Harnessing learning power through video

We (a collection of ambitious educators including the marvellous Jim Smith author of “The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook”) ran a student conference in 2008 with 100 students from 10 secondary schools. Their task over the two day residential was to ‘RE-BRAND LEARNING’. Above is just one of the outcomes from one group. Bear in mind, this was a group of learners who hadn’t met each other before the conference and came from very different schools and backgrounds. Yet when it came to learning, they were pretty clear about what they wanted…

The new site launched earlier this month by TED-ED has a call-out for videos to inspire learning and learners in the true spirit of www.TED.com. As you know, I’ve put together TEDucation which attempts to use the wealth of ideas from all the TED talks to reflect on and adapt to learning contexts. This project is a natural next step for TEDsters across the globe. There’s a place to engage through the TED-ED forum and a growing number of questions to respond to.

So, if nothing else, the TED-ED video opportunity could be a fabulous student project, and it could be very naturally linked to the amazing work of the #purposed team (@purposeducation).

“Make your own short film about what YOU think is the purpose of education.” and upload it to a global audience. Now THERE’S an opportunity for some awesome learning.

How we learn (VIDEO) from www.born-to-learn.org

I read John Abbott (@21learn)’s book, “Over-schooled but undereducated” a while ago now and have kept up with the 21st Learning Initiative (@iwasborntolearn) with interest. This animation (the first of a series) is the latest in a new suite of projects they’re launching. It’s definitely worth a watch and sharing with staff and parents and carers to generate discussion. They are launching a website on 28th March at www.born-to-learn.org to accompany the video projects. 


Blooming marvellous!

I love Twitter! I have so much to thank it for. Not least, for the fact that it has connected me with so many amazing people, their inspirational ideas, resources and on-going support. Today, I am particularly grateful for my connection with Cristina Milos @surreallyno and her wonderful blog “ateacherswonderings”. Cristina teaches in an IB school in Romania and she is whole-heartedly committed to engaging her own creative powers to grow the creative powers of her pupils.

Today, after Cristina had commented on a TEDucation post I’d just published, I followed a link to her blog, and came across this great book that she had come across on Storybird by the amazing janeh271 (if you click on her name, you’ll get to see her other great works – well worth a read!). It  explains Bloom’s taxonomy in the most engaging & accessible way. I hope you enjoy it and can use it. Thank you Cristina, thank you Twitter and my Personal Learning Network. A good day to be connected today.

It’s all about learning…

Every link is a new idea (New video from Michael Wesch)

Not only applicable to university, but to all phases of education. Michael Wesch (@mwesch) is the originator of “A Vision of Students Today”, which went viral a few years ago and if you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth a watch as a staff meeting.

Here are six minutes of his latest insight worth reflecting on…enjoy. I love the concept of  ‘peer production’ as a ‘movement’, resulting from Web 2.0 opportunities for knowledge construction.

JK Rowling and The Power of Failure

I came across JK Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech whilst doing some background research into Carol Dweck’s Mindset work. There’s some great resources there (just click on the link) if you want to do any work with learners on the power of failure here. But, if you can possibly spare 25 minutes or so, I highly recommend that you make yourself a cup of tea/ coffee and take some time out to enjoy this inspirational speech. Then you might want to show it to some students…

Digital discernment: Nurturing our real and digital selves

I write and talk a lot about the capacities and dispositions we seek to explicitly nurture in our learners. Recently, however, there is one particular quality I keep thinking about. This is the quality of discernment. It is the one learning capacity that has, for the moment, started to take precedence over the others. I’m not advocating any form of hierarchy amongst all learning capacities here, but I am increasingly finding that the need for the explicit development of discernment in learners is more pressing than ever. In our saturated world of information, our ability to search, sort and select appropriate, reliable and credible information is fast becoming as important to our digital learners as a compass is for sailors in stormy seas. This is equally the case when it comes to the safeguarding and nurturing of our digital footprints.

I came across this slideshare presentation from Alec Couros @courosa and found that it provided me with some pertinent questions within this topic. It reminds me of the issues we must continue to revisit both as educators and as participants, on our own behalf, in the digital landscape. 

New blogging project: TEDucation goes live!


As a result of my love of the many learning possibilities presented by www.TED.com, I’ve finally got around to putting into existence an idea I’ve had for about two years now. I have created a new blog site, www.teducation.posterous.com. The purpose of this site is to capture, organise and create an interactive and reflective learning space that is regularly refreshed by the inspirational speakers of TED Talks and TEDx Talks.

My entire learning philosophy is underpinned by my conviction that we learn best when we are both outward looking and inward thinking. This means that I feed my insatiable curiosity by listening, watching and learning from as many different people doing as many different things in as many different fields. So, if businesses are finding new ways to interact with their clients, then maybe there’s something in what they find out that can be used by us to find new ways to interact with our students. Alternatively, if sport has some insight on motivation, then I reckon we can probably use this in a range of contexts when we’re inspiring young people.

I reckon that TED talks offers a rich environment for us all to collect some pretty good ideas when it comes to how our students are motivated to truly involve themselves in their own learning journey.

I am keen to hear from others using the comments section or emailing me with their own favourite TED talks for learning, so we can build a bigger resource bank of TED-inspired ideas for learning.

I hope you enjoy the site and get involved with the TED talks here.



Optimus National Gifted & Talented Conference

I’ve been speaking at the Optimus National G&T Conference today and I’ve had a great day meeting lots of enthusiastic teachers eager to develop quality teaching & learning opportunities for all learners in their schools. Optimus are great conference organisers, it must also be noted.

7th November 2010: I’ve now taken the pdf documents down as I’m busy creating and adapting new versions. Once they’re ready, I’ll put them up for your perusal and further comment. If you want to get hold of any of my resources, just drop me a line and I’ll try my best to help out.

I’m writing the Full On Learning book at the moment, so everything I write and create is now subject to copyright, hence I have to be watchful about what I can make available. This is weird for me as I’m used to putting everything up for sharing. Sorry about this!

Happy learning.


Creating ‘liquid networks and nurturing ‘slow hunches’

I cannot believe that it is already the third week of term. I haven’t written a post for all of that time, apart from transporting a couple of posts here from a sister site. Despite all good intentions, my regime of all-things-writing has also gone by the wayside. Note to self: ‘MUST do better.” And this blog isn’t going to shed too much light on my full head of thoughts right now, either. Instead, I though I would share this TED talk that I’ve just been watching (notebook in hand, for this is how I recommend watching all TED talks).

This talk is a fascinating journey through the history of ideas by Steven Johnson. For me, always the learning geek, I translate all that is presented into questions around school and learning. So when he makes observations about the ‘Architecture of Spaces’, for me, it raises the question of how we might consider working with our existing (and new) learning spaces; nothing new there, granted. But the heart of this talk is to observe the way in which humans are a social species where we spark off each other in order to innovate. How, then, do we organise learning, not just the physical aspects of it, to ensure that they encourage opportunities for the establishment of networks and the collision of ideas and nurturing as ‘slow hunches’. I have a few ideas about this, but in the meantime, make a cuppa and put your feet up for 20 minutes and enjoy learning from another great talk. I would embed it here but posterous appears not to be co-operating with me, so here’s the link instead.

Let me know what you think.


“If everyone could educate, we could educate everyone”.

First thing this morning, I was uploading a file to my @DropBox account and noticed that they were hiring. Out of interest, I had a look at what working at a company like DropBox might entail, and saw this:


How cool! It describes how it offers a working environment that appeals specifically to to the way in which they want their employees to think and live.

How might we define the ‘benefits’ of learning to reflect the type of mindsets we want our learners to develop, I wonder? Could we write a Job Description for a learner that truly reflects the skills and dispositions we are seeking to draw out of them? And how would this same rule apply to educators? I would have loved ‘sense of fun, play and exploration’ to have been listed under ‘essentials’ in my job description when I was starting out in the classroom. That’s certainly that type of learning environment I always sought to establish when I was teaching. I would like to think that I still express this quality as ‘essential’ now I work with teachers and teaching assistants.

It chimed with the work I’ve been doing recently that incorporates the concepts of Daniel Pink’s book DRIVE into an educational pedagogy. In particular, his TED Talk and RSAnimate talk about Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. I’ll be posting about this very soon, with some very simple ‘think-resources’ that I’m testing out, but take a look at the talk(s) and see what you think.

I then came across this TEDx Talk by John Werner and MacCalvin Romain from Boston TEDx and was reminded of the @theRSAorg   RSA Area Based Curriculum Projects; something I would love to start developing with schools in my own work. As I continued to listen to the talk, however, an alarm bell went off. I love the sentiment of ‘if everybody could educate, we could educate everyone’ but ONLY if they are supported to share their thinking through the channel of an effective pedagogy. In this way, we would create a truly collaborative environment of learning:

1.Teachers and students would learn about their subject as it is applied in a wider and applied context
2. Industry would learn from educators about how to the develop skills, gifts and dispositions found within in their workforce
3. Industry would gain an insight into the perspective of young people, their next generation of consumers, participants, employees and leaders.
4. Young people would have access to mentors, role-models and indutry-trained and experienced practitioners
5. Schools and colleges would connect with local business and employers to form a community hub

All of this would ensure that they schools can offer the best possible ways in which students can access the curriculum, in addition to the offer of an enhanced curriculum in itself. 

Not only that, but it then makes me think of how powerful would it be if we, as educators, shared our own expertise about how humans learn and develop with those who run businesses, laboratories and retail outlets. I wonder what impact that might have on the way in which the workplace is organised, how we encourage innovation and how organisations can nurture the capacities of not just our children and young people but those who are already in the workplace, seeking fulfilment in what they do, how they act and how they contribute to the future economies and communities which we are preparing for our young people to enter. How this might support the development of life-wide (rather than life-long) learning?

Some random musings for a Tuesday morning, at least.