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