EduTECH - The Almighty Ken Robinson

If you have happened to live in a cave, and are unsure of Ken Robinson's achievements and work, you can check his website here: 

Not sure how much I'll get written during this keynote. Too busy listening adoringly. First impression is that he is very funny and definitely understands the power of winning over an audience. 

There is no question, this man is a terrific storyteller, laying down the scene with an anecdote about introducing the Dalai Lama and ribbing his host in the process. 

I liked the point he then raised, about the fact that education is now such a hot topic internationally and obviously his TED talks' popularity is testament to this. It's true, we have never seen such deep reflection about education on a global scale before. This in itself is awesome - awesomely good or bad, I'm not sure. The PISA flexing of muscles not so good, but the questions they then raise about education is interesting. 

He shared, of course, his epic works The Element and Out of Our Minds - learning to be creative. If you haven't read these books, you must. I loved that Ken echoed this sentiment, hilariously and repeatedly.

Recently, he tells us, he basically rewrote Out of Our Minds (which was originally written 10 years ago) simply because he had to. 10 years ago we simply did not have the access technology we do now. Yes it was there, but by no means ubiquitous as it is now. However, he stresses creativity is not in the tools and devices, creativity is in our mind. He didn't say this directly, but I this is the message I heard. 

In the 1950s, the decade he was born, they had three devices - phone, radio and if were lucky, television. Now we are caring that technology, wearing it. 

Scary thought, we (the current world population) represent 10% of the people who have ever lived on the Earth...more or less.  7.2 billion people are alive now on Earth. Each person an individual. The visual representation of population in cities was staggering. This of course led into his overview of how and why the cities have changed - going through the the Agrarian and Industrial Age. These eras have depleted our resources and are not sustainable. Industrial farming was the result of the industrial mindset - they are about yield and production rate. These, he argues, are the same principles that have been applied to education - PISA is all about yield. It is no more sustainable than industrial farming model. It is damaging the human environment. 

In farming there is a move to organic farming. We need to move to organic education. 

Organic farming is about health, ecology, fairness/equity and care. These principles need to be applied the education sector. We can't sacrifice the health of the education system, by simply responding to market pressures (see league tables).

At this point, he moved to his core passion - creativity. I suspect he sees this as the life force within the ecology of the organic education system. Rather than thinking of education of outcomes and yields we need to think of it as a living thing and we need to create a climate for growth. Every school is it's own microclimate - change needs to occur from the ground up.

Politicians are only passing through, our schools and commitment to leading change is not. 

I like this. It aligns with my thinking and indeed my reasons for kicking off the #hackyrclass project. 

Thanks Ken.


  1. Creativity permeates every last pore of my being - its rings my bells - makes my life meaningful - and inspires all of my teaching. Ken Robinson is my champion.

  2. Thanks for sharing, well written - a great read.


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