As with most things, the 12th annual ASU+GSV Summit was put on hold with all our worlds being turned upside down by COVID-19. After a year and a half, it was exciting to learn that the conference would happen again and in person. Participant safety, of course, was the priority. That meant COVID testing and mandatory masks unless you were eating, drinking, or outside.
 
ASU-GSV is a high-octane, energy-laced event. It differs from other edtech events because it is geared and led by EdTech decision-makers, government leaders, education advocates, technology startup companies, leading businesses, and K12 and higher education personnel.
 
ASU-GSV contains real-world experiences, new as well as proven solutions, and low-key one-on-one moments for connections with business startups, EdTech leaders, and school-level personnel.
 
Past speakers included Bill Gates of Microsoft, Tim Cook of Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, as well as the former United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice; and, entertainer/actor, Matthew McConaughey. This year was no different and it did not disappoint! This year’s speakers included government figures Arne Duncan, the former United States Secretary of Education and John King Jr from the Obama Administration. Edtech leaders present were Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, and Luis von Ahn, co-founder, and CEO, of Duolingo. Some entertainers who know the importance of technology, education, and advocating for improving the lives of all were actors Tiffany Haddish, and Common. One speaker who I enjoyed a lot (especially since I am a basketball guy), was pro basketball player and star Jeremy Lin. These were only a few of the special guests and well-known speakers who participated.
 
The sessions themselves were plentiful. I made connections and gained additional insight from educators, from startup companies, and entrepreneurs. It was exciting to participate in a small group dialogue with people from around the country and to learn more about challenges, opportunities, new products, proven strategies, and resources, that can benefit my district.
One of the unique elements involved having booths set up for early business entrepreneurs to market and discuss their up-and-coming product/program. The startups and new business leaders were excited to share information about their company and sought to partner with educational entities to improve learning, assist educators, enhance students’ and parents’ lives while trying to make education better for everyone.
 
I was able to network with, talk, and listen to many special people. They ranged from administrators from different states, a young student/entrepreneur from Pittsburgh, a Canadian citizen working on his startup program dealing with socio-emotional needs for students, and a former educator from Kansas City who now works for a business startup that assists districts in discovering all the applications and programs currently available in their district.
 
Attendees were also able to see the importance of our evolving workforce. The jobs and careers of today will not be the same. In fact, many future jobs are not yet known. Abilities and skills such as problem solving, creativity, collaboration, being willing to ask tough questions and find solutions to difficult problems are important qualities for any learner to develop. This can’t be accomplished alone.  Building partnerships is essential to future success.
 
I was grateful to have the opportunity to take part in this truly “world-class” event. Hearing and seeing renowned speakers and participants who are not only experts in their fields, but edtech superstars were enlightening. These individuals advocate for equality regardless of race, gender, and physical ability while promoting the importance of education for all, the need for a skilled workforce, and the continued improvement of our world.
 
Click 2021 ASU-GSV Summit to get a great overview of this year’s program including sessions and speakers.