Summer Reading List

21 Lessons for the 21st Century. I have chosen to provide a brief overview of three books for this review; all focusing on the theme of the future, the impact of technology on society and what it means to be ‘human’ in the midst of this change. The three authors, a journalist, an entrepreneur and an academic bring their own unique perspectives to this challenge. Thomas Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who writes regular columns in the New York Times and is well known for his previous best seller “The Earth is Flat”. Friedman writes with vitality, wit, and … Continue reading Summer Reading List

“If you don’t lead with Small Data, you’ll be led by Big Data”

[This post first appeared on the ULearn Blog, October, 2018] The keynote address by renown Finnish academic and author, Pasi Sahlberg on day two of the ULearn18 conference may best be summed up as providing a warning and a call to action. While many in the audience were expecting to hear stories of how progressive the Finnish education system is, Pasi took us in a different direction. In his casual, at times ‘under-stated’ manner, he made us reflect on the challenges facing our education system and education systems around the world. Pasi then explained how we mustn’t simply expect the … Continue reading “If you don’t lead with Small Data, you’ll be led by Big Data”

The end of average

Image source: Photo by Zidonito McBrain on Unsplash I’ve just finished reading Todd Rose’s book The End of Average – a captivating read that challenges almost all of the underlying assumptions that form the basis of our current education system. Here’s a favourite quote: “From the cradle to the grave. You are measured agains the ever-present yardstick of the average, judged according to how closely you approximate it or how far you are able to exceed it” Todd Rose – The End of Average It was perfect timing to be reading this book – just as the ‘examination season’ is in full cry … Continue reading The end of average

Change, beliefs and the ‘F’ words

The annual uLearn conference is over for another year, and as the new term begins it’s worth taking a little time to reflect on the ‘big ideas’ we came away with — the overarching themes and messages that persisted through the various keynote, spotlight, and workshop presentations. I had the privilege of doing a quick summary at the end of this year’s conference, and want to share that in this blog post as an ‘aide memoire’ for those who are interested. For me, there were three ‘big ideas’ that kept surfacing (four if you count my two “F” words) which … Continue reading Change, beliefs and the ‘F’ words

Let’s start with the experience of the learner

Image source: Photo by Ben White on Unsplash Reflecting further on my two days at the Deep Learning Lab in Christchurch where the conversations canvased a wide range of issues facing teachers in schools at the moment. Not far below the surface in many conversations was the concern at being held to account for national standards, and how this expectation (real and imagined) is driving what actually happens in classrooms in many schools. The tension between what teachers believe about makes for ‘deep’ learning and the pressure to conform and focus on standards is not easily resolved, but generally results in the latter … Continue reading Let’s start with the experience of the learner

Staying ahead of the game

Image source: Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash I’ve just had the pleasure of being a part of an intensive two-day Deep Learning Lab in Christchurch with educators from the NZ schools involved in the global NPDL project. Final day keynote speaker was Kaila Colbin, a TEDx licensee, and NZ Ambassador for Singularity University. Kaila shared a compelling message about the impact of exponential change, explaining how our traditional, linear approaches to coping with change simply won’t cut it as we step forward into the future. Much of this change is can be seen in the area of technology, across all walks of … Continue reading Staying ahead of the game

Agency vs Entitlement

Image source: Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash Earlier this year I was on a flight from Auckland to Canada which had to make an unscheduled stopover in Hawaii to offload a passenger who had become seriously ill. I was very impressed by the way the Air New Zealand staff handled the incident and went about making sure every passenger was catered for in terms of their plans once they arrived in Vancouver, and whilst there was the inconvenience of having my sleep disrupted and having to wait for a bit in Vancouver for a new onward flight to Toronto, the … Continue reading Agency vs Entitlement