Will Richardson - AEI Speakers Bureau

Will Richardson Biography

Will Richardson

A parent of two teen-agers, Will Richardson has spent the last dozen years developing an international reputation as a leading thinker and writer about the intersection of social online learning networks and education. He was one of a handful of original education bloggers and his work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers, and magazines such as Ed Leadership, District Administration, Education Week, The New York Times and English Journal. He is an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms in the context of the diverse new learning opportunities that the Web and other technologies now offer.

Will has authored four books, most recently Why School? How Education Must Change When Learning and Information are Everywhere (September, 2012) published by TED books and based on his most recent TEDx talk in Melbourne, Australia. Why School? is now the #1 best-selling TED book ever. In total, his books have sold over 150,000 copies worldwide.

A former public school educator of 22 years, Will is a co-founder of Modern Learner Media which is dedicated to helping parents and policy makers develop new contexts for new conversations around education. He also co-founded Powerful Learning Practice, a unique professional development program that has mentored over 10,000 teachers around the world in the last six years. Over the past eight years, he has spoken to tens of thousands of educators in over a dozen countries about the merits of online learning networks for personal and professional growth.

Will lives in rural New Jersey with his wife Wendy and his children Tess and Tucker.

Will Richardson Topics

  • Connective Writing
    Workshop: The ability to easily publish to the Internet has opened up all sorts of new possibilities for teachers to help students enhance their writing skills and become more effective communicators. In the age of the Read/Write Web, every reader can truly be a writer as well. Weblogs and wikis provide wide and diverse audiences from around the world for feedback and response. But they also require a more "connective writing" approach, one that can synthesize many disparate ideas from different sources, all connected together through hypertext. This is a think out of the box workshop intended to help you start exploring new ways to make your own writing and your classroom writing more meaningful and more effective.
  • From Information Literacy to Information Leadership
    Workshop: Assessing the relevance and reliability of information is a crucial skill for all educators to master and model. But that type of information literacy is only the beginning. With the explosion of information coming online, each of us needs to use social Web technologies to employ successful strategies for finding, managing and communicating information relevant to our own practice and to our constituents. This workshop will cover the tools that information literate learners are using and the strategies to use them well.
  • Personal Learning Networks: The Future of Learning
    Keynote: Learning is social, we've all known that. Now, with the Web, it's globally social. To flourish as learners in a connected world, we need a network, one that we can trust, one that we can turn to when we need answers or inspiration or direction. While we've always crafted these "Personal Learning Networks" in our face to face spaces, the literacies of doing so online are a bit more nuanced and complex. This session looks at what PLNs are, how they can influence our learning lives and future success, how to begin to construct them using various Web tools, and what the implications are for our students, our schools and our professional practice. We'll also look at how diversity, balance and safety enter into the learning equation online.
  • Educating Modern Learners
    Workshop: We are in transition from traditional thinking about classrooms, teaching, schools and education to a more modern reality for all of that and more. This intensive one-day workshop for teachers, administrators, parents, and community members will focus on how we manage that transition in our systems and personal practice. Goals: Participants will *Understand the changing contexts for learning in a technology rich, networked world. *Have a clear understanding of modern learning literacies. *Learn a framework for beginning conversations and actions around system change from traditional to modern learning. *Envision and design new classrooms, schools and practices to fully serve modern learning and learners. *Develop a 5 days-5 months-5 years plan for changing personal learning practice.
  • Exploring New Literacies for a World of Networked, Self-Directed Learners and Makers
    While it may seem like it, the biggest advance of the last 15 years has not been the Web and hundreds of technologies that connect us to it. No, the biggest shift is what that connectedness brings us, the new reality that each one of us can now stand as the central organizing force in our own learning, education, and work. With our growing access to the sum of human knowledge and billions of people around the world, we decide what we need to learn, when we need to learn it. Wedevelop our own pathways to an "education." And we as individuals have the power to create and share and bring beautiful, meaningful, important work into the world. The institutions that used to mediate those interactions, schools, publishing houses and corporations among them, are all now struggling to maintain relevance. In this moment, those who understand the powerful affordances of the Internet to learn and create will flourish, and those who understand how to leverage those affordances for the greater good will lead. That requires a whole set of new literacies, ones that deal with not just reading and writing but collecting, creating, connecting, sharing, and sense making. In this institute, we'll explore these shifts, and we’ll begin to develop a context and a practical framework for helping our students become literate, self-directed masters of learning and making in this new, interconnected world.
  • Raising Modern Learners
    In some pretty rapid and radical ways, the Web is changing the way we learn, the way we define an education, and the way we think about work, all of which has huge implications for our children. While this moment requires that schools become decidedly "different" in they ways they serve their students, they are being held back by policy makers and parents who want only that the traditional forms of education we've had for over 125 years be done "better." In short, schools are unable to provide the skills, literacies and mindsets that modern learners require to be successful as they grow into adulthood. This presentation will look at the scope and scale of these shifts, clarify the roadblocks schools face, and offer specific starting points for parents to engage in a truly "different" conversation of how best to prepare their children for a change-filled, more uncertain world in the future.
  • From "Old School" to "Bold School": Making the Jump from Traditional to Modern Learning
    The main premise upon which schools were founded, that content and knowledge and teachers are scarce, has literally been turned on its head by the Web. Today, we carry the sum of human knowledge and access to millions of potential teachers in the phones in our pockets. And in a host of other ways, the idea of a "traditional" school is fading in it's relevance to the new ways we and our students can learn. Given that reality, what changes? How do we rethink our roles as schools, classrooms and educators at a moment when our students have a growing number of options to cobble together an "education?" This session will discuss the paths that a number of "bold schools" are taking to fundamentally redefine their value as places of learning, not of content and teachers. We'll discuss the challenges of remaining an "old" school, define the main characteristics of "bold" schools, look at schools that are already bridging the gap, and suggest ways to begin relevant, "bold" conversations around real change in our own schools and communities.
  • Teaching and Learning in an Age of Abundance
    Two trillion webpages. Two billion people connected online. Over 600,000 apps. 1.2 billion smartphones. In just over a decade, we've gone from a world where access to information, knowledge, and teachers was relatively scarce to a world where all of those are absolutely abundant. That fact dramatically changes they way we think about education and what the kids in our schools will need to survive and flourish in a fast changing, networked and connected world. In this workshop, we'll explore the shifts from scarcity to abundance as they apply to learning, thinking deeply about ourselves as learners along the way. How do our expectations of literacy change when the unedited sum of human knowledge is at our fingertips? How do we connect with others to create real work that adds to that knowledge base and changes the world for the better? How do we deal with the transparency required to make the best of public learning spaces online? And more. Educating for abundance means that instead of becoming college or career ready, our students need to be learning ready, able to fully take advantage of all they now have access to and develop their own paths to an education and work. This intensive one or two day experience will fundamentally change the way you think about education and schooling, and will start you down a new path of deep, connected, modern learning for yourself and your students.
  • Learning in a Networked World: For Ourselves and for Our Students
    Keynote: If we have access and the skills to take advantage of it, the Web gives us an easy connection to the people and the resources that we need to learn whatever we want to learn, when we want to learn it. That fact challenges the fundamental beliefs that we've held about schools and teaching and learning for over 100 years. As our students graduate into a fast-changing, globally networked world, what assumptions do we need to reconsider about how to best prepare them for their futures? How can each one of us begin to change our own learning practice to better model these new opportunities for our students? And what new challenges do we have to overcome to make sure the idea of school remains relevant in the networked world in which our students will live?


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