What is the Purpose of Education? Google Hangout Panel Chat #edplay

Last night we had an amazing chat! I will be honest and state that I was nervous. I have not conducted a panel chat with 10 people nor really organized a Google Hangout with a structure let alone have a mix of students and educators. With the unknown lurking as well as praying that my Internet connection would hold(my home internet is terrible) I was a tad nervous about how things would go.
Like all great things that happen, the nerves were to prepare me for a great hour discussion. I was buzzing afterwards of so many ideas. generated from the chat.
To back up a bit, here was the format we set out to use for the chat
Driving Question: What is the purpose of education?
We used our #edplay hashtag for a backchannel on Twitter as well as the Q and A feature for the Google Hangout

Here is a link to the Google Community Group: http://buff.ly/LHdIp5 if you wish to join our group.

Here is a link to my Play PD on my website if you want to read some thoughts of my own: http://coffeeforthebrain.com/category/play-pd/


Step 1: Introductions

We started off with introductions. We had a diverse panels of people who have never met or connected before. The students were various ages and locations as well as the educators. I look forward to watching us connect more and really digging deeper as we become more comfortable with one another.


Lisa Van Gemert @gifted_guru

John Bennett @jcbjr

Toni Oliviera-Barton @toniobarton

Eileen Malick @emalick

Aaron Maurer(me) @coffeechugbooks


Nate Walczyk @natewalczyk

Laurel Braaten @Laurel_Braaten

Ian Coon @iancoon

Justin Sindelar @JustinASindelar


Step 2: Topic: What is the Purpose of Education?

We started off by discussing the following two questions. We left it open and just let it go. We probably could have stayed on those questions for the whole hour.

1. What should students learn in school?

2. Why is this important?

Part 3: Video of spoken word

We viewed the video(you can watch it on the playback or check it out here. We discussed the following afterwards.


  • Agreements: what aspects of what speaker says do you agree with?

  • Disagreements: What do you disagree with what the speaker shares?

  • How does  your school align with why the speaker “loves education but hates schooling?”

  • Other thoughts?

 This is where we ended. We did not get to parts 4 and 5 and that is okay. What developed was some really great talk on some very important education issues. I know that Laurel wanted to really chime in on group work as we had a great talk about group work this morning. I left the chat excited. I left the chat pumped up knowing that there are amazing people working their tails off to make education better. The fact that we could harness the thoughts of students and educators in one chat was really powerful.

We did record the discussion so I hope you have time to listen to the chat. I plan on doing more of these and making them better each and every time. If you have a question or topic you would like us to discuss or you want to be part of a future panel please let me know. I would to continue to chat and connect with more educators and students.

Resources, Links, and Chat Ideas

Right now I think the next one will be on group work as that became a hot topic last night. I think it would be good to allow students more voice in the conversation as well as some links to process ahead of time. If you have some good resources or ideas about group work send them my way. I will be working on this discussion over the next few days.
Last, here is a list of resources shared and discussed in the chat last night.

Laurel: (in the chat as her mic was not working) For sure, and I agree. Though we do have groups we still have to focus on the students who learn better individually. We cannot just forget them. Students have different learning abilities and PBL cannot take that away, so some kids find group work extremely hard.

Here is the Twitter handle for Mr. Pisel that was referenced in the chat
Mr. Pisel is amazing @mpisel12
Here is the blog that Nate discussed about students having their voices heard. Such a great blog by students


Ian shared out work his school is doing as well

“Our Waukee HS RAK group is on Twitter at @rak_whs”
Here are some links from Eileen who brought up some really valid points in the chat.

http://www.wolframalpha.com/examples/Chemistry.html for Chemistry Help.

My favorite TED talk is Conrad Wolfram talking about how we need to tech kids how to do math on computers instead of paper: http://youtu.be/60OVlfAUPJg

Sir Ken Robinson gives a TED talk about how our Industrial Era created schools expect to generate Industrial Era students by teaching them the exact same things the exact same way and expect the exact same level of success… Which is killing creativity. http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U

Lisa Van Gemert wrote an article on sleep that is worth the read and tied in with what we were talking about when discussing teenagers, sleep, focus, and energy. Check this article out! http://bit.ly/zombie-nation 

Please let us know what you thought of the discussion. Join the Play and Tinkering PD and chat, leave a comment here, or reach out on Twitter on the #edplay hashtag.

We will be back next week with a Twitter chat as well as details for the next panel discussion.



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