Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to hear Sir Ken Robinson speak at numerous conferences. Since his 2007 TED Talk, which has been viewed 29 million times, he has become in great demand on the speaking circuit. Sir Ken kicked off the Learning 2014 conference with a great keynote. This conference however was different for me personally, but more about that in a moment. First, let’s look a moment at the content of his keynote.
In line with the other keynotes I have heard him deliver, Sir Ken expounded upon important keys regarding the ways people learn. “I would bet,” Sir Ken stated, “that if you have more than one child or grandchild you would agree that no two kids are alike even if raised in the same environment by the same parents.” There are different points of entry into each of our consciousness.
I thought of my two children as he pointed out differences. My daughter is an outgoing, what you see is what you get kind of person who meets life with a lot of passion and flare. She learns most through being creative. My son is equally brilliant but more introspective with a small circle of friends and would probably love living out on a mountain away from everyone. He learns best from hands-on experience. Each have their own amazing talents, preferred ways of learning, and curiosities that drive their learning.
Sir Ken suggested that if we custom design training and teaching, content, pedagogy, assessment and support by mapping to curiosity we can drive the appetite for learning. We all talk about different learning styles, he said, and personalized learning has been around a long time though now it seems to be a hot topic particularly with the latest technologies which afford greater personalization and self-directed learning.
Imagination is the seed to empathy, he added, and creativity is what makes us human beings. It goes hand in hand with critical evaluation. When helping people discover their giftedness, creating the next generation of skilled employees, reskilling or developing talent we must consider the multiple ways of learning and should work to ignite curiosity and creativity.
As Sir Ken discussed the significant value intergenerational learning and the exposure to multiple cultures has on learning, I realized how blessed I have been in my career to have tools like video collaboration that enables all of the important keys to learning he discussed. Fortunately, for my own children and my students, throughout my career in education, I have used video collaboration coupled with on demand videos to inspire learning. What better way to ignite curiosity than to bring in subject matter experts from around the world or connect with different cultures? By removing the walls of a traditional classroom, teachers can map learning to students’ curiosities, learning styles, and develop their creativity.
His talk, as expected was quite inspirational. I was excited to pick up a copy of Sir Ken’s latest book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life.
But, as I mentioned earlier, this conference was different for me personally. I had my own personalized learning experience and the opportunity to get to know Sir Ken a bit better. I helped manage his time and get him from meetings to the limo waiting to whisk him away. What a humorous and down-to-earth person, he is. He graciously allowed me to grab my iPhone and do a quick interview for my blog. Take a look: http://video.polycomdemos.com?nodeid=2586.