"Imagine the Possibilities" at the NAGC Convention 11/3-6/2016

By Dr. Jenelle S. Miller

 Left to right: Marie Thornsberry, Jenelle Miller, Dana Reupert, Ann Smith, Kari Hanson-Smith

Left to right: Marie Thornsberry, Jenelle Miller, Dana Reupert, Ann Smith, Kari Hanson-Smith

Last weekend I enjoyed attending the 63rd Annual Convention of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. I was excited to meet with my colleagues who are Board Members of the California Association for the Gifted (CAG) as well as several colleagues and friends from the University of Iowa's Belin-Blank International Center in Gifted Education and Talent Development.

The theme of the convention was "Imagine the Possibilities," which was fitting due to our location at the Walt Disney World Resort. Our Opening Keynote Speaker, Alex Wright, Creative Director of Walt Disney Imagineering, spoke on The Wonderful World of Creativity. Alex focused on "Dreamers" and "Doers." He said, "things that seem impossible now will become realities tomorrow." He talked about how he brainstorms ideas with his creative team and that "any idea is fair game with no boundaries" - he called that "Blue Sky Rules." Alex believes that there is "no such thing as a bad idea (not literally true)," but that "you don't know where that idea might lead." He continued, "It's not a good idea to spend time talking about why an idea can't be done because that stops the flow of ideas. Things don't just spring into being; people make them happen." Creative thought can be brought into any endeavor by imagining, "What if this? What if that?" Most of all, we need to foster curiosity with our students because that leads to creativity. We must encourage our gifted kids to "pursue the path to think differently. Anyone can be creative, but Imagineering is beyond that." Alex says that he never walks into a creative session thinking that he has all or the best idea. That would mean that all the ideas haven't been heard; ideas that could be added to or influence his idea in order for the best idea to unfold.

The Keynote session was a great way to launch the conference and there were many more exciting and informative sessions that followed.