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Learning Without Frontiers

We spent the early part of this week in London with Learning Without Frontiers who were exploring the future of learning at the intersection of games, mobile devices and the internet. It was a pretty amazing couple of days with some of the best and brightest minds in education sharing their thoughts on how technology combined with serious pedagogy is going to transform learning. Thanks Graham for organizing it all!

It was particularly striking to hang out with a crowd of teachers and educators who all seemed to share a common understanding of the problems with educational institutions as they stand. There was real hunger for transformation.

On one point everyone was unanimous: web-connected smart-phones and tablets running adaptive software are about to play a central role in the liberation of both pupils and teachers from the structures and strictures of institutional education. Pupils will be able to go at their own pace, they’ll have freedom to seek out and follow pathways of curiosity; they’ll have their privacy, they’ll enjoy detailed, adaptive feedback, and they’ll be able to access help as and when they need it. Teachers, meanwhile, will be freed from the drudgery of marking homework and from the tedium of trying to force facts into unwilling pupils’ heads; they won’t have to package a single message for twenty different minds, and they’ll have the time and space to get on with what they typically enjoy about their jobs: the process of inspiring, encouraging and awakening interesting kids to the interestingness of the world. I had in mind to write just a single blog post about the event, but there were so many inspiring speakers, who said such varied and complex things, that I’ve decided to write a whole load. My apologies in advance.

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