Friday, October 4, 2013

your insight appreciated

The wise ones fashioned speech with their thoughts, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve. -Buddha

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare an impromptu speech.
-Mark Twain

I'm writing a speech for this conference, where I'll be appearing with these people.  It's impressive company and I hope to start the day well (I go on at 8:30 A.M.).  Here's my outline so far:

  • My journey from the classroom (as a student) to the classroom (as a teacher)
  • The mysteries of learning & consciousness
  • Intellectual freedom, exploratory play, and learning in the wild
  • My role: from anthropologist to hacker
  • Information Age zeitgeist-- context [market dynamics, politics, Common Core] and how networked awareness and community have amplified and accelerated Open Source Learning
  • Brief history of OSL and ongoing evolution (with examples from courses, blogs, student work)
  • Where I thought it would lead 
  • Where it has led/is leading
  • [Here's where I turn the screen/s off]
  • The value of interpersonal communication
  • Implications for individuals, institutions, communities, and economies
  • Announcing the first Open Source Learning campuses and school district
  • Call to action: how to form an Open Source Learning community, become an Open Source Learning adviser/partner, & support Open Source Learning around the world
I've written and delivered more than a few speeches in my time, but things are different now.  Everything I do in Open Source Learning is transparent and inclusive-- I work with a network of learning colleagues every day to create curriculum, implement effective strategies and set individual goals, and together we analyze/evaluate each path of inquiry.  We even build amazing tools for each other to help us learn.  In that spirit, I'd like your input on this talk: is there anything you think is especially important for this audience to hear or understand about what we do or how we do it?  Anything else you want innovative leaders in education to know about your experiences in school, learning, or life?  Please share in a comment; all questions and ideas welcome.


  1. I think it's important for others to understand that teenagers can actually be smart (shocker). But seriously, youths are commonly generalized into a category that makes it hard for us to be heard/accepted/etc. (all those clichés).

  2. The reason I like AP and Honors classes better than regular classes is because the entire vibe is different-- students are there because they WANT to be there. The teachers are nicer because they don't have to fight to get students to be a part of the class. During freshman and sophomore year when there weren't as many AP classes available, I hated all my College Prep classes because almost all the other students around me (besides the other "AP students" like myself who were stuck there too) were so unmotivated. This year and last year, I've been taking what they call a "full load" of AP classes, but honestly I'm so much happier when I'm in these AP classes with students who actually care. So, in the spirit of Brenna's comment above, some teenagers actually are motivated-- I just wish that environment could be extended beyond AP classrooms into the rest of the school as a whole.