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Opening Mainstage

Colorado Convention Center, Mainstage

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Innovation Director, ISTE and ASCD Board
The Dunham School
ISTE Certified Educator
Nikole Blanchard is the director of innovation and technology for the Dunham School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and co-president of the ISTE Board of Directors. She’s also the co-founder of the Private School Colloquium, and a board member for Baton Rouge's Edcamp and Louisiana IT Symposium. A passionate digital innovator, Blanchard is a National Board Certified Teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Innovator, Apple Teacher, Swift Playground Teacher, Google Certified Trainer, PBS Learning Media Innovator and Microsoft Innovative Educator. A career highlight for Blanchard was sharing the stage with Apple CEO Tim Cook in 2018. She told her technology story, making history as the first non-Apple employee to speak during an Apple keynote. In 2003, Blanchard was part of a pilot program at Louisiana State University (LSU) where student teachers used laptops in the field. Blanchard was blown away by the way students' needs could be met with technology. Pursuing this interest, she graduated from Louisiana State University with a master’s in educational technology.
Futurist and Tech Educator
Sinead Bovell is a futurist and the founder WAYE, a tech education company that enlightens young entrepreneurs on the intersection of business, technology and the future. Her event series, WAYE Talks, has attracted interest from youth worldwide. From blockchain to artificial intelligence (AI) to the future of social media, young people have turned to WAYE Talks for the tools and answers to the technology of the future.

Every day, over 20,000 Millennials and Gen Z’s tune into Bovell’s platforms to hear her take on technology and the future, and her forecasts on the ethical challenges of emerging technologies. She’s also the host of “Far Out,” a popular PBS science and technology YouTube series. Bovell is an outspoken voice on the ethics of avatars, and a regular tech commentator for CNN, NBC, CNBC and various talk shows. She was named one of Refinery29's Top 10 Black Women Changing the Game.

To date, she has educated over 200,000 young entrepreneurs on the future of technology. Bovell is also a strategic foresight adviser to C-suite executives and senior leadership across governments, global business giants and startups. She’s an 11-time United Nations speaker, and has addressed presidents, royalty and Fortune 500 leaders on topics like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. She currently serves as a strategic adviser to the United Nations International Telecommunication Union on digital inclusion. Bovell's forward-thinking initiatives to educate the next generation on leveraging technology's capabilities position her as a leader in digital empowerment. Recognizing the pace at which advanced technologies would soon outpace the workforce, Bovell made it her goal to bridge the information gap between young entrepreneurs and the digital future. She’s driven by her mission to build a progressive, informed and thriving society in which technology is built, as she says, “on the right side of history.”
Chief Executive Officer
Richard Culatta is an internationally recognized innovator and learning designer. As the CEO of ASCD and ISTE, Culatta is focused on supporting education change-makers to create equitable and engaging learning experiences for students around the world. Prior to joining ASCD/ISTE, Culatta served as the chief innovation officer for the state of Rhode Island. In this role, he led an initiative to make Rhode Island the first state to offer computer science in every K-12 school, and created a state vision for personalized learning. Culatta was appointed by President Obama as the executive director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education. In that capacity, he led efforts to expand connectivity to schools across the country, promote personalized learning and develop the National Education Technology Plan. He also pioneered new opportunities for engagement between the department, education leaders and tech developers, including bringing top game designers from around the world to the White House to help rethink the design of assessments. Culatta also served as an education policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, and a resident designer for the global design firm IDEO. Culatta’s book, Digital for Good: Raising Kids to Thrive in an Online World, uncovers the challenges with our current approaches to preparing young people to be effective humans in virtual spaces, and presents a path to a healthier and more civil future digital world. Culatta began his career in the classroom as a high school teacher and has coached educators and national leaders around the world on making learning more equitable. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish teaching and a master's in educational psychology and technology from Brigham Young University.
Author, AI Leader
Mo Gawdat is a bestselling author, chief AI officer for Flight Story, founder of One Billion Happy, former chief business officer for Google [X] and host of the podcast “Slo Mo: A Podcast with Mo Gawdat.” At global marketing company Flight Story, Gawdat guides the agency and its clients on how to both embrace and regulate AI in the marketing landscape. After a 30-year career in tech and serving as chief business officer at Google [X], Google's “moonshot factory” of innovation, Gawdat has made happiness his primary topic of research, diving deeply into literature and conversing on the topic with some of the wisest people in the world.

In 2014, motivated by the tragic loss of his son, Ali, Gawdat began pouring his findings into his international bestselling book, Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy. His mission to help one billion people become happier, #OneBillionHappy, is his moonshot attempt to honor Ali by spreading the message that happiness can be learned and shared to one billion people. In 2020, Gawdat launched his chart-topping podcast “Slo Mo: A Podcast with Mo Gawdat,” a weekly series of extraordinary interviews that explores the profound questions and obstacles we all face in the pursuit of purpose and happiness in our lives.

In 2021, Gawdat published Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World, a road map detailing how humanity can ensure a symbiotic coexistence with AI when it inevitably becomes a billion times smarter than we are. His latest book is That Little Voice in Your Head: Adjust the Code That Runs Your Brain, a comprehensive manual for optimally using the human brain optimally to thrive and avoid suffering.
Indigenous Musician, Author and Community Organizer
Lyla June Johnston, Ph.D., is an Indigenous musician, author and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages. Her multi-genre presentation style has engaged audiences across the globe toward personal, collective and ecological healing.

She blends her study of human ecology, graduate work in Indigenous pedagogy and her own traditional worldview to inform her music, perspectives and solutions. Her doctoral research focused on how precolonial Indigenous nations shaped large regions of Turtle Island (the Americas) to produce abundant food systems for humans and nonhumans.
Warren Township Schools
Matthew Mingle is the superintendent of Warren Township School District in New Jersey and the co-president of the ASCD + ISTE Board of Directors. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall, Rutgers and Montclair State universities. Mingle's leadership and innovative approaches in education have been widely recognized. In 2023, he was named the Somerset County, New Jersey, Superintendent of the Year, a testament to his commitment to education and the impact of his work.

The Somerset County Association of School Administrators highlighted Mingle's dedication to the children, families and staff of Warren Township Schools. They particularly noted his effective leadership during the COVID pandemic, emphasizing his creative problem-solving skills and his efforts to prioritize in-person learning during a challenging period for educational institutions. Mingle has also been involved in various educational organizations and initiatives, significantly contributing to the field. He’s a member and the treasurer of the Somerset County Association of School Administrators and the former board president of the Morris-Union Jointure Commission and New Jersey ASCD.

In addition to his administrative and leadership roles, Mingle's contributions to the field of education include presenting at national and state conferences on topics related to whole child approaches in education and “Lessons From Gander.” This presentation uses the inspiring stories of how the people of Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, responded to the unexpected arrival of thousands of airline passengers on September 11, 2001, to emphasize the importance of empathy in schools and how times of adversity can provide the best opportunities for positive cultural development.

Session description

Kick-off ISTELive 24 with the Opening Mainstage!

The session will kick-off with a keynote from Richard Culatta, ASCD + ISTE CEO, followed by a virtual keynote from Mo Gawdat, AI leader and bestselling author. He'll discuss the impact artificial intelligence (AI) has on society and its wide-ranging influence on education. You'll learn about empowering students to understand AI, and strategies for using it responsibly and safely to support learning.

Following Mo Gawdat's keynote, there will be a brief Q&A with him conducted by futurist, tech educator and commentator, Sinead Bovell. Sinead Bovell helps prepare youth for our tech-infused world, and says our future with technology centers not only on the innovations we pursue, but also on the ethical considerations we prioritize. You'll hear from her on the ethical challenges of emerging technologies and how to prepare students to face them.

Session specifications

Additional detail:
Session will be simulcast live