Tom March @ ACEC 2010

Apologies for not publishing this post earlier. Last school holidays, Tom March was a keynote speaker at the ACEC 2010 conference. His presentation was terrific and the notes worthy of sharing (even if somewhat tardy!)

It’s broke, so fix it: remaking education for our digital era.

From a kid’s perspective, let’s get this stuff working.
Links can be found at

Strategies mentioned are all based on research. As educators today, we face some problems such as:

  • Technology: in the beginning, the internet was old ideas in a new platform.
  • Concepts now for personal learning.
  • Technology is being used everywhere, except for school.
  • There is so much control of student use of computers. However, filtering is a non issue as kids have unfiltered access outside of school.
  • Culture: now rich and personalised resources.
  • Shouldn’t be mass produced factory type of learning.
  • Schools in Georgia have 21 streams K-2.
  • Challenges? National Curriculum.
  • OECDs new millenium learner.
  • Schools should be where people are there because they want to be.
  • What institution exists where everyone who is there wants to be there? Where no one gets paid, mistakes are fixed by the community. It is Wikipedia.
  • Educators are too cautious.
  • There is a culture of distrust. Both of the user and the audience.
  • We need to be aware of mass production vs crowd sourced.
  • Motivation is currently negatively influenced by goals, evaluations and surveillance.
  • Intrinsic motivation is needed for superior conceptual understanding, further study likely, positive feelings.
  • If wikipedia can go from 0 to 3000000 in 10 years, why don’t schools learn from this?
  • Focus: need to focus due to everything being available.
  • Internet: Amusing? Intriguing? Building Knowledge?! Innovating solutions!
  • Are we always chasing the new? We should be transforming education.
  • Problem solving, creating, challenge based learning, authentic task.
  • In an age of unparalleled access to information, what do we do to help our children learn? They need
  1. Autonomy
  2. Competance
  3. Relatedness = motivation
  • Schools often undermine this.
  • Schools don’t really offer choice for students to follow what they are interested in.
  • If students are able to follow what they are interested in, then there is increased retention, higher order thinking skills, future interest, better mental health.
  • Critical thinking, habits of mind.
  • Self designed projects. Joy of learning.
  • Students need jobs (as per Alan November) add manage RSS feeds, etc.
  • We need to be knowledge building, innovative, learning pathways.
  • Danish pupils use web in exams (year 12) create and problem solve.

Is our solution something like wikipedia (everyone contributes) or ipad (already made by someone else)?

  • Choice
  • Effort
  • Quality
  • Attitude
  • Labour of
  • Love

We need to give responsibility and joy for learning back in student hands.

  • Authentic choices allow autonomy.
  • Effort and self esteem, competancy based. Real learning.
  • Connectedness and audience means quality.
  • Attitude, learner control, valuable.
  • Labour of love. They do it and do it well because they love it.
  • Happiness. Self assessment guide via a rubric.
  • Responsibility for self management.

There are some ideas worth pursuing here and Daniel Pink’s new book Drive may help explain why student motivation is so important to their success.