WILL RICHARDSON IS AN EDUCATION THOUGHT-LEADER, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER, AND PASSIONATE SCHOOL CHANGE ADVOCATE
We live in the most amazing time ever to be a learner, but we are educating in what may be the most uncertain moment ever when it comes to knowing how to prepare our students for the fast-changing future that awaits them. Simply put, traditional ways of thinking about school no longer suffice. The changes we need in schools are profound.
My life’s work is to drive the conversation around change in schools to a higher, more complex level. In my keynotes, presentations, and online networks, I’m constantly trying to provoke, to push us out of our comfort zones, and to help us see both the serious limitations of the current system as well as the powerful potential of what we could become.
If you’re looking for someone to talk change at the edges, you might look elsewhere. But if you’re looking to generate some new thinking, some different discussions, and some healthy discomfort, let me know. The time to raise the existential questions about our work in schools is now. The world, and our kids, demand it.
Freedom to Learn: The Importance of Student Agency in the Modern Classroom
The modern, networked world increasingly values and rewards those who are self-determined, voracious learners, those who are literally able to learn their way through problems and projects on a daily basis. Developing the skills, literacies, and dispositions to become that type of a learner must now become the focus of every school experience and environment. That all starts with honoring and expanding the freedom and agency of our students to learn what they want, when they want, with whomever they want, in whatever ways make most sense to them. Today more than ever, learners will inherit the earth. That starts with us.
Why School? Understanding our New Value in the Modern Connected World
At a moment when we are connected to knowledge, information, teachers and technologies like never before, the fundamental ways we think about the experiences and the environments of school are coming under serious challenge. Increasingly, as we as individuals define our own education, create our own classrooms, find our own teachers, and create and share our learning with the world, school is becoming a place that supports that work, not delivers it. But this complex shift requires a deep understanding of what learning really is, of the new contexts for living and learning in the modern world, and of the amazing places that classrooms are already becoming. We'll explore how educators must begin to lead the difficult, important work of reimagining our value in the world.
10 Principles for Schools of Modern Learning: What Reimagination Looks Like
Based on a combined 50+ years of working with schools around the world, this session builds on the collaborative effort of Will and his colleague Bruce Dixon to identify the characteristics of schools that are successfully navigating a relevant, sustainable change process. We’ll not only look at the qualities of these schools, but we’ll also discuss jumping off points, places for further inquiry, and ways to enlist others in the school community to engage in the work.
As the World Learns: Preparing Kids for Constant Change
We live at a moment of enormous ambiguity marked by a sense of "perpetual beta" where little remains stable and change is constant. Instead of preparing our students for "something" like career or college, we now have to prepare them for "anything," for emerging new paths and stories for their lives that are both unclear and uncertain. Thriving in this unpredictable future requires a select new set of skills, dispositions, and literacies, most of which aren't currently on the test. It requires a healthy sense of self, of emotional and physical well-being, and a constant urge to grow, evolve, and learn all the while embracing a sense of "not knowing." We'll delve into the cultures of continuous inquiry and reflection that schools must now operate within to best prepare their students to flourish.
Schools on the Brink: How Classrooms are Being Reimagined for a World of Networked Learning
There has never been a more powerful time to be a learner. Nor has there been a more powerful challenge to traditional schooling. The skills, literacies, and dispositions that children now need to flourish in the world are not captured in current curriculums, teaching methods, or systems and structures that have defined schools for centuries. In response, many educators, are beginning to fundamentally reimagine their purposes and missions. Learn about the schools, districts, provinces, and countries that are leading this profound redefinition of what it means to be fully educated today.