The community will lead – from Stephen Heppell

The opportunity to hear Stephen Heppell again in a recent Keynote session was a winner for me (albeit via video)! He has long been a leader of learning, inspiring innovators the world over (including my own Director Greg Whitby) to move forward in response to the urgent needs of 21st century learning. I have had the pleasure of seeing Stephen ‘live’ for a conference Keynote for the International Association of School Librarianship in HongKong back in 2005. A rare treat for those of us from Australia.

Stephen mentions his mobile phone in this Scottish keynote. I remember spending a pleasant evening at the same IASL conference dinner with him….. and I remember a guy full of fun, and down-to-earth enthusiasm. Stephen used his mobile phone to help me do quick calculations during a fund raising auction at the conference dinner, and generally spent heaps of time talking with us about what he can do and what he will be able to do in the future with his phone! I love listening to Stephen :-)

Ewan McIntosh alerted us to the keynotes for the Scottish Learning Festival which have been made available now in a version that will play on your video iPod or MP4 player.

It’s a great way to revisit the rich resource that each keynote address provides. You can right-click (or ctrl-click on a Mac) each of the links below to download these to your computer, and drag them to your iPod or into iTunes:Three of them are of particular interest to me:

but I want to focus on the last one for now.

Stephen Heppell explores the consequences of technology and change and reiterates that learning will get better and better, with a transparency in understanding, and with downsizing of schools and schooling. He talks of small schools at the end of each road addressing the personalized learning of students – genuinely responding to what I heard about ‘individuation’ from Yoram Harpaz.

He explains that the future is ‘massively about teamwork’ and collaboration. It is about stuff that is free, and people reporting, and huge amounts of real-time data helping us make judgments about what we should do and what we shouldn’t do. He asks ‘where are we with real-time data’? What are we doing with our mobile phones? etc. What we need is to allow pupil-centric approaches to learning to take over – technology empowering this all the way.

For Stephen ‘identity’ and ‘time’ are critical. Real time use of technology is extraordinary and evolving in amazing ways. In this context, doing the job of teaching is spectacularly complex and getting harder every day.One thing that is clear is that Stephen has moved well beyond the notion of system schooling, redesigning schooling, top-down structure etc. He talks about a learning world built from the bottom up.We’re a long way off from what we need – or are we?

Let Stephen explain.

Photo: School Bell
  • A directory of wonderful things

    For our schools it is time to take a well-earned break with the term 3 holidays now underway. So it’s time for me to have a bit of fun on this blog too before I get back to more serious matters….

    Time to talk about wonderful things…boing boing style …. prompted by my lightweight breakfast reading of the Sun Herald (no, not my choice of paper).

    An article there about a device that creates plates, bowls and other tableware on demand and recycles them (a Star Treck fan like me recognises this!) , produced as a prototype by MIT led me to comment “I bet they got that from boing boing!”

    A little research showed me that Boing Boing listed the story Dishmaker: Printer for Dishes on February 12, which came from Gizmodo, who had linked to this story 12 months earlier at TreeHugger. Well, here’s a video about the earlier prototype…you are looking at the beginning of replicators for us all :-)

    By the way, boingboing is a weblog of cultural curiosities and interesting technologies, and is listed by Technorati as Number two blog in the world, with Engadget, the number one blog in the world, having replaced boing boing at the top.

    Boing Boing is a ‘beaut’ blog full of eclectic news!

    Today I read about a recent “in-world” labor protest that took place in Second Life. The company in question: IBM. The aggrieved: 1850 avatars, including some bananas and triangles. Link.

    I discovered a beautiful Gallery of Illustrated Endpapers. What are they? Endpapers are the inside covers and facing pages of books. Today, endpapers are almost always blank. But our more sophisticated forebears made good use of endpapers by adding thematic illustrations to them.

    Look at the endpapers here.

    I also found out about a Terry Pratchett DiscWorld reading order guide; thought about the Walk to Rivendell challenge; and saw how mobile technology worked for a reporter in Myanmar who had had his camera confiscated.

    There’s lots more to read on Boing Boing every day – so add it to your RSS reader! Lots of good ideas to provoke discussions in your classrooms.

    Now, settle back and watch another video – Dice Stacking – reported by Boing Boing of course!

  • Passion is the purpose….I knew that!

    If you’re a teacher, especially if you are an ICT teacher ‘doing’ software or programming, then I have to share a ripping good read from Giles with you.

    You know, Giles realised something, that he says is specific to his own circumstance.

    I realised that what he wrote is a ‘must read’ for schoolies!

    We all have to think differently, and infuse our learning purpose with passion and diversity. Go on, read When the Beast is Born, and decide what class or staff meeting you will use this piece for a discussion starter :-)

    Danah Boyd and thoughts on Myspace …. and more

    A snippet from Danah Boyd’s talk here in Brisbane, Australia …….from Mike Seyfang – via Twitter of course :-).

    Danah spoke at the education.au seminar today about the rise of social networks and the profiles that students develop and make public on their myspace site. For more information and access to the public podcast later this week read Garry’s Who are your Online Friends?

    I think bloggers don’t read….Cult of the Amateur

    From the Guardian Unlimited comes a write-up by Tim Dowling about Andrew Keen, the man who says the internet is populated by second-rate amateurs – and that it is swiftly destroying our culture.

    Denizens of the cyberswamp? A million monkeys at a million typewriters? Misplaced faith in the integrity of the amateur – the citizen journalist, the self-published author, the mash-up musician?

    To my mind Wikipedia is not wise,” says Keen. “It’s dumb. Not necessarily because all its contributors are dumb, but because if you don’t have an editor in charge, and you don’t have singular voices, then the intellectual quality of what the crowd produces is very low.

    Dowling says that Keen’s argument strikes a chord with certain professions, particularly librarians, editors and educators  (oh, that’s my group!). Keen’s critics, on the other hand, see him as defending a largely abandoned redoubt: old media, with its outmoded “gatekeepers” and structural hierarchies.

    Read the article and catch up with the criticism.

    The Book: The Cult of the Amateur, with the no-messing-about subtitle “How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy”.