TransformEd Change Agents: Derek Tangredi

Two teachers work together at a laptop, with the headline "TransformEd: Class of 2030"

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Derek Tangredi is the Director of Integrated STEAM Education at Fair Chance Learning. He’s dedicated to engaging and empowering students while uncovering their passions through coding, maker spaces, and inquiry. Derek joined FCL with a background in education, engineering, and business. He’s currently on a leave of absence from the Thames Valley District School Board in Ontario to share his knowledge of STEAM education and extend learning beyond the classroom. As a recognized expert in STEM education, he has spoken at events across Canada on subjects including maker spaces, coding in the classroom, math, engineering, and robotics. Derek has also been an advisor and consultant for schools, helping them identify and acquire the edtech resources and technology that fill their needs.

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What small changes can you make in the classroom that have profound effects on long-term outcomes?
When I think of education and the needs of today’s students, I wonder how we as educators can transfer more agency to the learner.  This change can take a variety of forms while having a profound impact on education.  Empathy, inclusion, student voice, differentiation, and accessibility are outcomes that occur when learning is both purposeful and authentic, driven by students.  As education evolves, we should consider that our students are evolving within it.  Ultimately, I think the answer to this question lies within another: “How do we create environments where students feel safe enough to take chances with their learning?” That’s what will lead to multiple pathways of success.

If we’re empowering student voice today, what qualities will that translate to when they join the workforce tomorrow?
Student voice affords children with the ability to empathize, collaborate, and communicate with individuals throughout the world.  When students are able to share their learning, they’re utilizing 21st-century skills that will benefit them far into the future.  This form of idea-sharing leads to invention and innovation.  When students consider alternative viewpoints, they learn to examine both sides of an argument, which leads to empathy-building.  This foundation affords students the opportunity to explore larger issues pertaining to social justice and the global competencies, the foundations for learning. Technology equips students with the ability to share their inquiry with others throughout the world in the hopes that they become creators of content rather than just consumers.  Today’s students are bound by nothing, and what they hear and say today is going to shape what they do in the future.

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To learn about ways you can empower future-ready education in your classroom, visit microsoft.ca/transformed. Explore edtech tools for teachers at microsoft.ca/education. You can find resources, courses, and a community of like-minded educators at education.microsoft.com.

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