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(5)
Optimism
Posted by: Gina on the 04/10/2012
Probably the thing I love the most about what Stephen talks about - in all his work - is this unflagging optimism in young people and what they will achieve and what WE can achieve.
Reply
Stephen Heppell
Posted by: Denis Pyatt on the 04/10/2012
Thanks for this Stephen. I loved your emphasis on the importance of "astonishment" in education.
Reply
Posted by: Anonymous on the 04/10/2012
Enjoyed _Stephen manages to say what many of us can only just imagine. thank you
Reply
Excellent video
Posted by: Hannah Jones on the 04/10/2012
As ever an excellent video and one that all educators should watch. Looking forward to sharing this with colleagues and leaders-thanks Stephen.
Reply
Thanks!
Posted by: Stephen Heppell on the 04/10/2012
wow - I wibble on for a while, then the product of Jane's wonderful filming, with Michael's gifted editing creates something really compelling - thanks guys!
Reply
Optimism
Posted by: Gina on the 04/10/2012
Probably the thing I love the most about what Stephen talks about - in all his work - is this unflagging optimism in young people and what they will achieve and what WE can achieve.
Reply
Stephen Heppell
Posted by: Denis Pyatt on the 04/10/2012
Thanks for this Stephen. I loved your emphasis on the importance of "astonishment" in education.
Reply
Posted by: Anonymous on the 04/10/2012
Enjoyed _Stephen manages to say what many of us can only just imagine. thank you
Reply
Excellent video
Posted by: Hannah Jones on the 04/10/2012
As ever an excellent video and one that all educators should watch. Looking forward to sharing this with colleagues and leaders-thanks Stephen.
Reply
Thanks!
Posted by: Stephen Heppell on the 04/10/2012
wow - I wibble on for a while, then the product of Jane's wonderful filming, with Michael's gifted editing creates something really compelling - thanks guys!
Reply
Speaker: Stephen Heppell

Stephen Heppell is at the heart of a global revolution in learning space design. In this ULearn11 EDtalk Stephen explains why he believes that the 'structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement, seduction, delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world'. Stephen shares his conviction that if we want to know what education will look like in the future, we only need to look at what is happening in the online world now. 

Views 26,486
Date added: 28 Oct 2011
Duration:

You know one of the advantages of being old is that you get a chance to look back on what you’ve said and what I’ve realised I think, and I was a bit late to realise this, is that the work we were doing with online learning spaces, at the end of the 90s, the end of the 80s let alone the 90s; the work we were doing prototyped what education was going to look like in the future. It was pretty dam clear that kids liked to work with each other. That peer support and reaffirmation mattered. That exhibition and celebration were crucial really. That they didn’t want to stop once they got their head down and going. That sense of immersion was pretty engaging, actually was seductive. And they didn’t want to stop because it was time to go home, or because it was the holidays or because it was the weekend. They were online - they were pretty immersed. And I then found myself of course, building physical schools. And what I found I was building were things that were 15 years down the track from what we had been doing online. So the schools we were building, and you’ve seen the mantra of you know, third millennium schools, the rule of three, they typically have only got three walls, no fewer than three points of focus, they are capable of having three teachers or more with their communities in them at once. And of course that’s what we were finding online. There wasn’t that fourth wall online - you could go anywhere.

And the buildings we were putting together were as engaging and seductive as the learning communities had been ten years before. So you’ve got this nice little model really that if you really want to know what education looks like ten years out you know that with absolute certainty today, 15 years out you’ve got some pretty good hunches, 25 years out, you wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it but it would be worth a flutter.

So what does it look like? Well of course, it’s global. The thought you might have a national curriculum. I mean I flew here on a, I think it was a QANTAS plane, you know Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service. You know that’s not a national carrier anymore. Belgium doesn’t, I used to fly Sabina, it was a Belgium airline and they would give you beer and chocolates because it was Belgium. They are global carriers now. There won’t be a national curriculum it will be global. I’m sitting here with a Swiss watch, don’t know where my shirt was made, you know, shoes in Italy, I wish, but I am sitting here clothed in global stuff looking at a Sony camera, sitting probably on a stool made in New Zealand in a room probably designed by a Dane. So of course we’re not going to have a national curriculum. Kids want to connect. I mean the classes we are building now the kids are hungry to have a Skype bar in the back because a natural part of their everyday life is to talk to other children. 

Of course one of the things we have learnt from the online world today is there is no flipping business model, you know, it is proper chaos. I had a conversation with Nicholas Bostrom who set up Skype. I said, “What was your business model there mate, you know, it’s gone pretty well”. And he said “Well we didn’t really have one but we kind of thought that when half the phone calls in the world are free if half of them are ours, we wouldn’t really need a business model. We’d be doing all right.” And that’s true of Youtube, Twitter. So our old business models of education you know wouldn’t possibly survive, of national and private provision and state intervention, you just know that’s not going to be where we are. And not so long ago if I had told you, you were going to pay more than five pound a month on your phone bill you would have thought I was a fool because that was, you had a phone screwed to the wall and you phoned someone up on the off chance they were walking past the wall at the right time and that did the job. I don’t know what people watching this pay for their phone bill now but it is significantly different to what they used to pay. The same will be true of education. We will have multiple models of provision. 

As you have seen in South America, the way that those fully functioning farms are now full of kids running an active farm and earning enough money to pay for their own education so they’ve got the best school in the district and the best farm in the district and they’re learning to be the best farmers, and they are graduating. All with no money at all, actually with no money. So I’m building a school in England with no capital at all. A brand new school for 1800 kids, there is no capital there is no money. So all our assumptions about who provides for this and who pays for this will go. And you know, one of the really interesting things, if you look around New Zealand there is not a company in New Zealand that doesn’t aspire to be a learning organisation, and they haven’t got the foggiest idea how to do it. They all know how to do training, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve still got a room full of videodisks because they didn’t want to throw them away. They know how to do training but they don’t have the foggiest idea how to do learning. So suddenly the skills we have in our schools of making learning happen, not education, education hasn’t got a hope, but making learning happen are incredibly precious.

Another thing we know with absolute certainly is that online you keep meeting surprises that you are constantly astonished by, you think “Blimey I wasn’t expecting that.” Now our education system is full of the exact opposite. It is full of kids sitting in the exam room thinking, “I hope there’s no surprises” and their teachers thinking “I hope I’ve prepared them for every contingency.” That prepares them for nothing. That prepares them for a world of 1973 but the world coming thick and fast is a world that astonishes us. Partly of course because technology, it’s a bit like Icarus, technology allows us to fly a bit nearer the edge, and damn it goes wrong. I mean, a great example right here in the Bay of Plenty, just the other day an oil tanker goes aground, and it was, what was it, three days before people had filled in the forms and done the paperwork to start getting the oil off. That was because they had all been trained to do that at school. What they should have been trained to do was to cope with the unexpected. And so you know that the schools of the future have to astonish kids. If they don’t astonish children the kids won’t be able to astonish us back. If they don’t astonish us back we are trapped in a world just overwhelmed by the Egypts and the Tsunamis and the catastrophes of the future. 

So you know it is really easy to just look around at where we are online, and say there it is right in front of you on the screen, that’s the school of tomorrow. And I don’t mean of course that the school of tomorrow is going to be on a little screen like that but I mean that the structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement and seduction and delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world. And if we don’t do it the kids won’t wait for us they’ll just go somewhere else, they’ve got choices. And that’s really important for New Zealand because golly gosh, you know, you go back two generations this place was a flipping long way from anywhere. It is a mouse click away now. You know I’m regularly Skyping to people here and in Australia and all around the world. So you have the option to do every online job on the planet from here right now. You only need kids that are in this millennium and a bit of ambition. It’s not much to ask is it?

You know one of the advantages of being old is that you get a chance to look back on what you’ve said and what I’ve realised I think, and I was a bit late to realise this, is that the work we were doing with online learning spaces, at the end of the 90s, the end of the 80s let alone the 90s; the work we were doing prototyped what education was going to look like in the future. It was pretty dam clear that kids liked to work with each other. That peer support and reaffirmation mattered. That exhibition and celebration were crucial really. That they didn’t want to stop once they got their head down and going. That sense of immersion was pretty engaging, actually was seductive. And they didn’t want to stop because it was time to go home, or because it was the holidays or because it was the weekend. They were online - they were pretty immersed. And I then found myself of course, building physical schools. And what I found I was building were things that were 15 years down the track from what we had been doing online. So the schools we were building, and you’ve seen the mantra of you know, third millennium schools, the rule of three, they typically have only got three walls, no fewer than three points of focus, they are capable of having three teachers or more with their communities in them at once. And of course that’s what we were finding online. There wasn’t that fourth wall online - you could go anywhere.

And the buildings we were putting together were as engaging and seductive as the learning communities had been ten years before. So you’ve got this nice little model really that if you really want to know what education looks like ten years out you know that with absolute certainty today, 15 years out you’ve got some pretty good hunches, 25 years out, you wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it but it would be worth a flutter.

So what does it look like? Well of course, it’s global. The thought you might have a national curriculum. I mean I flew here on a, I think it was a QANTAS plane, you know Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service. You know that’s not a national carrier anymore. Belgium doesn’t, I used to fly Sabina, it was a Belgium airline and they would give you beer and chocolates because it was Belgium. They are global carriers now. There won’t be a national curriculum it will be global. I’m sitting here with a Swiss watch, don’t know where my shirt was made, you know, shoes in Italy, I wish, but I am sitting here clothed in global stuff looking at a Sony camera, sitting probably on a stool made in New Zealand in a room probably designed by a Dane. So of course we’re not going to have a national curriculum. Kids want to connect. I mean the classes we are building now the kids are hungry to have a Skype bar in the back because a natural part of their everyday life is to talk to other children. 

Of course one of the things we have learnt from the online world today is there is no flipping business model, you know, it is proper chaos. I had a conversation with Nicholas Bostrom who set up Skype. I said, “What was your business model there mate, you know, it’s gone pretty well”. And he said “Well we didn’t really have one but we kind of thought that when half the phone calls in the world are free if half of them are ours, we wouldn’t really need a business model. We’d be doing all right.” And that’s true of Youtube, Twitter. So our old business models of education you know wouldn’t possibly survive, of national and private provision and state intervention, you just know that’s not going to be where we are. And not so long ago if I had told you, you were going to pay more than five pound a month on your phone bill you would have thought I was a fool because that was, you had a phone screwed to the wall and you phoned someone up on the off chance they were walking past the wall at the right time and that did the job. I don’t know what people watching this pay for their phone bill now but it is significantly different to what they used to pay. The same will be true of education. We will have multiple models of provision. 

As you have seen in South America, the way that those fully functioning farms are now full of kids running an active farm and earning enough money to pay for their own education so they’ve got the best school in the district and the best farm in the district and they’re learning to be the best farmers, and they are graduating. All with no money at all, actually with no money. So I’m building a school in England with no capital at all. A brand new school for 1800 kids, there is no capital there is no money. So all our assumptions about who provides for this and who pays for this will go. And you know, one of the really interesting things, if you look around New Zealand there is not a company in New Zealand that doesn’t aspire to be a learning organisation, and they haven’t got the foggiest idea how to do it. They all know how to do training, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve still got a room full of videodisks because they didn’t want to throw them away. They know how to do training but they don’t have the foggiest idea how to do learning. So suddenly the skills we have in our schools of making learning happen, not education, education hasn’t got a hope, but making learning happen are incredibly precious.

Another thing we know with absolute certainly is that online you keep meeting surprises that you are constantly astonished by, you think “Blimey I wasn’t expecting that.” Now our education system is full of the exact opposite. It is full of kids sitting in the exam room thinking, “I hope there’s no surprises” and their teachers thinking “I hope I’ve prepared them for every contingency.” That prepares them for nothing. That prepares them for a world of 1973 but the world coming thick and fast is a world that astonishes us. Partly of course because technology, it’s a bit like Icarus, technology allows us to fly a bit nearer the edge, and damn it goes wrong. I mean, a great example right here in the Bay of Plenty, just the other day an oil tanker goes aground, and it was, what was it, three days before people had filled in the forms and done the paperwork to start getting the oil off. That was because they had all been trained to do that at school. What they should have been trained to do was to cope with the unexpected. And so you know that the schools of the future have to astonish kids. If they don’t astonish children the kids won’t be able to astonish us back. If they don’t astonish us back we are trapped in a world just overwhelmed by the Egypts and the Tsunamis and the catastrophes of the future. 

So you know it is really easy to just look around at where we are online, and say there it is right in front of you on the screen, that’s the school of tomorrow. And I don’t mean of course that the school of tomorrow is going to be on a little screen like that but I mean that the structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement and seduction and delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world. And if we don’t do it the kids won’t wait for us they’ll just go somewhere else, they’ve got choices. And that’s really important for New Zealand because golly gosh, you know, you go back two generations this place was a flipping long way from anywhere. It is a mouse click away now. You know I’m regularly Skyping to people here and in Australia and all around the world. So you have the option to do every online job on the planet from here right now. You only need kids that are in this millennium and a bit of ambition. It’s not much to ask is it?

Date added: 10/28/2011
Possible futures
Date added: 10/28/2011

Possible futures

Stephen Heppell is at the heart of a global revolution in learning space design. In this ULearn11 EDtalk Stephen explains why he believes that the 'structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement, seduction, delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world'. Stephen shares his conviction that if we want to know what education will look like in the future, we only need to look at what is happening in the online world now. 

Views 26,486 Date added: 02/10/2012

Possible futures

You know one of the advantages of being old is that you get a chance to look back on what you’ve said and what I’ve realised I think, and I was a bit late to realise this, is that the work we were doing with online learning spaces, at the end of the 90s, the end of the 80s let alone the 90s; the work we were doing prototyped what education was going to look like in the future. It was pretty dam clear that kids liked to work with each other. That peer support and reaffirmation mattered. That exhibition and celebration were crucial really. That they didn’t want to stop once they got their head down and going. That sense of immersion was pretty engaging, actually was seductive. And they didn’t want to stop because it was time to go home, or because it was the holidays or because it was the weekend. They were online - they were pretty immersed. And I then found myself of course, building physical schools. And what I found I was building were things that were 15 years down the track from what we had been doing online. So the schools we were building, and you’ve seen the mantra of you know, third millennium schools, the rule of three, they typically have only got three walls, no fewer than three points of focus, they are capable of having three teachers or more with their communities in them at once. And of course that’s what we were finding online. There wasn’t that fourth wall online - you could go anywhere.

And the buildings we were putting together were as engaging and seductive as the learning communities had been ten years before. So you’ve got this nice little model really that if you really want to know what education looks like ten years out you know that with absolute certainty today, 15 years out you’ve got some pretty good hunches, 25 years out, you wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it but it would be worth a flutter.

So what does it look like? Well of course, it’s global. The thought you might have a national curriculum. I mean I flew here on a, I think it was a QANTAS plane, you know Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service. You know that’s not a national carrier anymore. Belgium doesn’t, I used to fly Sabina, it was a Belgium airline and they would give you beer and chocolates because it was Belgium. They are global carriers now. There won’t be a national curriculum it will be global. I’m sitting here with a Swiss watch, don’t know where my shirt was made, you know, shoes in Italy, I wish, but I am sitting here clothed in global stuff looking at a Sony camera, sitting probably on a stool made in New Zealand in a room probably designed by a Dane. So of course we’re not going to have a national curriculum. Kids want to connect. I mean the classes we are building now the kids are hungry to have a Skype bar in the back because a natural part of their everyday life is to talk to other children. 

Of course one of the things we have learnt from the online world today is there is no flipping business model, you know, it is proper chaos. I had a conversation with Nicholas Bostrom who set up Skype. I said, “What was your business model there mate, you know, it’s gone pretty well”. And he said “Well we didn’t really have one but we kind of thought that when half the phone calls in the world are free if half of them are ours, we wouldn’t really need a business model. We’d be doing all right.” And that’s true of Youtube, Twitter. So our old business models of education you know wouldn’t possibly survive, of national and private provision and state intervention, you just know that’s not going to be where we are. And not so long ago if I had told you, you were going to pay more than five pound a month on your phone bill you would have thought I was a fool because that was, you had a phone screwed to the wall and you phoned someone up on the off chance they were walking past the wall at the right time and that did the job. I don’t know what people watching this pay for their phone bill now but it is significantly different to what they used to pay. The same will be true of education. We will have multiple models of provision. 

As you have seen in South America, the way that those fully functioning farms are now full of kids running an active farm and earning enough money to pay for their own education so they’ve got the best school in the district and the best farm in the district and they’re learning to be the best farmers, and they are graduating. All with no money at all, actually with no money. So I’m building a school in England with no capital at all. A brand new school for 1800 kids, there is no capital there is no money. So all our assumptions about who provides for this and who pays for this will go. And you know, one of the really interesting things, if you look around New Zealand there is not a company in New Zealand that doesn’t aspire to be a learning organisation, and they haven’t got the foggiest idea how to do it. They all know how to do training, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve still got a room full of videodisks because they didn’t want to throw them away. They know how to do training but they don’t have the foggiest idea how to do learning. So suddenly the skills we have in our schools of making learning happen, not education, education hasn’t got a hope, but making learning happen are incredibly precious.

Another thing we know with absolute certainly is that online you keep meeting surprises that you are constantly astonished by, you think “Blimey I wasn’t expecting that.” Now our education system is full of the exact opposite. It is full of kids sitting in the exam room thinking, “I hope there’s no surprises” and their teachers thinking “I hope I’ve prepared them for every contingency.” That prepares them for nothing. That prepares them for a world of 1973 but the world coming thick and fast is a world that astonishes us. Partly of course because technology, it’s a bit like Icarus, technology allows us to fly a bit nearer the edge, and damn it goes wrong. I mean, a great example right here in the Bay of Plenty, just the other day an oil tanker goes aground, and it was, what was it, three days before people had filled in the forms and done the paperwork to start getting the oil off. That was because they had all been trained to do that at school. What they should have been trained to do was to cope with the unexpected. And so you know that the schools of the future have to astonish kids. If they don’t astonish children the kids won’t be able to astonish us back. If they don’t astonish us back we are trapped in a world just overwhelmed by the Egypts and the Tsunamis and the catastrophes of the future. 

So you know it is really easy to just look around at where we are online, and say there it is right in front of you on the screen, that’s the school of tomorrow. And I don’t mean of course that the school of tomorrow is going to be on a little screen like that but I mean that the structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement and seduction and delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world. And if we don’t do it the kids won’t wait for us they’ll just go somewhere else, they’ve got choices. And that’s really important for New Zealand because golly gosh, you know, you go back two generations this place was a flipping long way from anywhere. It is a mouse click away now. You know I’m regularly Skyping to people here and in Australia and all around the world. So you have the option to do every online job on the planet from here right now. You only need kids that are in this millennium and a bit of ambition. It’s not much to ask is it?

You know one of the advantages of being old is that you get a chance to look back on what you’ve said and what I’ve realised I think, and I was a bit late to realise this, is that the work we were doing with online learning spaces, at the end of the 90s, the end of the 80s let alone the 90s; the work we were doing prototyped what education was going to look like in the future. It was pretty dam clear that kids liked to work with each other. That peer support and reaffirmation mattered. That exhibition and celebration were crucial really. That they didn’t want to stop once they got their head down and going. That sense of immersion was pretty engaging, actually was seductive. And they didn’t want to stop because it was time to go home, or because it was the holidays or because it was the weekend. They were online - they were pretty immersed. And I then found myself of course, building physical schools. And what I found I was building were things that were 15 years down the track from what we had been doing online. So the schools we were building, and you’ve seen the mantra of you know, third millennium schools, the rule of three, they typically have only got three walls, no fewer than three points of focus, they are capable of having three teachers or more with their communities in them at once. And of course that’s what we were finding online. There wasn’t that fourth wall online - you could go anywhere.

And the buildings we were putting together were as engaging and seductive as the learning communities had been ten years before. So you’ve got this nice little model really that if you really want to know what education looks like ten years out you know that with absolute certainty today, 15 years out you’ve got some pretty good hunches, 25 years out, you wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it but it would be worth a flutter.

So what does it look like? Well of course, it’s global. The thought you might have a national curriculum. I mean I flew here on a, I think it was a QANTAS plane, you know Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service. You know that’s not a national carrier anymore. Belgium doesn’t, I used to fly Sabina, it was a Belgium airline and they would give you beer and chocolates because it was Belgium. They are global carriers now. There won’t be a national curriculum it will be global. I’m sitting here with a Swiss watch, don’t know where my shirt was made, you know, shoes in Italy, I wish, but I am sitting here clothed in global stuff looking at a Sony camera, sitting probably on a stool made in New Zealand in a room probably designed by a Dane. So of course we’re not going to have a national curriculum. Kids want to connect. I mean the classes we are building now the kids are hungry to have a Skype bar in the back because a natural part of their everyday life is to talk to other children. 

Of course one of the things we have learnt from the online world today is there is no flipping business model, you know, it is proper chaos. I had a conversation with Nicholas Bostrom who set up Skype. I said, “What was your business model there mate, you know, it’s gone pretty well”. And he said “Well we didn’t really have one but we kind of thought that when half the phone calls in the world are free if half of them are ours, we wouldn’t really need a business model. We’d be doing all right.” And that’s true of Youtube, Twitter. So our old business models of education you know wouldn’t possibly survive, of national and private provision and state intervention, you just know that’s not going to be where we are. And not so long ago if I had told you, you were going to pay more than five pound a month on your phone bill you would have thought I was a fool because that was, you had a phone screwed to the wall and you phoned someone up on the off chance they were walking past the wall at the right time and that did the job. I don’t know what people watching this pay for their phone bill now but it is significantly different to what they used to pay. The same will be true of education. We will have multiple models of provision. 

As you have seen in South America, the way that those fully functioning farms are now full of kids running an active farm and earning enough money to pay for their own education so they’ve got the best school in the district and the best farm in the district and they’re learning to be the best farmers, and they are graduating. All with no money at all, actually with no money. So I’m building a school in England with no capital at all. A brand new school for 1800 kids, there is no capital there is no money. So all our assumptions about who provides for this and who pays for this will go. And you know, one of the really interesting things, if you look around New Zealand there is not a company in New Zealand that doesn’t aspire to be a learning organisation, and they haven’t got the foggiest idea how to do it. They all know how to do training, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve still got a room full of videodisks because they didn’t want to throw them away. They know how to do training but they don’t have the foggiest idea how to do learning. So suddenly the skills we have in our schools of making learning happen, not education, education hasn’t got a hope, but making learning happen are incredibly precious.

Another thing we know with absolute certainly is that online you keep meeting surprises that you are constantly astonished by, you think “Blimey I wasn’t expecting that.” Now our education system is full of the exact opposite. It is full of kids sitting in the exam room thinking, “I hope there’s no surprises” and their teachers thinking “I hope I’ve prepared them for every contingency.” That prepares them for nothing. That prepares them for a world of 1973 but the world coming thick and fast is a world that astonishes us. Partly of course because technology, it’s a bit like Icarus, technology allows us to fly a bit nearer the edge, and damn it goes wrong. I mean, a great example right here in the Bay of Plenty, just the other day an oil tanker goes aground, and it was, what was it, three days before people had filled in the forms and done the paperwork to start getting the oil off. That was because they had all been trained to do that at school. What they should have been trained to do was to cope with the unexpected. And so you know that the schools of the future have to astonish kids. If they don’t astonish children the kids won’t be able to astonish us back. If they don’t astonish us back we are trapped in a world just overwhelmed by the Egypts and the Tsunamis and the catastrophes of the future. 

So you know it is really easy to just look around at where we are online, and say there it is right in front of you on the screen, that’s the school of tomorrow. And I don’t mean of course that the school of tomorrow is going to be on a little screen like that but I mean that the structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement and seduction and delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world. And if we don’t do it the kids won’t wait for us they’ll just go somewhere else, they’ve got choices. And that’s really important for New Zealand because golly gosh, you know, you go back two generations this place was a flipping long way from anywhere. It is a mouse click away now. You know I’m regularly Skyping to people here and in Australia and all around the world. So you have the option to do every online job on the planet from here right now. You only need kids that are in this millennium and a bit of ambition. It’s not much to ask is it?

Date added: 02/10/2012

Possible futures

Stephen Heppell is at the heart of a global revolution in learning space design. In this ULearn11 EDtalk Stephen explains why he believes that the 'structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement, seduction, delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world'. Stephen shares his conviction that if we want to know what education will look like in the future, we only need to look at what is happening in the online world now. 

Views 26,486 Date added: 02/10/2012

Possible futures

You know one of the advantages of being old is that you get a chance to look back on what you’ve said and what I’ve realised I think, and I was a bit late to realise this, is that the work we were doing with online learning spaces, at the end of the 90s, the end of the 80s let alone the 90s; the work we were doing prototyped what education was going to look like in the future. It was pretty dam clear that kids liked to work with each other. That peer support and reaffirmation mattered. That exhibition and celebration were crucial really. That they didn’t want to stop once they got their head down and going. That sense of immersion was pretty engaging, actually was seductive. And they didn’t want to stop because it was time to go home, or because it was the holidays or because it was the weekend. They were online - they were pretty immersed. And I then found myself of course, building physical schools. And what I found I was building were things that were 15 years down the track from what we had been doing online. So the schools we were building, and you’ve seen the mantra of you know, third millennium schools, the rule of three, they typically have only got three walls, no fewer than three points of focus, they are capable of having three teachers or more with their communities in them at once. And of course that’s what we were finding online. There wasn’t that fourth wall online - you could go anywhere.

And the buildings we were putting together were as engaging and seductive as the learning communities had been ten years before. So you’ve got this nice little model really that if you really want to know what education looks like ten years out you know that with absolute certainty today, 15 years out you’ve got some pretty good hunches, 25 years out, you wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it but it would be worth a flutter.

So what does it look like? Well of course, it’s global. The thought you might have a national curriculum. I mean I flew here on a, I think it was a QANTAS plane, you know Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service. You know that’s not a national carrier anymore. Belgium doesn’t, I used to fly Sabina, it was a Belgium airline and they would give you beer and chocolates because it was Belgium. They are global carriers now. There won’t be a national curriculum it will be global. I’m sitting here with a Swiss watch, don’t know where my shirt was made, you know, shoes in Italy, I wish, but I am sitting here clothed in global stuff looking at a Sony camera, sitting probably on a stool made in New Zealand in a room probably designed by a Dane. So of course we’re not going to have a national curriculum. Kids want to connect. I mean the classes we are building now the kids are hungry to have a Skype bar in the back because a natural part of their everyday life is to talk to other children. 

Of course one of the things we have learnt from the online world today is there is no flipping business model, you know, it is proper chaos. I had a conversation with Nicholas Bostrom who set up Skype. I said, “What was your business model there mate, you know, it’s gone pretty well”. And he said “Well we didn’t really have one but we kind of thought that when half the phone calls in the world are free if half of them are ours, we wouldn’t really need a business model. We’d be doing all right.” And that’s true of Youtube, Twitter. So our old business models of education you know wouldn’t possibly survive, of national and private provision and state intervention, you just know that’s not going to be where we are. And not so long ago if I had told you, you were going to pay more than five pound a month on your phone bill you would have thought I was a fool because that was, you had a phone screwed to the wall and you phoned someone up on the off chance they were walking past the wall at the right time and that did the job. I don’t know what people watching this pay for their phone bill now but it is significantly different to what they used to pay. The same will be true of education. We will have multiple models of provision. 

As you have seen in South America, the way that those fully functioning farms are now full of kids running an active farm and earning enough money to pay for their own education so they’ve got the best school in the district and the best farm in the district and they’re learning to be the best farmers, and they are graduating. All with no money at all, actually with no money. So I’m building a school in England with no capital at all. A brand new school for 1800 kids, there is no capital there is no money. So all our assumptions about who provides for this and who pays for this will go. And you know, one of the really interesting things, if you look around New Zealand there is not a company in New Zealand that doesn’t aspire to be a learning organisation, and they haven’t got the foggiest idea how to do it. They all know how to do training, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve still got a room full of videodisks because they didn’t want to throw them away. They know how to do training but they don’t have the foggiest idea how to do learning. So suddenly the skills we have in our schools of making learning happen, not education, education hasn’t got a hope, but making learning happen are incredibly precious.

Another thing we know with absolute certainly is that online you keep meeting surprises that you are constantly astonished by, you think “Blimey I wasn’t expecting that.” Now our education system is full of the exact opposite. It is full of kids sitting in the exam room thinking, “I hope there’s no surprises” and their teachers thinking “I hope I’ve prepared them for every contingency.” That prepares them for nothing. That prepares them for a world of 1973 but the world coming thick and fast is a world that astonishes us. Partly of course because technology, it’s a bit like Icarus, technology allows us to fly a bit nearer the edge, and damn it goes wrong. I mean, a great example right here in the Bay of Plenty, just the other day an oil tanker goes aground, and it was, what was it, three days before people had filled in the forms and done the paperwork to start getting the oil off. That was because they had all been trained to do that at school. What they should have been trained to do was to cope with the unexpected. And so you know that the schools of the future have to astonish kids. If they don’t astonish children the kids won’t be able to astonish us back. If they don’t astonish us back we are trapped in a world just overwhelmed by the Egypts and the Tsunamis and the catastrophes of the future. 

So you know it is really easy to just look around at where we are online, and say there it is right in front of you on the screen, that’s the school of tomorrow. And I don’t mean of course that the school of tomorrow is going to be on a little screen like that but I mean that the structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement and seduction and delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world. And if we don’t do it the kids won’t wait for us they’ll just go somewhere else, they’ve got choices. And that’s really important for New Zealand because golly gosh, you know, you go back two generations this place was a flipping long way from anywhere. It is a mouse click away now. You know I’m regularly Skyping to people here and in Australia and all around the world. So you have the option to do every online job on the planet from here right now. You only need kids that are in this millennium and a bit of ambition. It’s not much to ask is it?

You know one of the advantages of being old is that you get a chance to look back on what you’ve said and what I’ve realised I think, and I was a bit late to realise this, is that the work we were doing with online learning spaces, at the end of the 90s, the end of the 80s let alone the 90s; the work we were doing prototyped what education was going to look like in the future. It was pretty dam clear that kids liked to work with each other. That peer support and reaffirmation mattered. That exhibition and celebration were crucial really. That they didn’t want to stop once they got their head down and going. That sense of immersion was pretty engaging, actually was seductive. And they didn’t want to stop because it was time to go home, or because it was the holidays or because it was the weekend. They were online - they were pretty immersed. And I then found myself of course, building physical schools. And what I found I was building were things that were 15 years down the track from what we had been doing online. So the schools we were building, and you’ve seen the mantra of you know, third millennium schools, the rule of three, they typically have only got three walls, no fewer than three points of focus, they are capable of having three teachers or more with their communities in them at once. And of course that’s what we were finding online. There wasn’t that fourth wall online - you could go anywhere.

And the buildings we were putting together were as engaging and seductive as the learning communities had been ten years before. So you’ve got this nice little model really that if you really want to know what education looks like ten years out you know that with absolute certainty today, 15 years out you’ve got some pretty good hunches, 25 years out, you wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it but it would be worth a flutter.

So what does it look like? Well of course, it’s global. The thought you might have a national curriculum. I mean I flew here on a, I think it was a QANTAS plane, you know Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service. You know that’s not a national carrier anymore. Belgium doesn’t, I used to fly Sabina, it was a Belgium airline and they would give you beer and chocolates because it was Belgium. They are global carriers now. There won’t be a national curriculum it will be global. I’m sitting here with a Swiss watch, don’t know where my shirt was made, you know, shoes in Italy, I wish, but I am sitting here clothed in global stuff looking at a Sony camera, sitting probably on a stool made in New Zealand in a room probably designed by a Dane. So of course we’re not going to have a national curriculum. Kids want to connect. I mean the classes we are building now the kids are hungry to have a Skype bar in the back because a natural part of their everyday life is to talk to other children. 

Of course one of the things we have learnt from the online world today is there is no flipping business model, you know, it is proper chaos. I had a conversation with Nicholas Bostrom who set up Skype. I said, “What was your business model there mate, you know, it’s gone pretty well”. And he said “Well we didn’t really have one but we kind of thought that when half the phone calls in the world are free if half of them are ours, we wouldn’t really need a business model. We’d be doing all right.” And that’s true of Youtube, Twitter. So our old business models of education you know wouldn’t possibly survive, of national and private provision and state intervention, you just know that’s not going to be where we are. And not so long ago if I had told you, you were going to pay more than five pound a month on your phone bill you would have thought I was a fool because that was, you had a phone screwed to the wall and you phoned someone up on the off chance they were walking past the wall at the right time and that did the job. I don’t know what people watching this pay for their phone bill now but it is significantly different to what they used to pay. The same will be true of education. We will have multiple models of provision. 

As you have seen in South America, the way that those fully functioning farms are now full of kids running an active farm and earning enough money to pay for their own education so they’ve got the best school in the district and the best farm in the district and they’re learning to be the best farmers, and they are graduating. All with no money at all, actually with no money. So I’m building a school in England with no capital at all. A brand new school for 1800 kids, there is no capital there is no money. So all our assumptions about who provides for this and who pays for this will go. And you know, one of the really interesting things, if you look around New Zealand there is not a company in New Zealand that doesn’t aspire to be a learning organisation, and they haven’t got the foggiest idea how to do it. They all know how to do training, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve got a training manager, they’ve still got a room full of videodisks because they didn’t want to throw them away. They know how to do training but they don’t have the foggiest idea how to do learning. So suddenly the skills we have in our schools of making learning happen, not education, education hasn’t got a hope, but making learning happen are incredibly precious.

Another thing we know with absolute certainly is that online you keep meeting surprises that you are constantly astonished by, you think “Blimey I wasn’t expecting that.” Now our education system is full of the exact opposite. It is full of kids sitting in the exam room thinking, “I hope there’s no surprises” and their teachers thinking “I hope I’ve prepared them for every contingency.” That prepares them for nothing. That prepares them for a world of 1973 but the world coming thick and fast is a world that astonishes us. Partly of course because technology, it’s a bit like Icarus, technology allows us to fly a bit nearer the edge, and damn it goes wrong. I mean, a great example right here in the Bay of Plenty, just the other day an oil tanker goes aground, and it was, what was it, three days before people had filled in the forms and done the paperwork to start getting the oil off. That was because they had all been trained to do that at school. What they should have been trained to do was to cope with the unexpected. And so you know that the schools of the future have to astonish kids. If they don’t astonish children the kids won’t be able to astonish us back. If they don’t astonish us back we are trapped in a world just overwhelmed by the Egypts and the Tsunamis and the catastrophes of the future. 

So you know it is really easy to just look around at where we are online, and say there it is right in front of you on the screen, that’s the school of tomorrow. And I don’t mean of course that the school of tomorrow is going to be on a little screen like that but I mean that the structures and strictures of education will be swept aside by the engagement and seduction and delight, passion and astonishment of a new learning world. And if we don’t do it the kids won’t wait for us they’ll just go somewhere else, they’ve got choices. And that’s really important for New Zealand because golly gosh, you know, you go back two generations this place was a flipping long way from anywhere. It is a mouse click away now. You know I’m regularly Skyping to people here and in Australia and all around the world. So you have the option to do every online job on the planet from here right now. You only need kids that are in this millennium and a bit of ambition. It’s not much to ask is it?

Date added: 02/10/2012
Optimism
Posted by: Gina on the 04/10/2012
Probably the thing I love the most about what Stephen talks about - in all his work - is this unflagging optimism in young people and what they will achieve and what WE can achieve.
Reply
Stephen Heppell
Posted by: Denis Pyatt on the 04/10/2012
Thanks for this Stephen. I loved your emphasis on the importance of "astonishment" in education.
Reply
Posted by: Anonymous on the 04/10/2012
Enjoyed _Stephen manages to say what many of us can only just imagine. thank you
Reply
Excellent video
Posted by: Hannah Jones on the 04/10/2012
As ever an excellent video and one that all educators should watch. Looking forward to sharing this with colleagues and leaders-thanks Stephen.
Reply
Thanks!
Posted by: Stephen Heppell on the 04/10/2012
wow - I wibble on for a while, then the product of Jane's wonderful filming, with Michael's gifted editing creates something really compelling - thanks guys!
Reply

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