole Child Development, Learning and Thriving: A Dynamic Systems Approach and The Science of Learning and Development, Dr. Cantor crystallizes key scientific concepts about how human potential and learning unfold so that anyone seeking to open pathways for learning and opportunity for young people can do so. Dr. Cantor is a governing partner of the Science of Learning and Development Alliance, focused on elevating the science of learning and development as an actionable drive of equity in education. She received an M.D. from Cornell University, a bachelor’s from Sarah Lawrence, and was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dan Cogan-Drew, Newsela

Dan brings twenty-plus years of professional experience spent working towards a more perfect union of teaching, learning, and technology. Prior to Newsela, Dan was the founding Director of Digital Learning at Achievement First Public Charter Schools, where he spearheaded the integration of digital learning technologies across twenty-two schools, including flipped classrooms, mobile learning, and 1:1 computing. He began his education career in Teach for America and went on to teach in public and private schools, as well as in the US Navy. He holds degrees from Wesleyan University, Brown University, and Tufts University.

Dr. david miyashiro, Cajon Valley Union School District

David Miyashiro, Ed.D., is the superintendent of the Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) in El Cajon, California. Under his leadership, CVUSD has achieved systemwide success with blended and personalized learning, where all teachers and students have 24/7 access to their own district-issued laptop, internet connectivity and a digital ecosystem of robust resources and creativity tools. In 2015, CVUSD was inducted into The League of Innovative Schools, a distinction that ranks Cajon Valley in the top 73 U.S. school districts for innovation and digital learning. In the spirit of TED, CVUSD launched the first districtwide TEDx and TED Ed Club in the U.S. Miyashiro was invited by TED to the first cohort of TED-Ed Innovative Educators, a partnership that has allowed all students in Cajon Valley access to a robust and personalized curriculum designed by the TED-Ed team. CVUSD also partners with and Code To The Future to bring computer science to all students, and is home to the first K-5 computer science magnet schools in the U.S. Miyashiro was previously the assistant superintendent of educational services for the Encinitas Union School District, and a principal in the Fullerton and East Whittier school districts. He has a doctoral degree from UCLA, a master’s from Grand Canyon University and a bachelor’s from California State University, Long Beach. Miyashiro was appointed by the California State Board of Education to serve as co-chair for the state’s committee tasked with bringing computer science to all K-12 students. He also serves on the California School Boards Association’s (CSBA) President's Advisory Council, and was named 2016 Superintendent of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 18.

Dr. Joseph South, ISTE

Joseph South is a national educational technology leader focused on evidence-based learning transformation. He presently serves as the chief learning officer at ISTE. He formerly served as director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role he advised the Secretary of Education, developed national educational technology policy, formed public-private partnerships to assist state and local education leaders in transitioning to digital learning, helped school districts expand the use of openly licensed educational resources (OERs), and collaborated to nurture a robust ecosystem of edtech entrepreneurs and innovators.

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