Archive for the ‘#gtchat’ Category


Get Ready for the “Your Move” Ingeniosus Awards!

by Deborah Mersino

Giddiness is a state of mind. Right now, I have several endeavors causing me to feel giddy. Among them is a new awards program I’m readying to launch in 2012. The idea for this program came to me a while ago. We even had a #gtchat about various possible aspects of the social responsibility program geared to inspire gifted, talented, and creative students from all over the world to use technology and ideation for social good.

You may remember we tossed around several potential names for the program, including “Seeds for Social Good” and “Technovisionaries.” It wasn’t until today, though, that I decided to move forward. I was reading Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of, Inc. With rapt attention, I devoured chapter after chapter and learned about Hsieh’s various entrepreneurial endeavors and how the name Zappos came to be (means “shoe” in Spanish with an extra “p” to avoid mispronunciation). Something clicked inside me and made me realize the time for this program is now. Since Ingeniosus means “talented and able” in Latin, I realized I already had a name.

The “Your Move” Ingeniosus Awards Program will commence in 2012, and planning is already underway. The global awards program will be housed on the Ingeniosus Web site. Stay tuned for a video announcement in mid-December and the official announcement in January.

This program will combine the best of 21st Century Learning, visionary thinking, entrepreneurial prowess and support, and socially responsible missions. I’m currently lining up judges, mentors, and sponsors for the “Your Move” Ingeniosus Awards Program, and yes, I’m giddy about the prospects.

Here’s to a satisfying year of igniting bright young minds with bursts of inspiration to benefit our collective futures!


An Invitation to Austin: Guest Post by TAGT President Michelle Swain

Michelle Swain

By Michelle Swain, 2011 TAGT Executive Board President

As President of the Executive Board for the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented, I would like to invite all of you to my home town of Austin for our 34th Annual Professional Development Conference. The TAGT staff and Local Arrangements Committee have done an amazing job putting together another wonderful conference with some of the best presenters and exhibitors in the nation!

We are so excited for you to experience the many presentations, activities, and events all focused on gifted and talented children, and to take advantage of the opportunities to learn, network, and re-connect with friends. We encourage you to come enjoy the Austin lifestyle and experience the many restaurants and live music venues during your evenings. We hope the Annual Conference is one of the highlights of your year and that each of you will take your new knowledge and insight home to share with students, teachers, parents, and colleagues.


Our conference theme this year, Gifted 3.0, has multiple meanings. This is a time of new frontiers for education. Schools will be implementing new state assessments under new financially-influenced conditions and new accountability systems. Educators, parents, and students continue to explore new technology and applications which influence how we teach and learn. The gifted community is also exploring new and better ways to identify and serve gifted students, using what we know from the Texas GT Equity initiative and research from the field to expand opportunities to traditionally under-represented populations. All of these meanings converge in the theme and are reflected in the presentations you will enjoy during your time in Austin.

This year’s conference promises to be an outstanding experience, with the return of many valuable activities and events and a few new changes. We begin the conference on Wednesday with conference institutes, in-depth study of topics of interest over three to six hours with experts in the field. Wednesday evening we host the open house for parents, allowing the opportunity to access the exhibit hall and free mini-sessions of interest.

Thursday morning, Dr. Bertie Kingore, TAGT 2011 President’s Award recipient, will enrich us with her wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of gifted education in our opening general session. Friday morning, we will engage in a panel discussion on social media technology with Deborah Mersino, Ian Byrd, Joel McIntosh, and TAGT President-Elect Dr. Lynette Breedlove, followed by a live session of the international Twitter sensation – #gtchat! Friday afternoon we are hosting the Curriculum Potpourri. What an exciting way to bring the conference to a close!

Another new feature this year is a special conference-within-a-conference for psychologists, counselors, and others interested in the identification and assessment of gifted youth. Titled Testing the Gifted in the 21st Century: Looking Forward, this event features many leaders in the field, including Dr. Linda Silverman, Dr. David Lohman, Dr. Susan Johnsen, Dr. John Wasserman, Dr. Jack Naglieri, Dr. Joyce Juntune, Dr. Paul Beljan, and Dr. James Webb. Over the three days, it will be possible to earn as much as 15 hours of professional development credit. This training is co-sponsored by Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG), an approved provider of continuing education for psychologists by the American Psychological Association.

We hope you are able to attend TAGT’s 34th Annual Professional Development Conference and we know the time you spend here will enrich both your personal and professional life. We sincerely appreciate your support of both TAGT and gifted children.


TAGT Signs On as Lead Global #gtchat Sponsor!

#gtchat Sponsor logo

By Deborah Mersino

Global #gtchat just got a boost. Today, I’m pleased to announce that the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) has signed on as a Lead Global #gtchat Sponsor for 2011-2012!

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the work of TAGT, I encourage you to visit the TAGT Web site and check out its upcoming 34th Annual Professional Development Conference, which will take place this year in Austin, Texas from Nov. 30th to Dec. 2nd. Tomorrow, TAGT Executive Board President Michelle Swain will share a Guest Post on the Ingeniosus Blog with all the details on this year’s Gifted 3.0 theme and conference offerings. It’s just around the corner, and it’s all about connections; I could not be more enthused!

According to TAGT Executive Director JJ Colburn, “The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) is thrilled to sign on as the 2011-2012 Lead Global #gtchat Sponsor, and we look forward to working together to connect our community. TAGT has been exploring strategies to expand our online presence and #gtchat is a proven leader in providing services to and collaboration between educators, parents, advocates, and gifted learners. Innovative, relevant, and engaging are words that embody the purpose of TAGT and also describe perfectly the endeavors of #gtchat, making this relationship a natural fit.”

The Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) is the nation’s largest state advocacy group of its kind, providing more than 2,500 engaged and diverse members a forum for exchanging ideas and information about the education of gifted learners. Chartered in 1978, this non-profit organization leads the way in creating and offering meaningful resources to benefit the gifted community. TAGT’s mission is to connect and empower educators and parents to meet the unique social, emotional, and intellectual needs of gifted and talented students, and it carries that mission out by providing relevant, innovative educational services, programs, and resources.

What a privilege to have TAGT step up and recognize the power of #gtchat and collaborative online platforms! TAGT’s Lead Global #gtchat Sponsorship will support the upcoming expansion of the Ingeniosus Web site, including the addition of an Ingeniosus Parent Portal and an Ingeniosus Educator Portal. Moreover, this sponsorship will help ensure Global #gtchat continues to be a source of education and inspiration for the thousands of parents, administrators, educators, psychologists, and gifted education advocates who make up our growing community. Here’s to positively impacting the lives of gifted and talented learners in the year ahead; thank you, TAGT!


Advancing the World of Gifted Education One Tweet at a Time

Global #gtchat, a weekly chat on Twitter devoted to gifted and talented issues, came to life in January of 2010. Since that time, we have had tens of thousands of tweets devoted to #gtchat. Participants from all over the world have shared resources, dialogue and ideas via this powerful platform. Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom continue to lead the way.

Already in 2011, more than 11,000+ unique visitors from 106 countries have come to the Ingeniosus site for a total of 180,000+ hits. What inspires me more than these numbers is what’s happening as a result of this growing collaboration. Parents, classroom educators, administrators, gifted specialists, psychologists, authors and advocates throughout the world are working together to positively impact these learners’ lives.

The leadership role that participants have taken in their respective countries speaks for itself. The birth of National Gifted Education Awareness Day in Ireland (April 8th) is a result of the devoted efforts of many. Moreover, a federation of UK stakeholders devoted to gifted and talented education, entitled GT Voice, is fostering momentum. Tim Dracup (@GiftedPhoenix) has been one of the leaders in this movement and has my deepest respect.

Gifted and Talented Ireland also became the first specialist Web site for teachers of Exceptionally Able learners in Ireland. Ireland even has its own Twitter chat now, #gtie, moderated by our own Peter Lydon (@Peter_Lydon). We are all witnessing what communication and advocacy can – and will – look like as social networking platforms make sharing research, resources, news and ideation strategies possible like never before.

Two visionary organizations deserve to take a bow for their support of Global #gtchat. The Gatton Academy and the Summer Enrichment Program at the University of Northern Colorado became Global #gtchat Sponsors during its inaugural year. These two programs exemplify the best practices that gifted education has to offer. If you don’t know about these two programs, take a moment to click on the links above and get to know them better. Share news of these inspiring organizations with your friends, colleagues, administrators and parents. I’m grateful to Dr. George Betts and Dr. Stuart Omdal of the Summer Enrichment Program at UNC and Dr. Julia Roberts and Corey Alderdice of the Gatton Academy for their support.

Are you curious about Global #gtchat and/or want to learn more about how to participate? Click here. Please know that even if you don’t tweet, you can keep up with happenings on the Ingeniosus Facebook Page.

Together, we’re advancing the world of gifted education one tweet at a time. So, here’s to our Global #gtchat Sponsors – and each of you – as we continue learning, growing and impacting during our second year!


Freaky Slam Poetry, Zombie Attack, Philosophy, Music Recording Studio and More…

Severn Young and Erick Quintanilla, both 13 years old, have attended the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP) at the University of Northern Colorado for the past two years. Both currently go to the same school in Colorado and have become close friends. I recently had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with them to dialogue about their experiences at camp. Hearing two seventh grade boys talk about how life-changing SEP has been made me recognize how critical camps like this are. The right environment and support for both the cognitive and social-emotional needs of our gifted, talented and creative students can, in fact, alter the trajectory of lives.

Here’s a compilation of my favorite comments from Severn and Erick:

What makes SEP powerful are the surroundings, the interesting classes and the teachers! In my Zombies Attack class, we got to use our imagination and explore what it might truly be like to face an apocalypse. The teachers are all different from one another, but that’s what makes it so interesting. Unlike school, there are no bullies at SEP. Every one treats you like you want to be treated. My favorite class was a philosophy class and a Freaky Poetry Slam class. Everyone at SEP is so understanding. They’re in the same shoes as you. I learned that when I put my mind to something, I can achieve it. My favorite class was a Musical Recording Studio. I felt so welcomed. It really surprised me how nice everyone was. I expected them to be like other kids at school, but that wasn’t the case. These kids understand. SEP makes you want to go out and change the world and make it a better place. I learned that if you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, nothing can get in your way!

When I asked them what advice they might offer to a new camper and/or someone who might be considering the Summer Enrichment Program, they offered this:

If you’re considering it, but aren’t sure, follow your instincts. You’ll realize later that coming to SEP was a great decision! You’ll change the way you look at things; you’ll change for the better. Parents should know that it’s really safe. We’re always supervised. And if someone’s shy, they shouldn’t worry about making friends. Everyone here is accepting.

Finally, when I asked these two to give me three adjectives or descriptors that best depicted SEP, Severn responded, “Astonishing, great and fun.” Erick said, “Fun, exciting, better than anyone can expect.” Severn added, “I would recommend it because it’s the most amazing experience I’ve had as a kid; I couldn’t be ‘me’ without it.” How’s that for life changing?

Lastly, here’s a glimpse – a montage actually – of some of the courses offered at SEP. To learn even more about the Summer Enrichment Program at UNC, click here.