Educating the next generation of leaders requires new innovative approaches and as the school year draws to a close we reached out to Jaime Casap, the education evangelist at Google who spoke at Harvest Summit last year, to catch up and hear what’s new and next.
Let’s start with a lighting round:
What did you want to be when you grew up?
And now the question we should be asking, what problem do you want to solve?
Equity in Education
Your morning routine?
Wake up between 5-6 and drink coffee and prep for the day
Do or do not, there is no try
Inside or outside?
I was raised to be an outside street cat but I like being an inside cat
Tea or coffee?
Coffee, always coffee
Favorite “innovation” word?
Your story of origin influenced your passion to “evangelize” education. Can you share a bit about that?
My mom came to America escaping poverty and government oppression in the late 1960s. She was a young, single woman who didn’t plan on me being born so she ended up on welfare and food stamps. A lot of people who lived in my community lived in the same way; it was not the nicest place to grow up. When I entered school it was “Welcome to PS 11” and I said, “Qué?” English was my second language.
By the time I was in high school I had been to 4 or 5 funerals, I had been shot at and had guns shoved in my mouth and I wanted out. I focused on education, I saw it as my way out and it did get me out, which is why I’m so interested in the power that education and technology can have on a family.
Did you have a teacher that impacted your education experience?
My 4th grade teacher – she was the first teacher to have high expectations of my abilities.
At what grade level did you have access to technology?
The first time I used a computer was in 9th grade (1982) when I learned how to program on a Commodore 64. I didn’t use a computer again until I was in college when I used the computer lab (1987.)
It can be argued that our American education system is failing. Do you agree and how does technology fit in driving change and making a difference?
I am not one of the education reformers who states education is “broken.” One of the reasons why is because education worked for me, and millions of others. Has it worked for everyone? No. Can it be better? Yes. I just think it’s the wrong message. You are telling 3 million teachers that the work they are doing is broken. I think the better message is that we need to take education to the next level. What I want to do is take the best research and ideas we have in education and use technology to bring education to the next level. To bring it to the level we need to help our students take on the future we all face.
If all we do is take technology and put it on top of our current model, then we are just making the old model more efficient. We need to use technology to empower and enable new models.
One of our favorite things we’ve heard you say is, we talk about preparing our children for the 21st Century and teaching them new skills yet we’re 19 years into the 21st Century. How are you working to change that narrative and mindset?
In order to do this, we need to realize that we have been talking about building 21st century skills for a LONG time. We have been talking about the need for these skills without actually knowing what the future looks like. We said students need 21st century skills before we really understood the impact digitalization would have. Before the internet, before AI, Machine Learning. Now we actually know what the future looks like. We can reexamine the idea of 21st century skills and ask new questions and come up with new strategies to make them real!
Is there an issue or perspective that comes up the most with constituents you meet with – technologists, universities, educators, business leaders, students, parents?
The biggest perspective I see is an unwillingness to accept that we need a new system for the future we face. Just because it’s hard to do doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.
What’s the greatest challenge our education system faces?
I think the best place to focus is on what we are measuring. We are measuring the wrong things in almost every aspect of education – seat time, days in schools, test scores, grades, number of credit hours you take (does it really make sense that every single degree in college requires the EXACT same number of credits? When we decide to measure the correct things that matter, we will start seeing the changes we need in education.
I have heard you say the “ability to learn” is the most important skill our children need today, along with collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and communication. As a mother, it’s fascinating to me what my kids can “learn” on YouTube. If they can’t figure something out, they go to YouTube. We noticed you launched a YouTube channel and would love your take on that platform as it relates to learning.
One of the videos I recently launched is called “the speed of learning” for that exact reason. What you can learn on YouTube is amazing. My daughter has a degree in film. When I decided to launch my YouTube channel, I knew nothing about how to shoot video, how to edit, or how to create videos. I asked her, “what is the first thing I need to know?” She said – shoot in 24fps at 1080. If you want to shoot slow motion, shoot at 60 fps or 120 fps. Whatever frame rate you shoot in, double your shutter speed and lock it there. Try to keep your ISO at 100. SO if you shoot outside, you are going to need an ND filter. I said, “cool, thanks. Just one more questions – what do any of those things mean?” In just three months, I learned more about video, editing, and posting videos than I knew was possible and I am still learning. All this through YouTube.
How should we be looking at education in a different way?
This goes back to life long learning. We see education as a process. Something we go through. Something that happens to us. Education is not and SHOULD not be a process. Education has to be a mindset. A way of being. It starts with an idea that your brain can’t be full. I just shot a video on this topic that will be out soon!
“find a way to make money doing what you love.” You don’t agree. Tell us why.
I love to sit on the couch, eat Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and watch Game of Thrones. While there are some job opportunities doing that, there aren’t many. Doing what you love can get you in trouble. Doing what you’re passionate about sometimes involves a lot of things you might not “love.” I created a video on that topic and it’s posted!
Watch my answer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Shjk4zwgiY
What are you most excited about?
I think this is the most exciting time in history! I believe mankind has only been here just one other time and with another technology. That was in the late 1800s when we invented electricity. Digitalization is our generation’s electricity! Combine that with the speed at which we can learn, I don’t think what we can predict what we are going to build!
Why do you still teach?
I think I am a naturally born teacher, even though it’s not what I actually do as a profession (or at least not full time yet!) My dream job is to be a history teacher and basketball coach! I was teaching at ASU before I even started at Google! I taught an intro to Political Science class when I was a senior in college! It’s why I love having three kids who are 26, 18, and 4! I get to teach each one as individuals, perfecting my teaching abilities!
(And a completely self serving question) What did you get out of your time at Harvest Summit?
The best thing about the Harvest Summit was the ability to look at problems from a different perspective and to network with folks I generally do not get a chance to talk to! Also, the environment isn’t too shabby!
Jaime Casap, Education Evangelist
Jaime Casap is the Chief Education Evangelist at Google. Jaime evangelizes the potential of digitalization as an enabling capability in pursuit of promoting inquiry-based learning models. Jaime collaborates with school systems, educational organizations, and leaders focused on building innovation into our education policies and practices. Before he joined Google 13 years ago, Jaime spent seven years as a strategy and organization consultant at Accenture, where he worked with companies in financial services, government, utilities, healthcare, and electronics and high tech.
In addition to his role at Google, Jaime serves as an advisor to dozens of organizations focused on learning, skill development, and the future of work. He is the coauthor of “Our First Talk About Poverty,” as a way to talk to children about poverty. Jaime also teaches a 10th grade communication class at the Phoenix Coding Academy, and guest lectures at Arizona State University.
He speaks on education, digitalization, innovation, generation z, and the future of work at events around the world. You can follow and reach him on Twitter at @jcasap