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Educators gather on the final day of the SMART Exemplary Educators Summit

All around the world, teachers are empowering their students to be innovative in creating solutions to big challenges.

And SMART Technologies, a 30-year-old Calgary success story whose software and hardware is used in more than three million classrooms worldwide, wants to help empower teachers. With knowledge and technology, teachers can inspire a higher level of passion into the next generation of progress in society.

Annually, SMART hosts the Exemplary Educators Summit (SEE) for experienced teachers who inspire greatness in students, classrooms and each other.

A select group of three dozen educators from 13 countries came together for a week-long summit that Calgary-based SMART hosts each summer to examine how technology is impacting education and how to take on global challenges in the classroom.

Teachers from South Africa, Australia, Europe and the United States applied and were invited by SMART to its Calgary headquarters to discuss how they are incorporating technology to facilitate communication and collaboration as part of problem solving and supporting new methods and practices of teaching.

This year, the SMART Exemplary Educators Summit was extended to include six students for the first time. The summit included a hackathon to address ways to better incorporate the rapid advances in technology into education.  The attendees had the opportunity to collaborate with SMART software developers to share ideas that would help support them in their classrooms. Many of these ideas will be built into SMART’s software in the coming year, which is a huge motivation to the groups that worked on creating rapid prototypes over the week.

The group participated in multiple workshops and seminars each day. On the final day of the summit, the entire group of global educators were invited to participate in a uniquely Canadian experience; the Exemplary Educator Rant.

Based off the ‘I am Canadian’ rant that many will remember, the witty ode to educators lyrically celebrated the profession of teaching with lines including:

“I focus on innovation and transforming education. I can proudly stand in front of my classroom and promote creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and that exemplary learners deserve exceptional teachers!”

The “rant” reverberated through the atrium at SMART and echoed a strong message of the summit; a community cannot be successful without committed, hard-working teachers.

Steve Allan, Board Chair for Calgary Economic Development, shared with the educators how important they are to a vibrant community and the value of their contribution to the next generation of problem solvers and innovative thinkers.

“Never underestimate your importance to your entire community,” Allan told the group at a high-energy closing session. “A well-educated population is the number one attribute for any city and as the world moves into this era of Industry 4.0 it will be more important than ever.”

He noted that Calgary is committed to embracing innovation to create solutions to some of the biggest societal challenges and SMART is doing that at a grassroots level by empowering teachers and students and it’s having a global impact.

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