One of the biggest disservices we do to our youth is to expect them to graduate from high school knowing what they’re going to do in their future without giving them any guidance or help in figuring that out.
Instead, we need to support their passions and interests while encouraging them to put together their own narrative of success. Because success looks different for everyone.
That story they tell can prepare them for what happens after high school and, even better, they’ll be ready for it.
This week on the podcast, I’m talking with Ekta Sahasi, founder of spikeview, a global pre-professional portfolio platform for students and young adults. We talk about the journey our youngest generation takes on the path through school and how important it is for them to build their own narrative reflecting the way they see themselves now and along the journey.
It’s our job as their teachers and parents to be their guide.
About Ekta Sahasi:
Ekta Sahasi is the Founder of spikeview, a global pre-professional portfolio platform for students and young adults. She is reinventing how Gen-Z represents themselves online, build meaningful networks, and effectively lean in on their diverse experiences and interest vectors to forge a pathway to success.
Before spikeview, Ekta spent 20 years at large corporations and start-ups in Silicon Valley leading Corporate Innovation, Research, Digital Transformation, and start-up spinout efforts. Ekta is also a seasoned technology investor, a mentor, and an advisor, who is always excited to discuss ideas that will have a profound, positive impact on the global society. Among her peers, Ekta is known as a passionate entrepreneur who leads with confidence, candor, and courage.
Jump in the Conversation:
[1:25] – Schools prepare students for school, not real life
[2:36] – Empower students to tell their narrative as they learn
[4:04] – Who is Gen Z and how can we help them connect to real life
[6:54] – What happens when students engage in competitions
[9:25] – Why spikeview is important now
[14:14] – Self-realization matters
[18:18] – What’s preventing spikeview from getting visibility
[20:11] – How businesses can use spikeview
[22:41] – Alumni is a role models for others for connections and collaborations
[22:12] – Collaborating with others in the tech community
[24:36] – How biz can support education more
[28:57] – Turbo Time
[39:50] – Ekta’s Magic Wand
[42:33] – Maureen’s Takeaways
Links & Resources
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
- Email Maureen
- Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools
- The Education Evolution
- Facebook: Follow Education Evolution
- Twitter: Follow Education Evolution
- LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution
- EdActive Collective
- Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids
- Micro-school feature on Good Morning America
- The Micro-School Coalition
- Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 0:03
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at Education Evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of Ed active, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast, please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:08
Hi Ekta, it’s so good to have you on education, evolution.
Ekta Sahasi 1:13
Pleasure to be here, Mureen, I’m excited to be here.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:16
And listeners today I’m chatting with Ekta Sahasi, the founder of Spike view, and let’s dive in. Ekta. It’s said our schools often prepare students for school, not for real life, you’re helping to change how students see and present themselves beyond school. What have you created?
Ekta Sahasi 1:36
Yeah, absolutely. So I think it’s a very interesting question. You know, we have traditionally thought of education, as you know, you know, kids go into school, elementary, middle and high school. And then out on the other side, they’ll either go to, you know, higher ed or, or choose another pathway. And I think that’s worked well for many, many years. But I think kids these days, given the access that they have to internet, and all of the information and services that that are available to them know a lot more and are doing a lot more earlier. And so this notion of, you know, elementary, middle high school, and what students should be doing or could be doing or is doing starts to blend a little bit, right. It’s not certain things that they’re learning at certain points in time, I’ll be there is a framework within which they operate. And that’s what the school provides. What I am trying to do with Spike view is really empower the students with a tool that enables them to tell their story, their narrative, as they’re learning journeys, as they’re learning sets of things at school things that they’re doing outside and starting to put all of these building blocks together. So they can look at their journey more holistically, and understand where are their knowledge centers? What are their passions? And how are they want to take their passions forward. And that’s the essence of Spike view. We enable students to create portfolios privately on their terms, and then they get to step back, reflect on those portfolios and share them based on their needs.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 3:22
I love that and I think you’re right, I think that I know that the kids okay, this is how I am in math. This is how I am in English. But what is my story? Who am I? How do I reflect upon it? How might it build aside from Okay, completed English nine now I’m an English 10. In addition to the checklist, how do I flesh out my whole story? And when we were talking before, you were talking about Gen Z, and I’m wondering if you could define for us who the Gen Z folks are? And what do we need to know about them to bridge where they are, to where what it is that they might contribute and how they might grow beyond school? Because I, I think they’re this island, and we have an obligation to connect it to real life to help them with that.
Ekta Sahasi 4:11
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, the where we specifically focus are, you know, sort of kids in students in the 12 to sort of 25 year old age range, so teens to young adults, and I think we have with all the technology we’ve got out there, and there will be a there’s a lot of technology that connects people. We’ve sort of created these silos, and we sort of will go out there and talk about well, Gen Z, and they’re always on social media. Yes, they are. But that’s, that’s part and parcel of their lives. And you know, that silo is not a full representation of what they do or you know, kids are at school or kids are doing these right it’s it’s a very blended model that I think we have to holistically look at. And I think when I go out and talk to a lot of the students in this age range, a lot of what they talk about is their needs and fears about the future. There’s a lot of uncertainty, they, I think, also recognize that they’re capable of doing a lot more, but just need the guidance, the support, to be able to pull it all together. And that’s, I think, really, the task that we have, as technologists and educators, is to spend the time to really engage and listen to their needs and aspirations and challenges and concerns. And, and help them organize around things that they’re passionate about. So that they can take those areas of concerns those areas of passion, and go deeper and start to examine and work in them to resolve and think about what are the future needs and challenges of the future and how they are going to have their part, the seat at the table to address that. And that I think that sort of connecting those dots, helping them understand how a mathematics class is connected to a future job that they’re gonna have, right, not just the formula, or not the specific thing that they learned in the math class, but the application of that, and what is, what does that all mean, right. And I think that’s best done with stories, it’s best done with examples. And that is, I think, the conversation we’re having, and that is what we’re trying to spotlight with students. The other thing, Maureen, is that we were such an accomplished, men driven society. But what I think oftentimes we don’t maybe as actively recognize or think about is that when a student engages in a competition, there’s going to be one or two or three winners, right. And we all love to spotlight them, we all love to engage them, we all love to show show, showcase what they’ve done. And that’s fantastic. And I think as a society, we need to do that. But behind those winners, there’s probably 100 or 200 students, you know, maybe 1000s of students who’ve put in a lot of work. And they’ve got a lot of, you know, interest and passion in what they’re doing, but yet never get the opportunity to be recognized for their effort. And I think if we can start to recognize that effort, we take everybody else that maybe didn’t win that specific competition and continue to engage and encourage them to participate. And they think that’s what we need to be doing.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 7:44
Love that on so many levels. Yes, I hear kids. So worried about what next and, and seniors, it’s typically finally I’m going to be done with school, but it’s like, oh, my gosh, but I know school, I’m not sure. And so all of that, especially now there’s just more angst and it’s just a tricky time. And at my microscope, we talked about iki guy and you know, where everything blends together, your passion, your strengths, what concerns you have what breaks your heart and and what can you make money at and where and that Venn diagram is that whole part. So I love that you’re asking them to go to their strengths to go to their passions, and you’re acknowledging the 99% that didn’t get the gold medal or the blue ribbon that still have so much to offer and give so yes, yes, yes.
Ekta Sahasi 8:33
And the thing is, Maureen, we have to recognize those are self select groups of people. So there’s a, you know, students or sets of students who’ve done a robotics competition but didn’t win, right, you know, that the fact that they’ve put in the effort to participate and you know, have the perseverance and grit to to be there and put in the hours in slog away. Let’s let’s include them, let’s talk to them. And let’s recognize their efforts. So that they can not look at that point in time and say, Oh, my gosh, I didn’t I didn’t achieve this, or I didn’t get this. Let me move on into something else. Maybe this is not my thing. So I think we have this advantage that we already know these people, we already know these kids are interested in these areas. So why not harness that?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 9:21
Yes, absolutely. Why do you think spike view is especially important right now?
Ekta Sahasi 9:28
Yeah. Um, so, you know, thank you for asking that question. I think it is it is very, very important. And we’re timed very perfectly, because with all of the change that our students are experiencing, you know, most recent because of COVID. But in general if you look at you know, education holistically with alternative pathways being available, and you know, standardized testing coming into question where where do you anchor you know, and as a student Where do you anchor yourself? Right? And from my own personal experience, you know, coming to us as an immigrant, it was really about looking at the experiences I had, and the people that supported and those that supported my journey and those connections that I was able to build, which helped me discover and understand not only myself, but the pathways that were going to be available to me. And so when I look at, you know, these students, and I have three teenagers, and they’re as different as it gets in terms of interest, I think it’s important now that their narrative and the learning journey starts at an earlier age, it doesn’t have to be professional, it doesn’t have to be complete. But it’s got to be a catalog of things that builds and morphs and changes over time, right, and to be able to give them a tool where they can just put all of the stuff in and a beautiful data hub for themselves, and then decide how to represent themselves. It’s empowering. And that’s what our kids need, they need direction, they need empowerment, and they need to be doing this in a place that is personal, it’s safe, you know, without the sort of fear of judgment or without having the sort of public presence or managing a public persona that a lot of students are doing on various platforms. And I think I feel like that’s, that’s what the students need, they need to lean in on who they are to decide what is next for them. And given the change, what better time?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 11:46
Yes, absolutely. And on Spike, you the students own their own material, right?
Ekta Sahasi 11:52
That’s right, they create privately. And they add as much or as little as they want. And they get the opportunity to customize what they share with the individuals or groups of people or communities that they’re going to share about themselves. So a student could share a completely different view of who they are with you, given how they’re going to work with you versus a completely different view with, say, an employer or a college admissions officer. So we give them that power, that control to really own that narrative. And that is actually our tagline as well on your narrative and maximize your potential.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:32
I love that. I like your description of SpyFu as a spruced up LinkedIn for middle and high school students, that paints a vivid picture. And we’ll make sure we put links in the show notes because your platform definitely is that celebration of contributions, and such a wonderful way to showcase unique individuals.
Ekta Sahasi 12:54
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. And, look, no individual is the same. And every narrative on our platform is different. And so we celebrate that. And we recognize the different intersections at which students and young adults said, and I know like, if you look at my narrative online, anywhere on LinkedIn, or on my personal website, you’ll mostly see me to be a technologist, you know, an investor and advisor. But there’s so many of the things I do in my personal life. And a lot of that impacts what I do professionally, and how I connect and these other communities that I’m passionate about. So how do you paint this, you know, sort of comprehensive picture, and I know that in talking to 1000s of students that this upcoming generation is going to sit at different intersections, and are going to have multiple careers and are going to have multiple jobs and gigs simultaneously that they’ll be working on and will have needs to connect into different communities and networks, and have networks that you know, propel them forward in those areas. So So where do you do that?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 14:02
Yes, I completely agree. This is This is wonderful. Can you tell us about this spider chart, what it is, and how does it help represent HD?
Ekta Sahasi 14:14
Yeah, so one thing I do know about this generation is below video, and they love graphics, and the more or less the text, the better. So and so what we’ve done is, you know, oftentimes when you’re creating a narrative of yourself, you start off by, you know, jotting down notes right about a thing you did, or reflection, which is great. And I think we need that we capture that. And there’s lots of assets around that, that basically are things like presentations, YouTube, videos, certificates, badges, whatever. So we enable students to catalog that but as their cataloguing that what we’re trying to do is help them self realize how deep Have they gone into a specific area or how that they’re about that area. And so we enable them to add certain things to their portfolios for that given experience and some magic behind the scenes, that enables us to create this what we call the spike view, or the spider chart, which is a visualization of that students journey as they have listed the experiences on their portfolio. So very graphically, a student can look at the areas that they are, they have indulged in, where they’ve spent most amount of time and, and then look at that to get guidance, or just reflect for themselves and feel good about, you know, oh, my gosh, she didn’t realize I had done so many things over a period of time. Because oftentimes, you know, with time, things blend, and we forget. And so this visualization is very empowering. And we actually had some students tell me how self confident that they feel every so often, when they come and look at that spider chart and add that experience, it makes them feel, it makes them feel enough, it makes them feel like they can take areas of focus and go deeper or de emphasize because they don’t have time for something or not interested anymore. And so it is a visualization that’s auto generated for them.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:15
Love that. And I think to it gives us that want to connect and offer them an internship or a job or a college scholarship, whatever, I think that it really helps us see beyond, here’s what I did in school, here’s my work experience. Here’s my search. That’s the resume the traditional resumes, so two dimensional, and it’s so like it’s a text heavy. And I just think there’s so many ways to embrace the whole student. And a lot of times that traditional resume only parses out some experiences. And it doesn’t really say oh my gosh, when you babysit, you are super compassionate, and creative. And it doesn’t help us see the whole human and I love that you’re celebrating the whole human because that’s what I see at school, I see kids that are so much more than any possible resume and and you’re helping bring that to life. We’re just so affirming. Yeah,
Ekta Sahasi 17:07
yeah. And resumes. I mean, I think there’s a place for them. But the movement as we are going forward, they feel very outdated, right? It’s a very static view of somebody, as you said, a flat two dimensional view. Because it’s these experiences where if I was going to hire a babysitter for my kids, right? I want to know more than you know, I did this job, I was a barista here, right. Like, I want to know, other experiences that humanizes them, right. And I think I would extend that all the way to young adults, as they’re sort of looking at, you know, different careers and hiring managers in corporate America. And otherwise, you’re constantly looking for how people fit into your organization into your culture. And just words alone and work experience alone does not do justice in in really describing and showcasing all the various things that individual brings to the table. So it is a blend much more of a blended view, an experiential based view of who you are as an individual.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 18:12
Absolutely. So Spiveview is free for educators and students cost is not an issue. What have been the biggest struggles or roadblocks to making spike view, a known and used tool with you?
Ekta Sahasi 18:27
Yeah, um, it’s not so much a struggle. As as we are still a startup. I think a lot of it is just kind of gets down to getting yourself out there, right. I’m getting people to understand who we are and who we’re serving, and the why behind it. And I would say, for the past several months, that we’ve sort of been kind of, you know, dabbling, and are out there, risking tremendous amount of success. I would say, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a meeting where somebody has said, Oh, I don’t get it, or I don’t see the need of it. It is so Maureen, visceral, like when I talked to parents and students and educators and employers and college admissions officers, who are looking to figure out how do they get, you know, how do they build these relationships with those talent and, and people understand that this is really, it’s it’s so critical for us to have that view of the student. So I think a lot of it for me at this point, as the founder and CEO gets down to, you know, talking with educators and helping them see and understand. And they’re already there because they see this. They work with the students all day long, right? They see the students as you’re saying, Yes, more than just the grades and the test. So it’s it’s not so much a sell. It’s just a matter of just getting out there and letting people know that we exist.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 19:53
Absolutely. Yeah. And I know I’m starting a microscope, but it just takes time and persistence to get out there. Yeah. So I see so much potential for businesses to partner with Spike view and support you. What are some ideas on how business might tie into this?
Ekta Sahasi 20:12
Yeah, that’s a great question. So we already work with many universities who are sort of looking to have their programs showcase to the students through the spike view platform. So a lot of a lot of that is already happening. There’s a greater, you know, sort of competitive pressure, if I may say, around universities and a four year education right, available. So lots of lots of interest there to see how they can get their amazing programs and their amazing research faculty who can become advisors and mentors for students that really around the globe looking for that support. So I think that’s, that’s one way we’re connecting with companies, lots and lots of interests, especially as they’re looking to hire younger talent, who may not have as much years of experience, but need those fresh perspectives, the, you know, around various functions, they are definitely coming and are looking at spike to use as part of their recruiting process. And I think that’s been phenomenal. The other place where we connect quite a bit with companies is a lot of companies have phenomenal enrichment programs for young adults and students, and they don’t have mechanisms or outlets to connect with this audience. And so the platform enables that to happen. And that’s a huge win win, because students are always looking for some real world experience, they’re always looking for ways to understand and work on creative projects. So So that’s been great, as well. And then service providers, frankly, you know, one of the other things that we’ve got is sort of building ratings and reviews for parents and students to look at service providers and make, you know, informed decisions on what is that right service provider for those students who they’re looking for, let’s say, an AI class in Silicon Valley versus one that sits remotely somewhere else in another country? How do you do that apples to apples comparison, if you don’t have the ratings and reviews, right, so we’re are working with service providers to get their unique services on our platform, and, and then building helping them build reputation that will help again, drive a win win outcome for everyone,
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 22:30
I love all the different stakeholders that can be a part of this, talk to me about how alumni and say my school’s alumni, how might they be a part of this,
Ekta Sahasi 22:40
ya know that, that thank you, again, for asking that. That is That is great. Because look, a lot of alumni have gone through, right, the process themselves, they understand, especially, you know, recent grads, or, you know, folks early in their career, they want to come back and touch base with with their university and students from their university or recognize the value of being a role model and advisor. And so, you know, individuals themselves are coming on as partners on our platform. And a lot of universities and high schools are creating alumni groups, to just initially get everybody connected. But then beyond the connections, like taking that forward and providing services, free or paid to students to be helpful in areas that they need the most. Oftentimes, I will hear things like you know, we have, we’re wanting to engage in this amazing competition, but need an advisor who can help out or oftentimes parents will come and say, We don’t know how to guide our students around possible career paths, how do they know about what are the careers that are available to them. And so we’re able to uniquely Connect, you know, students to those role models, those, those industry experts who have who are in the various functions at corporate and can provide that guidance and advisement to the students. So we’re brokering and facilitating those connections and those collaborations.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 24:09
I love that. So how many others from the tech and startup communities collaborate to support education because I love what you’re doing, and you’re breaking down silos, and we all need to be about education, because you and I know as moms, education is 24/7 It’s not when kids step into this one building and open this one book. They’re constantly learning. So how could businesses, tech and startup communities, how could they be a more active part of supporting education?
Ekta Sahasi 24:41
Absolutely. So tank in startups are working like we live in a day and age and I and I live in Silicon Valley, where there’s a lot of very innovative, interesting things that are going on. There’s lots and lots of amazing ideas that people are working on. That couldn’t have profound impact globally. And so I think a lot of a lot of that is about, you know, sort of systematic dissemination of information. And a lot of what I’m trying to do is, it’s it’s so fragmented today that like, if a student or a young adult wants to have access to something or an opportunity, it really is very driven by connections or, you know, some if some discovery of an opportunity that’s maybe announced on a website somewhere, or whatever, whatever other mechanism, maybe social media. So I think where I’d love to collaborate with technologists and startup community is, if you’ve got interesting things where there is need for participation from students and young adults, or where you have staff that is willing to come to the table to help support and educate students along the journey paths that they’re on, we’d love to talk to them. Because if there’s, if there’s an offering that’s being offered through their website, or social media, here’s another really powerful, powerful channel, to really, you know, get out these students who are hungry and are need in need of this information. And that I want to sort of collaborate with everybody to see how we can take this fragmented ecosystem and put a little bit more structure around it. And making it at the end of the day easier for a student, regardless of the socio economic status that they have, regardless of the connections they have, or their parents have, that that they could access these opportunities for themselves, and feel empowered to reach out and get the support and help that they need.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:50
That is so important, especially as we’re becoming more aware of equity, and how often it is connections or entitlement and, and it doesn’t have to be and we’re all underserved, if we’re not drawing from the whole population, so leveling that playing field making that access, so easy, is a win win.
Ekta Sahasi 27:12
Yeah. And I’m worried I’ll get asked, you know, often on by different groups of folks, so, you know, is this a platform that just makes the the go getters, the leads look even better? Or like, is that a new shiny thing? And honestly, I mean, the backstory on Spike is actually started where, you know, I felt like 80 or 90% of the global population, they have a lot of interesting stuff going on. But maybe it’s not so much, you know, directly tied to an educational thing that they’ve done, or a competition that they want. But nonetheless, they have such amazing experience and such amazing narratives. I mean, I’m in awe every day when I like news come through. And you know, listen to ask me for advice on what should I put on there and like some of these amazing, amazing stories around just things that kids are doing around the house, and how they’re drawing experiences and talent from that, right. And so really, it is about mobilizing a global ecosystem, to tell their story on their terms. And there isn’t a right or wrong, and there isn’t one or a handful of accomplished kids. It’s all of everybody’s story. It’s their individual stories. And it’s their sort of stories that help them showcase how are they unique and shine in their own right. And that’s really kind of what we want. That’s our Northstar. That’s why I am doing what I’m doing is because every student has something interesting to share. And every student has something interesting that they bring to the table that’s of value. It’s just we need to enable them to show that value. And that’s what we’re doing.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 28:56
Absolutely. I love it. I am going to switch gears at the end do a couple of turbo time questions just so that our listeners can get to know you a little better. Ekta. What’s the last book you read?
Ekta Sahasi 29:12
Yeah, I agree. So the last one I read before it’s actually starting my startup was called Grit, the power of passion and perseverance by Angela Duckworth. I love that book. Because I mean, as much as I like to think that and as much as like, outwardly may seem that career and life has been a straight line. It hasn’t. It’s been hard ever since I landed in America when I was 10 years old. It I didn’t know any English and it’s just it’s been one thing after another and when I read that book, it sort of brought it all together. And it’s so true. Even now as I work on my startup every day. It takes so much to just persevere to have this belief that, you know, I’m creating something that’s going to be meaningful, valuable, and ultimately have an amazing impact. And, and there are days where it gets really, really hard. And I leaned back into that book, and I think about the grid. And I think about, you know, just having the passion and to persevere. And keep going, because, because that’s what we have to do.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:24
Absolutely. I really feel empathy for you when you say that, because I experienced that with my micro school, especially right now, in the pandemic, with teachers saying, Yeah, this is too grueling. No, thanks. It’s like, Wait, it’s Yeah, it is. It’s about grit. And if there’s some famous person that says success is getting up one more time, then you fall down. It’s like, oh, my gosh, just just get up again. Come on, get up again. So
Ekta Sahasi 30:52
I completely agree. Yeah.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 30:55
How about two inspirational folks you’d love to meet?
Ekta Sahasi 30:59
Yeah, I’m sort of very different folks. I’d love to meet Mohandas Gandhi. And, you know, just his, his, his thoughts around, you know, tolerance, right. And acceptance. I think I just as I reflect on on our society, and as I look at and talk to these kids that I work with, that’s, that’s important. After tolerance, the acceptance to just understand different points of view and figuring out ways to work effectively with each other, I think if there is going to be a handful of things that are going to be important for our future. It’s about building that understanding of different mindsets, and tolerating and accepting of things that are different than who we are. And I would love to just sort of sit down and talk about that. I’m the complete polar opposite side, I actually love to meet Elon Musk. Reason being. I mean, he he’s, he’s really fundamentally transformed and has such a global impact on these orthogonal things that he does. And I am, I’m constantly trying to figure out and get in his head, like, how, where does this inspiration come from? And then once the inspiration happens, how do you put it all together? How do you take it forward and have the sort of meaningful impact? Um, you know, just what you see in the electric car industry, like completely transformed braid. It was interesting, I was having a conversation with my dad was in Mechanical Engineering. He was, he’s so certain with the education he had that there were electric colors are just a fad. They’re just here to just go. And you’ve had countless conversations about this. But you know, just just what what he’s been able to do and what he’s doing, you know, and thinking about for what we’re gonna do in space, I’m just so into the mindset.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:13
Definitely a brilliant human. How about a TED Talk that inspires you?
Ekta Sahasi 33:20
Yeah. Um, there’s one called, do schools kill creativity by Sir Ken Robinson. I just, I love that one. It’s I love to laugh. And it’s just humorous. I just, it’s a funny, funny dog. But I think more importantly, you know, look, humans have limitless potential. And if we can help unlock our creativity and embrace it, I truly, truly believe that we can create diverse societies that will be ready to deal with the most pressing challenges that humanity will face in the future. In the next, you know, 50 to 100 years. And I think, I think what he talks about, and this was a some time ago, then that he gave this TED talk. I mean, I think what he talks about is absolutely spot on. We don’t know the future. But what we do know is if we can have very diverse and creative mindsets, that we that is the key to unlocking the biggest challenges we face, right? Yes, is high that with like acceptance and tolerance of different ideas, and we think about the power of that. And I do I absolutely believe that creativity is our hope for the future. And when I sit down and talk to my kids at the dinner table, we talked about this a lot, because I think it’s it’s not this or that it’s not one answer. It’s a nation of things that have to come together from different perspectives that will ultimately help us figure out the right course, going forward. And I think that happens with diet. It happens with collaboration it happens with, you know, providing avenues to bring your creative thought process to the table and having the freedom to openly discuss that.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 35:12
Absolutely. And I think it was in that talk, that Serkan gave an example that was kind of reminding us, hey, stop trying to teach fish how to fly. Or, you know, there was a mom and brighten a girl or something. And it said, academics aren’t working. And he watched and this girl was moving. And it’s not it’s like, Have you considered dance? You know, so instead of Come on, she’s not doing well, math, fix her. Then he was like, or look at it through a different lens, that creativity, at the most human level, seeing the possibility in kids instead of they have to all lockstep be a mathematician. So yeah, and here, yeah, I am totally with you. He’s amazing. was amazing. I know. Yes. Yeah. And how, go ahead,
Ekta Sahasi 35:59
I was just gonna add, like, I think we can’t swing the pendulum, like from one site to the next, right. I mean, what our educators are doing day in and day out with our kids the structure, the education that they’re providing? Phenomenal. I mean, phenomenal. That is, what is that is foundational. It’s anchoring. It’s empowering, right. But I think with that we need to add, and we need to continue to indulge in this conversation around well, how do we bring the practical side of things, right? If they’re learning certain class, how do you apply that? And then, and then kind of the piece that we’re dealing with, with Spike view is, once you’ve applied, and you’ve got this amazing experience, how do you show and tell? And how do you talk about it, so that you can build on it and start to connect the dots?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 36:46
Absolutely. What do you think is a passion that you bring, despite you,
Ekta Sahasi 36:50
I think Maureen, just the deep belief in the innate talent, our kids and young adults, we’ve seen, I’ve seen this firsthand with my, my kids, the amount of horsepower of brain power they have, and the the the ability to multitask, and the ability to handle situations that come up, good, bad or indifferent. You know, and in the variety, from academics to social, it’s, it’s mind boggling, I don’t think I could have done anything close to what they do on a day to day basis when I was their age. Mm hmm. And so, you know, how do we sort of, you know, harness that, right. And that, that that’s sort of the question of how do we harness it? How do we enable them more? That that is what I sort of that question is what I bring to the table and that action, and the need to solve it, right? The need to learn from them, and then give them back something that’s going to be meaningful, and purposeful for them, is what I bring everyday to spike view and the openness to understand from them, like I don’t claim to know everything, and, you know, I’ll make a product decision and showcase it to my kids and their friends are like, wow, this doesn’t make any sense. So I gotta be I have to be open, you know, the openness to, and the willingness and the patience to listen and create something that meets them where they need to be met. And that passion and that openness is what I bring.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 38:35
Wonderful. Yes. And what is something about you that most folks don’t know?
Ekta Sahasi 38:44
Something about me that most folks don’t know, um, I think there’s a lot about me, man, I’m a private person, I’ll be the kind of thing that idea doesn’t lend itself to me. I, you know, I just, I like to adapt to things that my kids like to do. So there’s one time where I took up fencing with my daughter that was she was gonna do use the timer and I took up soccer because that’s what my boys do. So I just, I think, for me, it’s it’s just variety and trying things as I go. And I will try and take on on a challenge from them any day for anything. And, and I do that very regularly, and I’ve done some pretty crazy things around that.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 39:37
Impressive. I know when my girls took on roller derby it was like, Oh, heck no, I will go sit in the stands and figure out how this works. But oh my gosh, good for you.
Ekta Sahasi 39:48
So far, all the bones are intact.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 39:50
I love it. I like to wrap up the interviews with a magic wand moment. So If you had a magic wand, how would you wish youth and the business university communities? How would you wish that they could collaborate?
Ekta Sahasi 40:12
Yeah. We have a lot of enabling technologies out there. And on top of which we’re building a lot of very interesting, amazing, exciting things. I think my, my ask would be, as we do that, let’s be very, very thoughtful about how do we do it in a way that is, of course, one profitable for for companies and businesses, but also meaningful and thoughtful and bringing societies and communities together. And I think, I think there is an intersection where companies can operate and products can survive at the intersection of social good and profitability. And I think we need to work together to amplify that. And we need to figure out ways that will be additive and take our societies in the more positive direction and really be self critical of things that may have been done in the past or technologies that have been deployed in the past that have had some negative consequences. It is incumbent upon all of us educators, parents, companies to come together and have this and venture capital also have this honest dialogue about you know, how do we where are we headed? How do we course correct if we’ve made some challenging decisions that have had some negative consequences? And then how do we make sure that every decision is informed by this combination of social good and and of course profitability?
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 42:03
On Love it, Ekta Thank you, thank you for what you are doing so that our wonderful rainbow of youth and young adults get to tell their stories and can showcase how special they are. Even if it’s not in that, especially if it’s not in that traditional resume. manner. Your what you’re doing is really empowering. So thank you.
Ekta Sahasi 42:27
Thank you Maureen, it was a pleasure to be here.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 42:39
Isn’t it wonderful that spike view saw a need and is meeting it. I appreciate that spike, you started to let students share the amazing stories they have. As an employer, I’d want to hear about skills like mediating between friends, and following up on jobs for a big project. Not every trait aligned with traditional resume categories or accomplishments, equity in access to resources. So it’s not just the connection some kids might have. It’s equity for all. If there is an offering out there spike view is another powerful channel to get out the information to students hungry for it. letting kids tell their stories on their terms, and shine on their own right empowers learners. And as actor says, Every student has something interesting of value that they bring to the table, we just need to let them have a way to show that value. With the visual component. This does less than the text and create a spruced up linked in that works for this younger generation. And this spike view, visual being auto generated shows the students journey as they’ve listed their experiences in their portfolio. I really liked looking at this spider chart. And it’s a great visual for both self reflection and to help employers see patterns and a unique overview. Creating a broader base of accomplishments is very important. I know when I interview young teachers, I want to know much more than their job history. Getting to share experiences humanizes the candidate and creates a warmer conversation. The collaborations with mentors, alumni, employers, prospective universities, and service providers makes this tool so robust, the possibilities are endless, wonderful job spike view. And as always, thank you for being a part of the education evolution.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy 45:01
If you are finding yourself thinking, I need to do this in my school, let’s talk about it. I consult and also have a book, TEDx talk an online course to support starting learner driven schools and programs. My goal is to help schools and individuals find new innovative solutions to reaching every student. Let’s create an action plan together, visit education evolution.org forward slash consult to book a call and let’s get started. Education evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. I’d be so grateful if you’d head over to your podcast app to give a great rating and review if you found this episode. Valuable. Don’t wait. Please do it right now. Before you forget. I really appreciate it. Thank you listeners, signing off. This is Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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