Two weeks – ICE, then Spain and Italy

I’m heading out for a string of presentations and workshops – hope to see old friends and new!

ICE 2018 – Feb 26 (Chicago) I’m part of an “All-Star” lineup of presenters who are participating in the Illinois Computing Educators conference. Instead of one keynote they are bringing back keynotes from previous years to do panels and featured presentations. It’s a bit embarrassing to call yourself an “All-Star” but that’s their term, not mine! Check out the whole list and join us!

Then I’m flying straight to Italy where Gary Stager and I will keynote a School Innovation conference in Modena and lead a workshop in Bologna on March 2 & 3. Then we hit the road (by train) for lectures at Universities in Padua, Vicenza, Venice, and Pistoia. Finally a roundtable at the U.S. Embassy in Rome with an innovation policy advocacy working group.

Oh, and in between I’m flying to Valencia, Spain to keynote a conference there! INTED 2018 will be March 5-7 and I’ll be keynoting on March 5.


Sir Ken Robinson + New workshops at FETC + Bonus book signing!

Come see Sir Ken Robinson at the Future of Educational Technology Conference  January 2018 in Orlando, Florida. The fine folks at FETC have supplied a code for you to get a super discount to this conference — 10% off by using the Promo Code MARTINEZ18.

I’m a featured speaker with lots of new stuff to share!

1/24/18 workshops:

  • PBL Gets a “Make”-Over: Prompts and Assessments for Maker Classrooms
  • STEAM You Can Wear!

1/25/18 sessions:

  • Invent to Learn: Remaking School for the Future
  • Book signing – Main Concourse
  • Making and Makerspaces: The Four Keys to Success

Use this link to go directly to the discounted registration.

My 10% discount code is good until Jan 22, 2018. See you there!

See you in Hong Kong at 21CKHK

Sylvia Martinez will keynote and lead workshops at the 10th annual 21CKHK in Hong Kong Jan 17-20 , 2018.

  • Full day workshop (Jan 18) – Learning Learning: Makers, Designers, and Problem Solvers
  • Half-day workshop (Jan 19) – PBL Gets A “Make”-Over: Prompts, Scaffolding, & Assessment For The Modern Classroom
  • Keynote (Jan 19) – Making, Design, and the Future of Learning

The 21st Century Learning Conference is an annual event in Hong Kong where teachers, staff, and school leaders come together to learn, share and discuss current & emerging topics in education with thought leaders, technology, and learning experts, and their peers. With over 700 attendees from 35 countries, it is the event of choice for a diverse international audience. The event blends together inspirational keynotes, practitioner-led workshop sessions, and fun networking opportunities.


19 & 20 January 2018


17-18 January 2018

Global education meets maker education – free webinar

Why is “making” in education taking off globally? It’s because the whole world wants children to become competent and capable citizens.

Last week I had the honor and privilege of speaking to a global audience of educators at the eighth annual Global Education Conference, an online conference that supports global collaboration and connected education. The conference is unique in that it is a free, online event that takes place around the clock during International Education Week.

The sessions are now available online – mine is embedded here, but be sure to check out all the keynotes and sessions. There are inspiring collaborative project ideas, sessions on encouraging student voice, global education case studies, and more – both for K-12 and Higher Education.

The Global Education Conference organizers, Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon, are experts at facilitating online conferences and face to face events. They will be hosting events at TCEA, ASCD, COSN, and ISTE, so be sure to sign up to be notified of these and other future opportunities.

Don’t see the embedded video? Click the image below to watch on YouTube.




PBL Gets a “Make”over – ISACS Learning Bridge Webinar

The Independent Schools Association of Central States (ISACS) offers Learning Bridge webinars live and recorded for professional development. (Register here)

Sylvia will be presenting:

PBL Gets a Make-Over: Prompts, Scaffolding & Assessment for the Maker Classroom
Presenter: Sylvia Martinez
Thursday, November 30, 2017
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (central)
Audience: Faculty and Administrators, grades 3-12

Of course students should have powerful hands-on project-based experiences in the classroom—but does that happen? Explore how to design engaging prompts with helpful scaffolding and how to manage the project process when students are using cutting edge technology integrated with iterative design. Learn about new research on assessment for projects and real classroom practices using modern technology and materials.

Sylvia Martinez is the co-author of Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering the Classroom helping teachers bring the exciting tools and technology of the modern world to classrooms. She advocates for student-centered project-based learning with an emphasis on STEAM for all. Sylvia is the principal advisor to the Stanford University FabLearn Fellows, a group of global educators researching and developing hands-on, minds-on projects and curriculum. She also ran educational non-profits and headed product development for consumer software, video games, and educational games at several software publishing companies. Martinez started her career designing high frequency receiver systems and software for GPS navigational satellites. She holds a masters in educational technology and a bachelor’s in electrical engineering. For more information, visit


Discounts of up to $15.00 per seminar are available if you register for multiple seminars.

(Register here)



Nominations for the inaugural Seymour Papert Memorial Lecture at CrossRoads now open

The inaugural Seymour Papert Memorial Lecture will be held at CrossRoads, Infosys Foundation USA’s annual conference in the SF Bay Area in May 2018. Here a link to the open nomination form for potential keynote speakers:

Seymour Papert’s theories and work profoundly impacted how the world sees learning. The Seymour Papert Memorial Lecture celebrates his vision and seeks to bring his deep underlying ideas to new audiences and new applications in education.

The lecture committee is looking to select a deeply relevant speaker who can offer a compelling point of view on the tenets of Constructionism, contextualize these by example where possible, and leave the audience both informed and inspired to apply these lessons to their own work.

The selected speaker will be invited to deliver a keynote at CrossRoads 2018, the annual conference of Infosys Foundation USA. The conference will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area from May 21-24, 2018. The speaker’s travel and accommodation will be covered by the conference. You may nominate as many speakers as you wish and you are welcome to nominate yourself.

Nominations close at 5PM PST on Monday, November 20, 2017.

Note: I’m on the committee for this keynote search, so will be a part of the process of reviewing the nominations received.


See you at FETC? January 2018 in Orlando – use this discount code

I’ll be a featured speaker at the Future of Educational Technology Conference this upcoming January in Orlando, Florida. The fine folks at FETC have supplied a code for you to get a super discount to this conference — 10% off by using the Promo Code MARTINEZ18.

Plus – register now for early bird savings – FETC’s $150.00 Super Savings ends next Friday, Nov. 17. Use the link (or my promo code at the regular conference site) and get both discounts!

Hope to see you there! Here’s my lineup:

1/24/18 workshops:

  • PBL Gets a “Make”-Over: Prompts and Assessments for Maker Classrooms
  • STEAM You Can Wear!

1/25/18 sessions:

  • Invent to Learn: Remaking School for the Future
  • Making and Makerspaces: The Four Keys to Success

Use this link to go directly to the discounted registration.

My 10% discount code is good until Jan 22, 2018 – but the early bird savings only last until Nov 17 – so don’t delay!

STEM: GOOD. Lying to kids: BAD

“When it gets generalized to all of STEM, it’s misleading,” said Mr. Teitelbaum, a senior research associate in the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. “We’re misleading a lot of young people.”  — from “Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t)” NY Times 11/1/17STEM jobs vs demand

Here’s the problem with intensively focusing on STEM and STEAM as primarily about students getting good jobs in the future. The jobs simply aren’t there.

I’ve never advocated for STEM experiences and classes because of jobs. We should teach children how amazing the world is AND that they can have a hand in exploring, discovering, and understanding the world. I’ve asked audiences worldwide to try this mental reversal – if there AREN’T amazing STEM jobs out there, should we not teach science?

And now it turns out that this is true. So let’s review:

STEM: GOOD. Lying to kids: BAD

On the side of kids

The Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail interviewed me for an article about schools and the Maker Movement in Vancouver. The Maker Movement in schools has students learning by doing by Anne Casselman and Paul Attfield really captures the excitement of many different classrooms integrating design, technology, and making.

“We want to turn little kids into little creative minds,” says interim head of school Susan Groesbeck. “This is the opposite of rote learning.”

“We want to be one of the schools that has this, not as a frill or as an add-on, but really integrates it into the curriculum. The children are going to be excited and so super challenged.”

Ever since the Maker Movement got going in the early 2000s, it was a matter of time before the tech-oriented DIY movement’s philosophies were adopted into the classroom, as teachers and librarians saw the value of creating dedicated tinkering spaces, known as makerspaces, for students.

“For a lot of the history of school, we’ve kind of done this rote memorization and standardized testing as a means of providing an efficient [education] system, all the while ignoring the fact that it’s not how most people learn,” says Sylvia Libow Martinez, co-author of the book Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.

“What’s good about the Maker Movement is it’s helping teachers find their own voice and be able to articulate what’s right about education in a way that makes sense in the modern world.”

“We really want kids to leave here feeling that they are problem finders and problem solvers. We don’t know what the problems are going to be in the future. We don’t know the technology these students are going to be using, so it’s not about coding for the sake of coding, or teaching saw skills for the sake of being able to saw,” says Andrea Ryan, the school’s learning specialist for design integration. “It’s that sense of empowerment to be able to go forth and be and do.”

“Strong research suggests that messing around is not wasted time and that it’s actually what the brain needs to both relax and concentrate on important aspects,” says Ms. Martinez, who stresses the difference between handing children a bunch of app-laden tablets and what happens in educational makerspaces, where children are in charge of technology.

“If you’re just going to replicate the most rote, the most boring parts of school on a computer screen, that’s not what I’m talking about.”

Ms. Martinez explains that the technology unto itself is not equivalent to teaching. The distinction between having children in charge of the technology, and children passively consume it is key, as identified by the late Seymour Papert, pioneer of educational technology and MIT Media Lab professor.

“One of [Dr.] Papert’s seminal questions is: Does the child program the computer or does the computer program the child,” she says. “And you have to know which side you’re on.”

Read the whole article – there’s more!