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Shakabuku Infographics Video

Since Twitter was Unavailable…

I’ve spent the last several days at the EARCOS Education Leadership Conference in Kuala Lumpur. It’s been an interesting conference for heads of school and board members of international schools from throughout East Asia.

They’ve been working me pretty hard, but I have had the opportunity see some friends, make some new ones and attend some sessions. Milton Chen delivered the opening keynote address, my first time seeing him speak. The second day was opened by Alan November, perhaps the best keynote I’ve seen him deliver. He shared an idea that he had suggested during the pre-conference workshop I facilitated on Wednesday (I think it was Wednesday).  Probably more on that later…

But it was Greg Whitby’s keynote on the third day that really spoke the most “truth to stupid” that I’ve heard in a long time.  The notes I took using Mindo on my iPad are available here (see right).  

Since the Internet access was spotty, at best, throughout the conference, I was not able to tweet statements out that I wanted to.  So I thought I would just tweet them here with a few more than 140 characters of commentary.

We shouldn’t be talking about schools of the future.

First of all, we have no way of knowing what schools of the future will look like.  What we need to be addressing is the schools our children need right now.

Whitby, in comparying industrial age schooling with what’s more relevant to today’s children, he said that we need to..

Make learning compulsory and attendance optional.

It’s an excellent shakabuku., but its practice would need to be explained, if possible.  Still, like so much of the conversation I’m witnessing at conferences today, the focus is on the learning.

Whitby also warned that we have to get this right and do so with a compelling narrative.  If we don’t, then someone else (Silicon Valley) will step in, and…

What we could get is good technology, but poor pedagogy.

This rang my HackEducation bell and the ongoing reporting of Audrey Waters.  But then he said something that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around.  He said that,

The more personalized the education experience, the more we know about the learner and the quality of the learning.

I’m not sure how this works except that personalized learning may result in more conversation between teachers and individual learners.

Another very simple statement that doesn’t need much expiation was that

Schooling today is (1) personalized, (2) de-privatized, (3) technology-invisible and (4) agile.

It was odd, a video that Whitby played during his keynote, about a school in Australia 250 students in one enlarged classroom and several teachers.  You see we were taught about “open learning spaces” when I was in education school more than 35 years ago.  I student-taught in an open space with a team of teachers.  The the problem was that we didn’t have a new narrative to attach the concepts to.  It stood no chance.  Today we’re trying to write and tell that story –– and we’d better not get it wrong.






  • http://athinkinghead.blogspot.co.uk Richard Backhouse

    The school of the future is surely worth thinking about in the sense that we can see what leisure and social use of technology are already teaching kids. Trends are well-established, and we can predict much of what these parts of young people’s lives will teach them in the short-medium run. Schools must make sure that they fill in gaps, so that kids don’t have major learning blind spots. If kids in an Ethiopian village can pick up 37 apps on average when given a tablet and no tuition(and they can), we don’t have to teach this in school. It might mean that they have not learned so much, and will not learn so much, in social and leisure time from conversation and debate, and so classroom teaching needs, to some extent, to deliberately avoid the learning they do organically, and when using it, to make sure that we are harnessing, and not teaching, what they already know.

  • Rachel

    Hey! I am a student at the University of South Alabama, and I am in EDM 310. It sounds like you had a successful trip! I am sorry to hear about the poor internet connection, though. I think we should be talking about schools in the future. Education is changing so fast, and we need to be prepared. I can see school attendance being somewhat optional in the future, but not now. It seems like students will only be going to class a few days a week, and the rest by a computer at home. If students need additional help they can come to school on days not required. That is just my opinion. Great post!

  • http://karenmahon.com Karen Mahon

    I love the comment, “The more personalized the education experience, the more we know about the learner and the quality of the learning.” My interpretation of that is that Whitby is referring to the power of personalized, adaptive, computer-based instruction. Not only can we design programs that adjust, on-the-fly, to patterns of student responses, but every keystroke or touch that registers on the computer or device can be recorded. Those data tell us so much about the learners and their skill repertoires, allowing us to target instruction that much more effectively.

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Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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Books Written

Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network
2nd Edition (2012)

Redefining Literacy 2.0 (2008)
Classroom Blogging
(2007) • Lulu
• Amazon
Raw Materials for the Mind

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