“Webinar” with Sir Ken Robinson

On Wednesday night, well it was actually very early Thursday morning at 1am, I joined the FutureofEducation.com for a live and interactive “webinar” with one of my academic idols Sir Ken Robinson in conversation with Educational Technologist Steve Hargadon. I came across the event by chance on Twitter just before I was heading to sleep. Sir Ken talked extensively about the recently revised and updated version of his best-selling book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.

“We’ll talk about why it is essential to promote creativity, what happens in schools to make us think we are not creative, and what schools and organizations can do to develop creativity and innovation in a deliberate and systematic way.”

Here are some of the things I noted down during the discussion…my fingers often couldn’t type fast enough:

  • We couldn’t have had this conversation 10 years ago…Google was a novelty, there were no social media types of any sort.
  • When you think about what has happened culturally and socially in the last ten years,  you realise how the themes of the book have become more relevant and more urgent.
  • You are the icon of rethinking this narrative of education…a small community of people who are rethinking this narrative, where standardised tests are still narrating the day.
  • The first TED talk has been seen by over 200 million people across the world.
  • We need a more holistic approach to education, human capacity, reality of economic circumstance, community and spiritual development and well-being – education in the round collectively.
  • To reassure people their instincts are right we need a radical reform of education, based on more humanistic principles…I do see this shift…trying to articulate the alternative paradigm shifts are always difficult. A real revolution always start from the bottom up.
  • There are those who are immovable, those who are movable, and those who move. (One of my favourite quotes from the webinar).
  • There are people that won’t change so let’s work round them.
  • We need a shift in consciousness, a different way of thinking and seeing, aiming to liberate the spirit and hearts and minds of the students and ourselves.
  • Technology in the end is a set of tools…technology is the design and use of tools…lots of potential but we’re not quite discovering it yet…technology gets us into different relationships…the role of technology will not eliminate teaching but change the way we teach.
  • Out of Our Minds:
  1. The core argument of the book is being human is inherently a creative process…the one thing that distinguishes us from everything else in the world is the power of the imagination. We have acquired these extraordinary powers of imagination and from this flows the power of creativity. What evolves radically is our ways of thinking…the human world is created out of our minds.
  2. Many people don’t even discover their true talents or abilities…they are often displaced from their true sense of who they can be, displaced from consciousness, due to their education.
  3. The structure of our education system. We need to be using the talents of all of our students, engaging all of them equally, there is a great prize to be had in recognising the diversity of talent…we need to get back to basics, the fundamental purposes of education – what are we doing this for? The economic circumstances are different from when the education system was first established…there is a call for reform.
  • For cultural understanding, we need to enable our students to understand the world that we live – sense of their own identity, and cultural tolerance, our inability to understand in each others cultures.
  • Education is personal – can we afford for it to be personalised? We have to be…when you engage the learners individually then standards increase…it’s understanding what the heart of education is…it is the students themselves, the rest is peripheral.
  • A university degree is no longer a guarantee of anything where the  value of a degree is subject to market conditions…the want to get students to college overrides the ambition…there is an apartheid in our courses – academic and vocational courses.
  • Human cultures depend on an ecosystem of talents. We are losing this ecosystem…we focus on the singular rather than diversity. There is not a single solution that will fix this…the climate changes, the people are different.

After the discussion, Sir Ken engaged in a brief Q&A session…the only question I had was, how do you encourage creativity in a creative atmosphere?…I never got to ask…maybe I’ll email him. If you want to hear the webinar you can download it here…or find out more information about the event on Steve Hargadon’s blog here.


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