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Learning Library Blog Jeff Charbonneau: Ask "What if?" and believe in the answer
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Jeff Charbonneau: Ask "What if?" and believe in the answer

By Andra Brichacek
August 15, 2014
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What if? It's a question that many stop asking themselves as they enter adulthood. But research has shown that those who keep their minds open to possibilities and persist in the face of challenges are far more likely to find innovative solutions to problems and succeed at their goals.

In his small Washington State school district, pursuing the answer to that question gave STEM teacher Jeff Charbonneau, 2013 National Teacher of the Year and ISTE 2014 Closing Keynote speaker, the motivation and focus he needed to help his students do amazing things, from starting a nationally recognized research project to hosting weekend robotics competitions and taking two-week mountain hiking expeditions.

"Being a true educator, somebody who is really an advocate for your students, boils down to one thing: You ask yourself on a regular basis, 'What if?'" Charbonneau explains in his keynote. " What if we could teach differently and embrace curiosity in our students? What if we allowed our students to be a little bit more curious and dig in the mud just a little bit more?"

Watch Charbonneau's 45-minute talk to find out how he accomplished amazing things, often in the face of steep challenges, just by letting his natural curiosity push him past the fear of change. He also describes how he has watched his students build self-sufficiency and courage, abandon their comfort zones, learn from failure rather than fearing it, solve real-world problems, and develop valuable STEM skills, all by asking themselves what was possible and believing they had the power to achieve it.  



Want to hear more groundbreaking ideas from the most innovative minds in ed tech? Don't miss ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia! Registration is open now.