Leading Education with What We Value with Jennie Magiera
August 8, 2023
Leading Education with What We Value with Jennie Magiera

The possibilities are endless in education as technology offers new opportunities every year. But are we using that technology to support teachers, who can then support their students?

This week on the podcast, I’m talking with Jennie Magiera, global head of Education Impact at Google. She’s also a bestselling author and former teacher and school administrator. She found her way to education after a transformative school year as a young girl and that’s helped her throughout her career as she tries to create that same experience for other students.

Jennie and I talk about her vision for facilitating teacher support. She talks about the need to reimagine professional learning experiences, allowing teachers to start with their hopes in training sessions. And she shares about the recently published Future of Education report, which studied the future of education across 24 countries. In her analysis of these reports, she provides a glimpse into the changing landscape of education. She emphasizes the ongoing need to understand and respect future users of educational technology and elaborates on how these changes affect students, schools, and the broader education system.

If you’re looking for a sign that education CAN change, from the inside out, then this is the episode to listen to. With leaders like Jennie at the helm, anything is possible.

About Jennie Magiera:

Jennie Magiera is the Global Head of Education Impact at Google, the Corwin bestselling author of Courageous Edventures and the founder and president of the non-profit organization, Our Voice Alliance, whose mission is to elevate marginalized voices and perspectives to improve equity & empathy in education. Previously, she was the Chief Program Officer at EdTechTeam, the Chief Innovation Officer for the Des Plaines Public School District 62, the Digital Learning Coordinator for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, and a Chicago Public Schools teacher. Jennie uses her classroom experiences to inform her work supporting educators to create new and better opportunities for their students. She believes that despite the many challenges facing schools today, every classroom can be a place for “edventures”: student-centered, passion-based experiential learning. Her work centers around acknowledging problems and finding innovative ways to navigate them so as to allow teachers and students to dive into these classroom “edventures”.

Jennie is also passionate about reimagining professional learning to facilitate more relevant teacher support. She has served on the Technical Working Group for the US Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan, helped develop the Dynamic Learning Project, and co-founded various conference concepts such as PLAYDATE and Teachers for Tomorrow. She has been recognized for her work as an Obama White House Champion for Change, Chicago Public Schools Innovator of the Year, TEDx Speaker, Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google for Education Certified Innovator, and featured on various programs such as NBC’s Education Nation, C-SPAN’s Reimagining Education and NPR.

Jennie shares her experiences taking risks in the classroom and helping others to feel comfortable doing the same in her book, Courageous Edventures. You can follow her on Twitter at @MsMagiera and learn more about her work and her book at bit.ly/edventuresbook.

Jump in the Conversation:

[1:52] – Where Jennie’s story of school transformation began
[3:49] – Teaching in NYC to south side of Chicago and seeing disparate opportunities
[6:30] – What are Edventures?
[8:40] – Beyond the classroom, facilitating teacher support
[10:56] – How can we allow teachers to start with their hopes in trainings
[12:55] – The role of Google for Education
[15:37] – Google’s Trends in Education Report
[16:10] – Future of Education Report
[18:11] – Looking into the future
[26:24] – What’s next for Google Education
[27:49] – What students, parents, educators can do to help be prepared for future
[29:01] – Coming into it with curiosity
[36:35] – Maureen’s Takeaways

Links & Resources



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 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 1:07
Hi, Jennie, it is wonderful to have you on Education Evolution today.

Jennie Magiera 1:12
Thank you so much for having me.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:14
And listeners. today I’m chatting with Jennie Magiera. Jennie is the Global Head of Education impact at Google. Also, the Corwin Best Selling Author of courageous adventures, and the founder and president of the nonprofit, our voice Alliance, whose mission is to elevate marginalized voices and perspectives to improve equity and empathy and education. She also has previous school district and classroom teaching experience. Today we’ll learn more about Jennie and also Google’s recent trends in education report. Let’s dive in. Jennie. We know our schools must evolve to serve all learners. Where did the story of school transformation begin for you?

Jennie Magiera 1:58
Well, I think it began when I was a student. So I when I was a little girl. I think first grade I moved from the Boston area to Orlando, and I found I was the only person who looked like myself in my community and my school. And I faced I was I was had a really hard time adopting and adapting to the space. And it wasn’t until grade four I had this teacher Mrs. Bachman, who was the best teacher I’ve ever had, and made me feel like I could be my full self at school. And she went out of her way to make everyday feel like an adventure. I remember reading The Hobbit in her class on the carpet and just being like, Oh, my God. Sparkman is Gandalf. She’s a wizard, she’s taking me an adventure. Everything she did felt magical. And I remember sitting there thinking, I want to be a teacher when I grow up, not only because the specimen was so inspirational, but because the teachers I’d had previous to those years from grades one through four, had not really been there in that space. And that way, and in some ways, you know, now that I can see as a practitioner created some harm as well. And so I know that the right, the right caring adult, the right supportive practitioner can really mean the difference in a young person’s life, especially when someone is going through a lot of challenges in and around their school life like I was. And so I think Mrs. Bachmann really set me on the right path, I could have gone in a different direction. And I was really struggling, but she helped me find myself and I think I am where I am today because of her. So that was the beginning of my like, the teacher matters, the School Matters, a lever for change for people. And then when I became a practitioner, I started in New York City, and was in Washington Heights, Harlem, and then the Upper West Side and seeing the disparity of a really affluent school, all New York City public schools, but looking at how like different schools across the Department of Education, even in that small radius all within Manhattan, were so there’s so much disparate opportunity and access and systems and structures. And then I went and from that to teaching on the Southside of Chicago. And similarly, seeing how schools schools can make the difference. And the communities they serve often get blamed for being the reason that the school is what it is or isn’t. But that’s not the case. It’s the school’s opportunity to be to be the agent of change and to stand up and to best serve the community and not the other way around. And so, when I started teaching at a school in the Southside of Chicago, it was a really great exemplar of how with really strong leadership and transformational thinking, we were able to, you know, kind of rise to the opportunity of best serving the community. And that community, you know, really met us there And I’m still friends with some of my students who I had in grade four. And it just it was a really powerful moment for me as a professional to see the power of transformation and, you know, my responsibility as an educator to, to show up as the best version of myself for my students in the community.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 5:19
Absolutely. I’m curious, you said you were a fourth grade teacher.

Jennie Magiera 5:24
Yeah, I taught a couple grades. But like, I think in my heart, I identify as a four teacher.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 5:29
Does that have anything to do with Mrs. Buckman

Jennie Magiera 5:32
1,000%. So, I remember I also was super, like naive. And I remember like going in as like a 21 year old straight out of school and being like, I’m going to be a fourth grade teacher. And I’m going to do exactly what Mrs. Bachman did. And then I went to like, the job fair. And they were like, oh, no, you’re gonna take whatever job people give you. And this was like, a while ago, so it was kind of like we, we don’t need you as much as you need is like, you don’t get to pick which school you teach at. You don’t get to like pick which grade like, that’s not how this works friends, especially because I was like working in big school districts like New York and Chicago. So it was really, really random and like it that I ended up getting to teach fourth grade because I for a minute, I was teaching like grade six English and kindergarten. And so finally being able to be in fourth grade was magical.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:23
Oh, I love that full circle. Jennie, you’re on fire for learning in so many ways. Let’s start with the classroom. What are Edie ventures?

Jennie Magiera 6:35
So that obviously was stemmed out of Mrs. Buckman and reading The Hobbit on her her green carpet. And, you know, so, Mrs. Buckman you start every morning off and say Good morning, boys and girls, are you ready for our adventure? And I hated going to school until then, like I would fake sick I would get the thermometer stick it in a light bulb like do whatever I could do to like, get out of school. And the year that I was in school with Mrs. Buckman I got mono. And I fit in well, like I did everything I could I like I remember going to my I was like, I remember could tell I was pale and I went and I put on makeup in my mom’s bathroom because I didn’t want her to know I was sick. And I was put like cold compresses and I got dressed. And I was like, The Walking Dead. I was so sick. And, and also given the current atmosphere and the pandemic, it was also very irresponsible of my nine year old self to go because my whole class ended up getting mono obviously, because I school with it. But I wasn’t thinking I was just like, I didn’t want to miss school. And the reason I faked well and wasn’t thinking about health and wellness of my peers and teacher was because I had school FOMO Mrs. Buckman was the first time that I was so scared to miss school because I didn’t want to miss the adventure, I knew that she had designed something super compelling and exciting for me as a learner. And I was so scared to miss what she was going to do. Because everything was so fun. And so like the idea of adventures, Ed and ventures that I wrote my book about was like, how do we create these moments for students? And how do we make? How do we as educators, make students so thirsty for learning that, okay, we don’t want them to come to school sick, but we want them to have school FOMO or to like when they’re not there be like, I don’t want to miss it, because something awesome is happening.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 8:29
I love that. And that’s how it should be should be that spark for learning is, is fanned, and it grows. And it’s not extinguished in schools, per se. Yeah. So beyond the classroom, you’re also an advocate for reimagining professional learning to facilitate more relevant teacher support, and you’ve done award winning work in this area, even at a national level. So can you talk to us about your vision for teacher training, and education?

Jennie Magiera 9:00
Yeah, so I think similar to student, I think it’s funny educators, myself included, as a former district administrator, and professional learning person, we would we would like, you know, bent over backwards to create these experiential, magical adventure type moments for our students. And then we would go to staff training and be like, Okay, it’s an inservice. Let’s pile like 300 teachers in the gym, and put on a PowerPoint slide and talk at them for eight hours. And it would be like, terrible, and I say that as someone who’s guilty of doing that to my colleagues. And I remember when I first started getting into educational technology, I would come in with my agendas. So when I was a digital learning coordinator, I went to one of our buildings and I wheeled in my cart of devices. And the room had a door in the front of the room and a door in the back. And they walked in I was like, Alright, everyone we gotta get on these devices. Were one to one this year and the teachers literally ran away from me not like metaphorically, they all like ran out. factor. And I went home and I remember I called my mom. I was like a grown lady, but I call my mom, I have a hard day my colleagues literally ran away from me. My mother said to me, she was like, Well, what did why did? What did you do? And I’m like, why? Like, you’re supposed to be on my side. But my mom being my mom, she was like, made me like, stop and reflect. And I realized I was going in with my agenda was telling them what I wanted them to learn what I thought was important for them. And then I thought, like, that’s not what I do with my students, I allow them to have more agency in their learning to talk about their interests I been preaching. I did one PD about passion based learning and challenge based learning with teachers, right, allowed them to have zero agency and passion and challenges and loathing. I was like, how hypocritical can I be? So the book that I wrote, and the work that I’ve done, has been really about when we do professional learning with teachers? How do we allow them to start with their hopes, their challenges, their problems, or practices, their opportunities, for magic, and to say like, this is what I think about overnight when I put my head on my pillow, because teachers I think most teachers like it’s in our DNA. So like, we think about it all the time. It’s not like we clock out at three or four or five or 10. And we’re done. Like you’re always thinking about your students in your classroom. So when they’re asleep at night, like what are they dreaming about? And what do they think when they wake up. And then if we lead professional learning with what they’re most is front of mind for them, it’s going to have more bias and more impact, it’s going to be more powerful for the student learning. So I really tried to really build the body of work that I’ve done before coming to Google on now that I’m here around teacher centered learning and really following their lead and making sure we’re clearing their plate rather than adding to it via professional learning.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 11:58
Like that. We talked about learner centered, but how often do we talk about teacher centered learning? Exactly, yeah. I know, in my microscope, we have a week without walls three times a year, and the winter one between semesters is called intensives. And the teachers start with their passion. And they all design many courses. So it might be cooking, it might be snowshoeing, and when they get to start with their passions, the kids then pick a topic not knowing which teacher it is. But to be led by somebody that on the side is an amazing chef, or has done work with rescue animals. It’s so beautiful to see teachers on fire to see how the kids really respond to that. So I wish I did it more. I wish we had more of that in our micro school too. So it’s definitely something important for us all to do more of and to make a regular practice. Jenny, I want to switch and talk about Google for Education. What is the role of Google for Education? And what is yours as Head of Education impact?

Jennie Magiera 13:02
Yeah, so Google for Education, we are a multi, multi layered organization. I always think about that, that quote from Shrek, where he says, like Ogres are like onions. Because we have multi layers. I was like, Google is like an onion, we have multi layers. So one of the layers is around building the products. So there’s a whole product team who builds products that educators and students know and love, like Google Classroom. And we have another team who helps folks get awareness and visibility of those products, understand what the narrative is, what the value opportunities are, our marketing team, and we have an entire go to market team that supports you know, the relationship with school systems and educators. So, you know, they would have a close relationship, like, for example, with my old district or the Chicago public schools to help them understand like, what are their needs? What are they? What challenges are they trying to address, what opportunities they try to meet? And how might Google for Education Solutions be being a tool to help them get there, and my team is really around the educator facing programs. So once the product team builds the programs, the marketing team makes folks aware of the programs and our go to market team helps connect, I’m sorry, programs, solutions products, helps connect educators and institutions with the products my team makes sure that they’re getting the most impact out of it. So how are we giving them scaled enablement, like professional learning, training to be able to best use these solutions to support themselves in student learning? How are we creating communities of educators to support each other and for us to support not only to create spaces where they can share best practices, successes, challenges, hopes, dreams, but inspire each other and not feel like they’re alone on an island of innovation? And how do we recognize all the amazing work and effort that educators around the world are doing? And, and making sure that they feel seen and validated and valued by not just by Google, but by, you know, the world by everyone. And and as an educator like that mental that’s, that’s huge. That’s not nothing. I think educators are one of the many undervalued professions in the world. And so that’s one of the key roles of my team is making sure we, we share the love.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 15:25
Oh, I like that, that that onion description makes good sense. So onto the report, the the trends in education. I know Part one was preparing for the future, and it discusses the future importance of lifelong learning. We can’t just graduate from high school and be done forever. And I’ve linked the report, the blog summary and the YouTube video series in the show notes so that listeners can dive in. Part two is addressing evolving how we teach and learn. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the first two parts. And then have you do a deeper dive into Part Three, the reminiscing eco systems, and how to apply the findings. So I’m going to turn it over to you.

Jennie Magiera 16:10
Yeah, so I love this feature of Education report. Basically, what happened was, you know, Google builds tools. And we, when we went for a lot of it, no, this is an educator, but it takes sometimes like three or four years from like, where the lightbulb goes off that like this would be a really neat thing to build. So like it actually being in the hands of a student in the classroom, it takes a long time to do so, you know, minimal a couple years, sometimes like five years or more. And so when you get that idea of like you and I more mean, we’re sitting in like a Google engineering lab or a product team and saying like, Oh my god, wouldn’t it be amazing if we made Google product black, and we’re like, Oh, my God, Black could change the world. I can’t wait to Blab. That’s, you know, Wednesday, April 26 2023, that we had the idea to make a blip. But it might not come out until 2028. So we’re building something literally for the future. And as we build Google’s one of our core principles, as many, as I think most are like, is honor the user respects the user, like who’s going to use this. And we don’t necessarily know who the user is in 2028. Because that’s years from now, that’s the future. So historically, that was a challenge. But you know, I think back to when I started my education career, about two decades ago, my math classroom from year one of teaching to your seven was kind of sort of similar, right? Like, I think somewhere within that, like lattice multiplication became a big deal and blew everyone’s mind. But besides that, it was like, fairly similar. But with the global pandemic, generative AI, et cetera, the the landscape of education is changing at a much more rapid pace. So those five years from idea to make product lead to product blebbing. And students classrooms are incredibly impactful and could completely mean, the user is going to be totally different. So it was really important for Google to understand, like, have a crystal ball and look into the future. And so that’s where we worked with Canvas eight, and the American Institute for Research and, like, kind of catalyzed this report. So it spans 24 countries, it is a global report, we spoke with 94 educational experts, and we broke the report into three parts, each with three trends or chapters, because you know, the human mind, like loves to remember three fairy tales, love three is just by not three is a magical number. So there’s the three reports, we could kind of go with like the formal name, but the kind of shorthand way we like to refer to it internally and with our friends externally is report one is about the self learner, the student, report two is about the school or the, you know, the individual building or the smaller like community. And then report three is about the entire system like like looking at the institution level, or like the structural level. So it kind of goes from like a very zoomed in lens to a 10,000 foot lens as you get to each report. And so in that first report around self, it’s really talking about like how our students are changing and what their students are going to need to be successful in the future are changing. So there’s, you know, a lot of data that folks will have heard similar about, like how, you know, the jobs that they’re going to have, when they grow up don’t exist yet. The skill sets that they need to be successful in their career are kind of left of what like the core curriculum has been historically, in kind of the more Horace Mannion you know, education industry complex, and that, but beyond that, it really dives into the concept of like global problem solving, like looking at how what the pandemics taught us that we’re going to need when they grow up to be problem solvers, not at the micro community. level but at a global level, how are they developing the social emotional skills to be culturally competent? And to understand how problems situate themselves differently? You know, from Darfur to Detroit, and what is the difference between South Dakota and South Korea. And then what we also are moving past this, like learning just happens in an institution mindset for a learner and that lifelong learning mindset so that, you know, my grade four student isn’t going to be done learning in you know, 567 years, but there’ll be learning forever because of things like YouTube and and Tik Tok, and what have you like, they’re going to be in a media rich environment where they’re constantly going to be learning and the ability to get microcredentials, like through grow with Google. So when we look at the students, and the life time of learning they’re going to have it really changes the way we approach the learning process from both from a Google point of view, but also for educators. So that’s the stuff I’ll pause there, because I could just keep going to see if, yeah,

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 21:04
perfect. No, I think you’re totally on the right track. So if this is working for you, I’d love to have you keep going.

Jennie Magiera 21:10
Yeah, sure. Okay, so then on the school level, so we’ve got the students we’re looking at that in the school, we’re looking at, like, what are some of the factors that make a school powerful? So the way that we teach, for example, and how do we rethink personalized learning? And how do we use technology like generative AI to make sure that we’re teaching for each learner? I recently was talking to a fellow educator, and they told me that they are very intentional with their language, and they don’t say, I teach all learners or I designed for all learners, they say they designed for each learner, because the linguistic differential of all to each all is kind of peanut buttering versus each means I’m creating a single individual experience for each learner. And I love that I love that intentionality of language. And I think personalized learning via the use of AI is about each learners that Peter buttering. So we’re kind of like, glow is common denominator getting everybody it’s saying no, let’s create a bespoke experience for each person that makes them feel seen at school and makes them feel that what we have for them was designed and you know, cooked fresh just for them, and then elevating that teachers. So we want to make sure at the same time that we’re bringing technologies like generative AI into the space that we’re really very intentional and articulate in, in how we’re discussing this and designing this, that it is meant to elevate the teacher, not supplant the teacher. So everything we do is about how do we help the teacher who we have deep respect for, be better at what they do, and, you know, be able to do what they do and use their their skill set to do more and go further. And without, like, you know, burning the midnight oil and getting zero asleep and grading Exit Tickets late into the night. How do we elevate them and help them be an even better version of themselves? So how do we make sure that technology is putting rocket boosters on the teacher and not replacing the teacher? And I think there is a danger that we’ve seen historically, where people think that technology could replace the teacher, but from Google’s point of view, that is, that is absolutely not the way we want to go, we want to make sure everything we’re doing is about supporting teachers. And then finally, at the system’s level, like how are we rethinking learning environments. So thinking beyond the four walls of the school in Chicago, we have like city of learning every summer. So like, libraries, museums, like communities, like are all like you can like learn through the entire city all summer long. And they would do that in cooperation with Chicago Public School. So I would kind of like say, you know, in June, like, Oh, by students like releasing, you went to the summer seal in the fall, but then like, I wouldn’t just say like goodbye, like, pause on learning, like, use the city use the riches of your community to keep learning and it doesn’t need to be, you know, limited to students who live in an urban environment. We’ve seen learning environments span in rural communities and suburban communities, like everywhere you live is a community of some sort. And there’s so much to learn from the spaces, whether you’re in central Illinois on farmland and exploring like the agricultural community and like the science and society, get that space to, you know, a suburban community and like a small town hall and like, what does it take to like keep the town running to the Fourth of July celebration and the math and the science and social science that goes into that and to the urban community where you have libraries and museums and like great works of art surrounding you. And so how do we bake that into the system? So it’s not happenstance or interstitial learning but codified into the way the system is built to support the learner? And how do we use data to share information about learners crossed institutions so that learners are supported in a robust way throughout their entire career throughout a system? And we’re not relearning them, every time you change over the adults, we’re supporting them. And even with data, how are we re evaluating student progress, Andy Hargreaves once said, we should measure what we value not just value what we measure. And for so long, we were valuable what we measured because we were limited by what we can measure. So we had to value what we could but now with generative AI with technology we could we the things that we can measure at scale, that aperture has brought it we can measure a lot more qualitative work, project based work and, and see it at scale and capture it and through data. So how do we reevaluate what we’re what we’re evaluating for student progress? And are they the right things for what we think will create the best humans to take over society of tomorrow.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 26:11
I like that I like that end game, creating the best humans to be living in and taking over the society. So with this information, what’s next for Google for Education?

Jennie Magiera 26:26
So we’re absolutely using all of the things that we learn from this future of educational report to really internalize and synthesize what’s next for us, I think we’re still continuing to have deep conversations with educators around the world to validate and pressure test hypotheses we have for what we should build. We’re centering everything on the learner and the educator and making sure what we’re building is really what they’re going to need tomorrow, today and tomorrow. And then, you know, the whole conversation around, you know, artificial intelligence in the school systems and learners is definitely a conversation we’re having. I’ll say that, we are always really, really cognizant around the, you know, our role in it, and ensuring we’re following ethical guidelines for AI and best practices, while maintaining, you know, a strong point of view around what we can do and how our products can support educators and students. So a lot of it is a work in progress. There’s a lot of folks cooking right now, in all of the Google Labs like dreaming up what can be. But I will say it’s really centered on the themes that you heard today and the future of education report.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 27:41
Oh, that is super exciting. I can’t wait to see what comes next from this. What would be for our listeners, parents, educators, business people, what would you say are a few steps that they can be taking to help us think about learning as as lifelong and without walls and something that is really relevant and learner centered? What can they do to help us get out of this status quo landscape and be prepared for the future?

Jennie Magiera 28:12
I think, you know, for me, I talk a lot to my team about having humility. A lot of us are career educators, some folks are like career Googlers. And I say no matter where you come from, or what your background is, or how many letters you have behind your name, or experience you have in your resume, we’re all learners, like, we’re all lifelong learners. And so, like, I, I am trying to come at my work with with a deep sense of humility, and that the world is changing so much so fast. And even what I thought I knew might not be the case anymore. And what I went to bed believing today might not be the case tomorrow. So I’m constantly asking questions. I’m, I’m trying to have that growth mindset. And I really invite my team and my colleagues to as well to say, what, what is different? What don’t we know? So for example, I taught in Chicago Public Schools for so long. My daughter Lucy is now four and a half years old, and in Chicago, our neighborhood Chicago pre K. And I am coming in at from a parent point of view. Also, I’m coming in it from not having worked in the schools for a few years. And it’s wild to me how different the spaces and I could totally come in being like, I was a district administrator, I worked in schools forever. I have a really fancy schmancy title like Google for Education. But I try come into the space with curiosity, with wonder with humility, and it really is serving my daughter better, and it’s serving me better because I’m able to be really open and be like here, what the practitioners and the professionals in this space are trying to do. And I’m doing that and all the spaces so we live we like to walk to the library every Friday. So pick up Lucy and then we go to the Chicago Public Library and adds, I was always rushing and I wasn’t really like reading the walls, I’d be like, Okay, we’re Lucy, we’re, we gotta get your boat, get dinner, get home, pick up your little sister, rare. And I started to slow down. And as we walked into the library, that first vestibule I like, we stopped me, they just looked at the bulletin board, and looked at the flyers. And I realized that there was like a multi lingual family connection that we could be a part of. And they were doing a really cool walking tour for spring in our neighborhood to like, explore seeds, and then come back and read books about seeds. And I’m like, I would never, ever think to do that. And I live in this really vibrant city city in this vibrant neighborhood in Chicago. And you know, I have all these resources they walk by every day that I’m I’m not aware of because I’m not taking the moment to like, be curious about my space. So my advice to everyone, no matter your role, no matter whether you’re a caregiver, a an educator, a tech developer is Be humble and be curious, because you’d be really surprised what surrounding you and what we’re not seeing.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:06
I love that. Jennie, toward the end of the interview, I like to switch and let the listeners get to know the person behind the idea a bit more. May I ask you some turbo time questions?

Jennie Magiera 31:19
Yeah, I’d love it. Let’s play.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:21
Awesome. What’s the last book you read?

Jennie Magiera 31:24
So I just finished the violin conspiracy by Brendan Slocum. It was amazing. And I’m right now reading sky Hunter by Marie Liddell. And I get so many good new titles from that question.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 31:37
How about two inspirational folks you’d love to meet?

Jennie Magiera 31:41
Well, two Michelle’s, of course, Michelle Obama, the Queen would love to meet her. Think I actually did get to meet her husband when he was in office. I was a White House Champion of Change. And I remember like the crew of us who are all Champions of Change were like meeting the President and a couple of us had sad faces and they’re like, Oh, are you okay? We’re like, we really wanted to meet Michelle. The woman like Michelle is like the real the real star there, right? I mean, you know it of the free world. Okay, but Michelle Obama, right. The second is Michelle Yeoh, as an Asian American woman, and just like seeing like her just like, from the her whole career, she just everything she does is amazing. She is literally everything everywhere all at once. And I love her and I would love to meet her.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 32:28
Nice. How about a pet peeve of yours?

Jennie Magiera 32:33
Who I don’t like there’s two things I don’t like people are passive aggressive. I’d rather you just be aggressive or I don’t like that versus be like, Oh, well. And the other thing I don’t I don’t live in Title behaviors. I like again, I like really value humility as as something as a as a way to be in a mindset. So entitlement. Entitlement gets me. I don’t like that.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 32:57
Yep. Oh, what about a favorite thing or fun fact about Chicago?

Jennie Magiera 33:02
Oh, okay. So you’re talking to a grade four teacher here who like, thinks, well, grade three and grade four is a grade three is Chicago history. I taught that for a bit. And then Illinois four. But two fun facts I have is we’re not called Second City because we’re second to another city in the United States is because of the Chicago Fire. So when the city burned down, they built a second city on its ashes. And the second one is we’re not called the Windy City because of the wind or the weather. It’s because of 19th century politicians of the newspapers said they were full of hot air. And so that’s why we’re in the Windy City.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 33:38
Love it. And what is something that most folks don’t know about you?

Jennie Magiera 33:43
I’m a huge introvert and I know a lot of people who are out there who are like speakers are like oh, like I’m actually an introvert I super AM. I get really nervous. And large social settings. I’m fine on a stage. I’m fine chatting with you in this one on one space, but put me at a cocktail hour and I will be so uncomfortable. I hide in my hotel room. Or like I have to sleep for like a week after a conference because it’s just, it takes a lot of energy from me. I love humans, but just there’s something about like social settings that make me really nervous.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 34:16
Yes, I hear you. I like to wrap up with a magic wand moment. So I am handing you the education evolution magic one, Jennie, what would you wish for our children around the globe right now for their learning experience and the outcomes from it?

Jennie Magiera 34:35
Oh my gosh, that’s so hard. I think like I think like my head goes to Maslow’s right. It’s like, first I want them to be safe. I think about everything that’s happening around the world right now and how many students don’t even have the privilege to have the best learning because they’re just not safe. can’t learn I want them to be safe in terms of like safety from conflict but also safety in terms of like, have a warm place to sleep every night and food to eat. I guess after that, then like if we want to go on the total opposite side in terms of like innovation and what is best learning look like, I want every child to feel like I did a miss Buckland’s class. So like if they’re safe and they’re going to school and they’re having that learning experience and have access to school, which is also not a given. But if they do then they feel so cared for at school and so excited by what, what the educators in their space are cooking up for them that they like literally, that they hate summer and they don’t want the day to be over. And they don’t ever want to miss a day of school that like they’re so excited. And I do have to say I’m so privileged because Lucy’s feeling that Lucy has the best teacher this year, my four and a half year old. She loves school and whenever it’s Friday, she’s like, No. So I have seen my dream come true with my daughter right now. And I’m so grateful to be part of our neighborhood Chicago Public School and I got a shout out to her teacher Mrs. Gable, man, thank you for for being a wizard to my daughter. I’m gonna cry.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 36:06
But it’s so important and our children are so precious. Those are beautiful magic wand wishes, Jennie, thank you, thank you for all that you are doing and for modeling that humility and that curiosity and and thank you for being our guest today on Education Evolution.

Jennie Magiera 36:23
Thank you for having me.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 36:33
School FOMO fear of missing out on school. I love that Jennie had and now her daughter Lucy has that experience of school and learning being magical. And not wanting to miss a moment of the as Jennie says the IDI EdVenture. It’s also beautiful that Jennie explained how her fourth grade teacher Mrs. Buckman made Jennie feel like she could fully be herself every day. How often do our youth feel like they have to hide parts of themselves or pretend so that they feel safer or accepted? What a gift we all can give our youth and each other radical acceptance. I am also hopeful As Jennie mentioned, that we will begin measuring what we value. If we value empathy, and collaboration, how do we start testing that? And if AI can write the student essay and calculators can calculate The math? Do we really need to be testing on these things that technology can provide? Of course, we can give students the backup skills and teach them how to use the technology. But we need to start making tests measure what we value and what our young are going to need to contribute to a society that is going to be very advanced, having humility, asking questions with a growth mindset and curiosity and slowing down to look around and become more aware. What great next steps that Jenny suggested we all could be taking. And her magic wand for our learners around the world. What she mentioned that reminds us of the lack of equity, and that for some children, it comes down to being safe from conflict and having shelter and food or having access to education. So we need to start there we need to create that safety and equity for all of our children. And then strive to make every child feel very cared for excited about learning, and seen, heard and valued. As always, thank you for being a part of the education, evolution.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 39:06
I know how challenging it is to make changes inside your own school or community. I’ve spent years working with schools around the world on creating learner centered programs. And it always struck me how much schools were able to get done with the right tools and guidance. If you’re ready to make changes like this in your own school, let’s talk and put together an action plan. Visit educationevolution.org/consult for a free 15 minute call. And let’s see if we’re a good fit for more work together. Thanks again for listening. To support the education evolution. Subscribe so it lands in your podcast app and gets out to more decision makers. Then rate and review it. For more information in show notes go to educationevolution.org And Education evolution listeners. You are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We are in this together and we need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.


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