Skip to content

FETC 2017 – Keynote – Michael Meechin

January 26, 2017

fetc_desktoplogoSTEM Awards of Excellence were presented and finalists recognized. I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve on the awards committee, and a chance to meet some of the incredible people who work in schools in North America.

Keynote – A Wake-Up Call: Breaking Down Barriers to High-Impact Instruction

Michael Meechin – Principal – Poinciana High School


Principal of a High School of diverse learners, current practitioner – I am in the field every day.

Barriers – no matter what school you work at, or where you’re from, we all have barriers. They all look different, take different shapes and forms depending on staff and student needs.

Our kids are 24/7 learners, and will consume information at 3 AM, and they move through multiple platforms much faster than most grown-ups. Does our schooling allow them to take advantage of their learning styles? We can’t fault them for it, we may watch eight football games at once, or manage multiple input sources at one time.

Game of School

Our kids are nice to us, when they come in and we ask them to open a textbook, most of the time they play along. But the reality is, is this the best way to serve the high needs of the diverse learners in our classrooms.

Books will soon be obsolete in the schools. Our school system will be completely changed in 10 years. – Thomas Edison, 1913

Educators find themselves caught where worlds are colliding. We provide boxed information to our teachers, but students need outside of the box information.

How can we leverage technology?

SpaceX is a phenomenal example of the needs of our student learners. Founded by Elon Musk. About a year ago, successfully landed a rocket, standing upright. Like the nerd superbowl. In Mike’s opinion they immediately changed the landscape for our students. Suddenly careers that we’d never had before were created. There are hundreds of moments like this all around us, that are changing the world.


Our kids are not going to the moon, they are going beyond.

Top 3 skillsets for 2020 future jobs report

  1. Complex Problem Solving
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Creativity

What do we need to do, and how can we make our time at FETC most valuable.

Identify Barriers

What barriers do we need to breakdown and overcome in our school districts? We’ll find lots of technology that is super shiny, and has lots of bells and whistles.

Plan with a Purpose

FETC Strands help. Plan to match participants needs with content sessions.

What to Ask

You have to know what to ask. What questions are you going to ask in the expo hall? It can be intimidating to be there. Prioritize what it is you want to see, and what you want to do. Keep an open mind, look for what is different.

When you get Home

What are you going to do when you get home? What will you do with the learning you consumed? What are you going to share with your team? With your huddle? In Mike’s school, if you go to a conference to learn something, you will then open your classroom, and model what the new learning looks like.

Five Specific Barriers for Teachers

Core Belief: It is about the quality of the educator in the classroom

Disclaimer: It is not about the technology; It is about the pedagogy. If you don’t do the right thing with the tools and technology, you can take steps backwards.

Prep & Planning – Time is a barrier that every school faces. Twitter is one of the best ways. We have to get teachers on Twitter. If you are not, you are missing out on one of the greatest professional development tools available to educators today.

Teaching & Learning – Need feedback to improve teaching. Mike’s school uses GradeCam. We need to provide students with immediate feedback. They can’t wait. Similarly they use CollegeBoard and link PSAT results, to customized prep with KhanAcademy. They were skeptical, but when they did this, the Khan group increased their scores by an average of 120 points. 16 hours of test prep on a free platform, became game changing for their students. Have you unleashed the power of mobile devices. Utilize the computers that are in every students’ pockets. Just having the cell phone out does not make the teaching innovative.

PD & Support – Wouldn’t it be cool to take the Genius Bar approach to your schools? Citrus County Schools – Genius Squad. A students tech team which is responsible for taking care of the technology. Can be booked, for specific help, like a guide on the side. @danvkoch

Intervention – Kids who are at risk for attendance, are signed up for Remind, starting at 5:45 AM, they receive a note. They may receive an inspirational quote, or a “We can’t wait to see you in school”. This increased attendance on average by 60%!

Accessibility – Would love to fly students to Paris, but is happy to use Google Cardboard and help students learn about the world around them. Google Expeditions. Can now use the apps to make 360 images on your cell phone, and then be used in the Google Cardboard. Starbucks is a great analogy for our learning. There are 83,000 menu flavour combinations. How can we take the things that we learn and build the combinations we need for our students?


The work that you do every day, no matter where it is located, or what you have: Matters. Educators and those who work in education are super heroes. Remember, there is no status quo here (at FETC).

Mike’s challenge: Think about why we do the things that we do, and why are we here. How are we going to break down barriers in our buildings, in our school districts?



Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: