21st C. Learning Summit – And End and a Beginning

On Thursday, October 14, 2010, Solution Tree’s 21st C. Learning Summit closed with provocateur Will Richardson. For the first time that week, rather ironically, the speaker established a backchannel for behind-the-scenes conversations and questions. For the first time that week, rather ironically, the speaker used a share-able presentation tool that required no paper.


With a similar message to that of Chris Dede, Will Richardson compelled the audience to realize that learning is a 24-hour-a-day possibility with the advantages of countless learning networks. Education is distributed now, and it is no longer essentially confined to the time and space called school. In fact, school sometimes gets in the way of deep, efficient learning, because it often is the slowest institution to change and adapt. Students utilize smart phones rather effortlessly to stay connected and to learn, but schools often ask students to check their phones at the door. Cheryl Lemke had said it the day before – school is now but one of many nodes on a stident’s primary learning carrosel, and we need to accept that we no longer occupy the most important or central position…not while we lag behind this generations normal modalities of learning and growing. Doug Fisher, too, practically scolded us for banning cell phones from students in school. If we don’t teach students to use their networks and tools wisely, who will? Schools, let’s make sure we stay relevant and provide the coaching and immersive education that students deserve.

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