John Seely Brown – educator as orchestrator

Today I had the opportunity to listen to John Seely Brown discuss his thoughts on the future of education. This was all thanks to the great work being done by Steve Hardagon. Steve runs Classroom 2.0, The Future of Education and He organises prominant thinkers to share their ideas in Elluminate sessions that run on a regular basis. I find it difficult to get to the sessions because most of them occur in our school day and I’m often way too busy to tune in. Today, being school holidays, the opportunity presented itself.

JSB talked about the changing role of the educator. He referred to the role as being that of orchestrator or Reference Librarian. Teachers having an understanding of networked learning and being able to transfer this understanding in project based learning opportunities to the students we teach. One of the messages he imparted was ‘Teach less – learn more’. According to John, right now we have a perfect storm of opportunity to make change. He said that if we taking new approaches to learning we should continue to do this on the edge and get the core to take notice. The students will make sure they do. For some of the core, they are going to have to unlearn in order to learn. JSB said that tunnel vision prevents many teachers from seeing what is happening that can have an impact on student learning.

Why he feels this way is because he has seen what social media has been able to do; he discussed how he has seen serious change occur from the actions of very small groups of people. This is why he finds it interesting and why he feels it is important to impart knowledge of how to leverage learning opportunities like this. JSB referred to the first wave of disruption; how innovation is changing the way we do things. He made reference to how start up businesses are making use of the cloud to get going. They don’t have to own the infrastructure; it exists in the cloud and if they have something good the potential is there for something to go viral.

Probably one of the most interesting things he said was at the very end of the interview. Steve asked him how did he see schools operating in 20 years from now. JSB said he didn’t see schools as being the dominant form of learning 20 years from now. He followed this up saying that he doesn’t see schools as the dominant form of learning now.    

I hope I’ve reported JSB’s message correctly. You can make your own mind up by visiting The Future of Education or where all of the elluminate sessions Steve records are archived.

Thanks Steve for providing free professional development for the global teaching community.