SkillRise: Exploring the Future of Work and Learning with ISTE CEO Richard Culatta

Skillrise, an ISTE Initiative

By Getting Smart Staff

On the most recent episode of Upskill With Edtech’s second season Learners for Life, Brandon Olszewski sat down with CEO of ISTE, Richard Culatta. Together, they discuss how the SkillRise initiative plays into the broader ISTE vision and how recent world events continue to put an emphasis on the importance of lifelong learning. Richard’s decorated experience enables him to speak knowledgeably on policy, international trends, edtech and equity, while also noting the ways in which trends in the workforce continue to inform trends in learning, and vis-a-versa.

The podcast also dives into the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the learning landscape to place more emphasis on many of the traits that drive SkillRise: lifelong learning, learner agency, edtech, equity and ensuring that learning is directly applicable to day-to-day life.

Listen to the podcast here.

The Upskill With Edtech podcast series is produced by Getting Smart as part of ISTE’s SkillRise initiative. Our editor and music man is Trevor Stout. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen. For additional valuable ideas about edtech, adult learning, and upskilling, check out, where you can download the SkillRise framework and find other great resources. You can also keep up to date by following the Twitter feed @SkillRiseOrg or you can join the conversation in our Workforce EdTech LinkedIn Group.


  • 2:45 Richard discusses the role of SkillRise in the larger ISTE vision.
  • 4:40 Richard speaks to ISTE’s commitment to equity and access and how that is informed, strengthened and challenged by the current cultural moment.
  • 7:00 Richard goes deeper on the ways in which tech can (and should) increase access.
  • 9:16 Richard talks about the opportunity of the pandemic, an opportunity to reimagine and fix things that need changing — but it will not be easy.
  • 11:00 Richard talks about reboarding when returning from COVID-19 and how these conversations need to include featuring new voices, address inequities and more.
  • 12:32 Richard discusses how his work and things he has observed in K12 have helped see a way forward for the workforce, and vice versa.
  • 14:30 Richard points out how K12 could learn from the workforce by making sure that roles and learnings are practical and applicable.
  • 16:00 Richard discusses trends in policy and the growth of the widening variety of “learning sources” and how this impacts K12, higher ed and the workforce.
  • 17:30 Richard discusses how the learning model must (and is) shifting to better merge the experience of school and work, beginning with shifting the mindset towards that of lifelong learning.
  • 20:17 Richard points out the obstacles and barriers to entry that leaders will have to overcome to actualize ongoing learning. This begins with the importance of including different perspectives.
  • – 22:55 Richard reflects on one of the shortcomings of adult learning.

For more, see:

This podcast was originally published on SkillRise.

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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