Angela Maiers

Leader. Visionary. Entrepreneur. Disruptor. Change Maker. Angela embodies each of these descriptors with passion, commitment and fierce determination. She has been creating and leading change in...

Angela Maiers | New Learning Times

A self-described social media evangelist, Angela Maiers helps schools, organizations, and individuals who want to use technology and social media to support and enhance their objectives. Maiers is a frequent speaker at major education and business conferences around the world. Her June 2011 TEDxDesMoines talk titled "You Matter" led to the launch ofChoose2Matter, a global movement that challenges people to recognize that they have a unique genius to contribute to the world. An active blogger, Maiers writes for, Switch and Shift, Huffington Post, Edutopia, Smart Brief and other publications. She has authored six books, including Classroom Habitudes and The Passion-driven Classroom. She is an alumnus of The University of Iowa, where she earned her masters in educational supervision and reading.



Question: How did your educational trajectory (background) affect your current work?
Answer: From early on in my life, my career goal was to become a doctor. Yet somehow, all of the clinical work I did in college involved children. I even ended up tutoring the children of many of my professors. One day, I was leaving a class when one professor asked me why I planned to go to medical school. When none of my first three answers included the words, "because I want to be a doctor," my professor told me he had never met someone better suited to teach children. A year later, I was teaching a kindergarten class.

Question: What professional experiences have been most formative to your current work?
Answer: Early on in my classroom days, I had an epiphany: all people need to matter. Significance is more important than success. People want to be noticed, valued, and honored. This has stuck with me after all these years. After 14 years of classroom teaching, I became a literacy coach and teacher trainer. I began to develop a speaking career, and I now speak often at education and business conferences around the country. About five years ago, I dove into social media, which has profoundly increased my network and reach.

In June 2011, I delivered a talk at TEDxDesMoines titled "You Matter." The video has been viewed 150,000 times and led to my launching Choose2Matter, a global movement that challenges people to recognize that they have a unique genius to contribute to the world.

Question: How do you hope your work will change the learning landscape?
Answer: Choose2Matter offers an authentic, social entrepreneurship learning experience for students, in which they learn skills that are relevant to the modern world. Our education system rewards students who are "good at the game of school." Those who play this game are the ones who are driven by a desire to please their parents, their teachers, and the community. The "gold star" is still the gold standard. We want to help students explore what matters most to them and what breaks their heart about it, and empower them to act on it. This not only sets them up to succeed in the workplace and in life, but it vastly enhances their social and emotional wellbeing.

Question: What broad trends do you think will have the most impact on learning in the years ahead?
Answer: I am hopeful that two trends will become entrenched. The first is that students will learn how to learn from outside experts, and not just from their teachers and their textbooks and other content sources. The Internet enables this, and yet schools hardly leverage it at all. The second is that schools begin to teach collaboration as a disruptive force, which is how it is used in the workplace. In most schools, what passes for collaboration is merely cooperation, or learning side-by-side.

Question: What are you currently working on & what is your next big project?
Answer: The next phase of Choose2Matter is a broadening of it, where we bring it into many more schools. Additionally, to empower people to effect change, we are creating and curating an online library of content to help them understand many of the major problems facing society today, and how to solve them. We also are developing a program of "mentoring at mass scale," with multiple institutional partners. This will leverage the wisdom and experience of the workforce to guide the energy and passion of youth.

My co-founder Mark Moran and I are also finalizing a book on teaching digital literacy skills. It examines the habitudes of great researchers and how we can build those same habitudes in our students. We think this will transform the way digital literacy is taught to this generation.

Source: New Learning Times

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