Keynote Speakers

Intelligences Outside the Normal Curve:  Factors that Contribute to the Creation of Social Capital and Leadership Skills in Young People and Adults
Joseph S. Renzulli
The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, USA
Renzulli People with high potential will generally emerge to leadership and policy-making decisions in all walks of life. What causes some of these people to use their gifts and talents in ways that help to make the world a better place? This session will focus on two sub-theories of a four-part general theory that deals with the development of cognitive and co-cognitive factors that contribute to high levels of creative productivity in young people and adults. The first sub-theory describes how we can promote an orientation toward using one’s gifts and talents in positive ways that contribute to the production of social capital. The second sub-deals with how we can promote effective and compassionate leadership in the population of young people with exceptionally high potential. We refer to these two areas of focus as “co-cognitive” characteristics or “intelligences outside the normal curve” because they interact with and give rise to cognitive development, while also playing a role in the formation of beliefs, attitudes, values, and the development of an action orientation for following through on one’s beliefs and values. Practical examples of the how the sub-theories can be applied will be portrayed through examples from programs that serve gifted and talented students.

A Blueprint for Creative Educational System
Todd Lubart
Université Paris Descartes, France 
Todd Lubart
Creativity is recognized as an increasingly important personal ability and societal resource. An educational system to promote the development of creative potential in students can be designed. It involves three main components. First, creative leaders, such as school system administrators and school principals, who set appropriate goals. Second, creative teachers who provide role models for students, through their behavior in class activities, and openness to new ideas. Third, a climate for learning – its’ physical, cognitive, and social features can be configured to promote creativity. Creativity-relevant curricula are treated as part of the climate dimension. The question of whether school administrators, principals, and teachers need to be creative themselves in order to promote creativity in students will be raised. Measures of creative potential for school staff and for students will be presented as part of the tools that can be employed in a complete approach to design creative educational systems.

Changing Paths: Developing Creativity and Creative Minds as a Primary Goal of Gifted Education
Sally M. Reis
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, University of Connecticut, USA
Sally Reis
In this keynote, an argument is made about what should be the most important goal of gifted and talented programs: The development of curiosity, engagement, joyful learning, and creative behaviors in our most talented students and young adults. This goal conflicts with current trends and objectives in both general education and some gifted education programs, and points to the need for educators to embrace creativity, innovation, and the development of these behaviors as a core focus of gifted education services and programs.

Breakthroughs in Assessment of the Gifted
Linda Kreger Silverman
Institute for the Study of Advanced Development, Denver, Colorado, USA
Dramatic changes in test construction have rendered Full Scale IQ scores meaningless for large numbers of gifted students. In August, 2005, the first symposium on assessment of the gifted was held in New Orleans in conjunction with the World Council for Gifted Children. In June, 2006, the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) appointed what was to become the first Task Force on IQ Interpretation. In November, 2007, the NAGC Task Force conducted a study of 334 gifted children from 8 sites on the WISC-IV and discovered that the General Ability Index (GAI) is a better representation of high abilities than Full Scale IQ scores. In January, 2008, NAGC issued a position statement on the selection of gifted students with the WISC-IV, which is particularly useful in identifying twice exceptional, culturally diverse and visual-spatial learners. Based on the same study, in February 2008, Pearson Assessments posted extended norms for the WISC-IV to enable the identification of exceptionally gifted students. In March, 2009, a second symposium on assessment of the gifted brought even more awareness to the testing industry. As a result, the new IQ tests currently being developed will be more appropriate for the gifted and have large validation samples of exceptionally and profoundly gifted children. It is essential for all who rely on intelligence tests to be aware of these new breakthroughs and the research on which they are based.

Who Decides What Giftedness Is? On the Dilemma of Researching and Educating the Gifted Mind in the Light of Cultural Variation, Political Ambition and Scientific Dogma
Roland S. Persson
School of Education & Communication, Jönköping University, Sweden
Roland S Persson
While problems often arise when scientific fact and educational practice are derived from one cultural setting and then applied unchanged in another is not a recent discovery, it is nevertheless the case that much of current knowledge is not implemented let alone of interest to policy-makers and learned institutions worldwide. The objective of this presentation is to shed some light on why this may be the case. I shall argue that the continued development towards a more consensual understanding of giftedness is currently trapped between scientific dogma; political ambition (or lack thereof); differing cultural understandings of needs, wants and values; and no less important, also individual career ambitions turning science for the good of humanity more into politics “for me.” In addition to cultural variation between countries and continents, the scientists and educators of today also have to consider increasing globalisation and its Superculture constituted by a number of political and economic values, which are often little sensitive to local culture. While many of these issues are perchance both sensitive and controversial, depending on culture and context, their consideration is likely to be paramount on the premise that freedom of thought and of expression are essential if we are to understand, in any objective way, what generic human behaviour is, and by extension also how we are to understand and educate gifted and/or talented minds. In concluding this address, a few straight-forward actions focussing on a) mindset and habits, b) research skills and c) self-knowledge and cultural competence are discussed as important in coming to terms with the weakening credibility of international high ability research as well as in understanding how to successfully further develop our knowledge of giftedness and talent in a meaningful way.

What’s Exceptional about Twice-Exceptionality?


Megan Foley Nicpon

Belin-Blank Center, University of Iowa, USA

Twice-exceptional students, or gifted students with co-existing disabilities, can be challenging to understand. Typically, some things come very easily, such as solving complex mathematics problems or leading advanced chemistry experiments, yet others are much more challenging, such as getting along with peers or turning in homework on time. During this presentation, Megan Foley Nicpon will share insights from her research and clinical experience with twice-exceptional identification and intervention. Attendees will gain deeper knowledge about the challenges twice-exceptional students face, learn practical strategies about how to optimize talent domains, and discover accommodations that work to facilitate positive educational and personal experiences for this exceptional group of learners.

Read a Brief Biography

Number 8 Wire: Enhancing Creativity through Competitions 
Tracy Riley
Massey University, New Zealand 
Tracy Riley
Number 8 wire is part of the cultural lexicon of New Zealand, referring to its people's ingenuity and can-do spirit, and using one's creativity to solve problems is the focus and outcome of many competitions across all disciplines. Competitions can, thus, be used to identify, develop, and reward creative breakthroughs by individuals or teams of collaborative innovators.  In this keynote, Tracy will explore the ways in which competitions can be used to enhance creativity, featuring voices from New Zealand competitors in local and international events. The potential challenges will also be shared, with a focus on practical ways of overcoming these through competition selection, implementation, and review. What we know about competitions and their use with gifted learners leads to more questions than answers, and in this address Tracy will propose future inquiries into their effectiveness for identifying and enhancing creativity.

Self-Regulated Learning: How to Promote Learning Strategies in Gifted Education via Adaptive Teacher Training?

Christian Fischer
International Center for the Study of Giftedness (ICBF),
University of Muenster, Germany.
Christian Fischer
According to the high abilities of gifted children self-regulated learning seems to be most adequate to their learning-style. However, successful self-regulated learning processes require adapted learning strategies like cognitive, meta-cognitive and motivational-volitional strategies. Especially underachievers often lack successful strategies of self-regulated learning and need special instruction on effective learning-strategies. This requires an adequate teaching-style including strategies of information-processing, self-regulation and achievement-motivation, which necessitates an adaptive teacher training to implement those different levels of effective teaching-strategies. This presentation focuses on an enrichment model of self-regulated learning for gifted children, combined with a research project of adaptive teacher training, which has been developed at the International Center for the Study of Giftedness (ICBF). The evaluation of both projects verifies the effectiveness of this combination, especially in the area of learning strategies to promote giftedness across the lifespan.

The Network Concept of Creativity and Talent Support
Peter Csermely
President, The European Council for High Ability (ECHA),
Semmelweis University, Hungary 
Peter Csermely
Talents often occupy a central but highly dynamic position in social networks. Inter-community, highly dynamic ‘creative nodes’ not only determine the systems potential for fast adaptation, but also serve as a ‘life insurance’ in crisis. Creative transitions are promoted by an increased flexibility (and learning potential) of the complex system. However, an increase in system rigidity increases the system’s optimization ability (and memory). Therefore, proper networking strategies are key factors for both talented people and their society to be successful. The efficiency of these processes can be greatly expanded by talent support networks. As an example, the Hungarian talent support network involves a thousand Talent Points, 15 thousand teachers participating in training sessions to discover and help talents, more than 200,000 people involved discovering 26 thousands of new talents in 2 years. Europe has a huge talent reserve. A European Talent Support Network is about to be developed, where European Talent Support Centers act as hubs, European Talent Days are celebrated, and cross-national cooperation is promoted. The European Council of High Ability (celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013) serves this process with the richness of talent support traditions of all countries in Europe.

Real Engagement in Active Problem Solving (REAPS): Practical Ideas and Research Results
C. June Maker
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
June Maker
In this speech, I will present both practical examples and research on a model created collaboratively with colleagues from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Korea, Taiwan, Chile, the UK, Thailand, and the US. This teaching model (REAPS) is an exciting new extension of my work on the development of creative problem solving through Discovering Intellectual Strengths and Capabilities while Observing Varied Ethnic Responses (DISCOVER).  As my colleagues and I implemented the DISCOVER curriculum model in a variety of settings, we became aware that, although the model was successful, teachers needed more guidance in how to implement it if we were not there to guide them through the curriculum development process.  In 2004, we began experimenting with ways to combine it with other models that offered this guidance; we tested it with varied cultures, in varied settings, and with different ages of students, both gifted and average. After eight years of developing, testing, and evaluating it, we now know it works really well: Children are engaged, their creativity increases, and they learn important academic content.  Teachers enjoy using it and can see its benefits. The new model combines DISCOVER with Thinking Actively in a Social Context (TASC), a step-by-step process for solving problems creatively, developed by Belle Wallace in South Africa and used all over the world; and Problem Based Learning (PBL), an approach developed for use in medical schools, adapted for use with children, and also used extensively in the US.  In this speech, I will describe the theoretical framework briefly, will give examples of its use at various grade levels, and then give results of research.  We have found, for instance, that children’s interest in science and problem-solving in general is enhanced, their knowledge base becomes more complex and connected, and their creativity increases. Another important benefit is that they become involved in solving real local, national, and international problems, helping them learn that they can and do have an impact on changing their world.

Additional international keynote speakers will be announced here later.