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Let’s Talk STEAM! Introducing the IDEAcon Thought Leaders for a day dedicated to STEAM

November 08, 2021 9:27 AM | Ashley (Administrator)

Let’s Talk STEAM! 

Introducing the IDEAcon Thought Leaders for a day dedicated to STEAM

In honor of National STEAM Day on November 8, we thought it was a perfect time to announce our IDEAcon Thought Leaders for STEAM Day at the con. 

That’s right - on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2021, IDEAcon is dedicated to all things STEAM (check out the other daily themes here).

Drum roll, please!! 

via GIPHY

Dr. Kate Biberdorf 

First up is our day 3 keynote speaker, Dr. Kate Biberdorf a.k.a. Kate the Chemist

As seen on the Today Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Dr. Kate Biberdorf is breaking stereotypes and blowing stuff up—all in a good pair of heels. Through her theatrical and hands-on approach to teaching, Dr. Biberdorf is breaking down the image of the stereotypical scientist, while reaching students who might otherwise be intimidated by science.

We absolutely CAN’T WAIT for Dr. Kate’s session! In the meantime, check out her website here - she has some awesome books and resources for your STEAM classroom. 


Victor Hicks

Does this name sound familiar? It should! 

“Coach” Victor Hicks was one of our keynote speakers at ideaU this summer! He is back as a thought leader for IDEAcon, with a session titled, “Coding with Culture: Providing Culturally Responsive and Sustainable Computer Science Experiences in Computer Science.” 

Coach Hicks  serves as a CS and STEM educator in Atlanta,Georgia  and is the founder and lead instructor of Coding with Culture, an organization designed to teach computer science and digital literacy through an “HBCU-Ready” lens to scholars in grades K-8.

Check out his website here and stay-up-to-date by following him on Twitter @codingwculture.


Jaime Donally 

Jaime Donally describes herself as a passionate technology enthusiast. If her name sounds familiar, you may have read her blog with ISTE last year about creating AR with apps. It’s a pretty cool read … 

Jaime provides staff development and training on immersive technology as an edtech consultant. She is an expert on ARVR, and she will be bringing her expertise to IDEAcon in February!

Excited? Us, too! Learn more about Jaime here



Jorge Valenzuela 

We are lucky enough to have thought leader Jorge Valenzuela join us for multiple days of the conference!

On STEAM Day, he will be leading a session titled: “Using Project Based Learning to teach STEM and Computer Science.”

Jorge is an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University and the lead coach at Lifelong Learning Defined (LLD). Through modeling direct instruction in tandem with evidence-based strategies and educational protocols, Jorge provides sessions for educators that are inspirational, actionable, and fun.

Read more about Jorge as we all anxiously await his sessions on his website here


Bellen Woodard 

Bellen is a super special thought leader. She may be young, but she is already making a big impact on the world.

She realized that the “skin” color crayon did not represent herself and many others. Knowing that wasn’t right, she decided to take things into her own hands. That is when the More Than Peach™ Project was born. 

Combining the art piece of STEAM with important equity discussion, this is one session you can’t miss. Learn more about Bellen here

Victoria Thompson

This name should also sound familiar! Victoria Thompson has been a thought leader for IDEA before, leading important discussions in equity. Victoria is a STEM Instructional Coach and ed tech consultant. 

Victoria was kind enough to create a lesson plan just for IDEA to celebrate STEAM Day! It’s all about mathematical thinking and logic, and it is applicable to all grade levels. You can check it out here

This is a thought leader you won’t want to miss!


Who else is even more pumped for IDEAcon 2022?!

You probably noticed that a lot of our speakers are not only STEAM focused, but are also making strides in equity.

Here at IDEA, we have three big initiatives: Computer Science, Equity, and Teacher Wellness. You will see these themes throughout the conference - not just on these theme’s dedicated days. 

For example, we have more thought leaders on STEAM Day that will be solely equity focused. We will be welcoming back Sarah Said, Nyree Clark, and Evan Whitehead - all were involved in ideaU this summer. 

We also will have Sawsan Jaber, Paul Gorski, and Carol R. Collins Ayanlaja join us for sessions on Wednesday.

So, even if STEAM isn’t your thing, we promise there will be something for you to learn on Wednesday!

Check out the full schedule here, and be on the lookout for our next blog with more details on our IDEAcon Thought Leaders!

Click here to register for IDEAcon today! 

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