Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Notes from Gary Stager’s Keynote: 2012 Interactive Learning Institute #k20ili

These are my notes from Gary Stager‘s luncheon keynote at the 2012 Interactive Learning Institute sponsored by the K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.


Computers have been in many of our classrooms for over 20 years, yet there is very little “computing” going in in most of our schools

People ask me are you saying each student should have 1 computer
– my answer: no, each student should have MORE than one computer
– this is how we solve problems in the real world now

Video about solving your own problems: Alan Alda at MIT talking to students about manufacturing at home

School has always been governed by the technology of the day
– it is NOT arrogant to say “We need to teach differently now because we have computers.” It is arrogant not to say this

old technologies have affordances and constraints
– how can we best maximize F2F time

prediction for the future: schools won’t possess the monopoly on children’s time

politicians say we need to be doing more of the same thing LOUDER and expecting different things

school itself is a technology
– a desk
– it governs our tasks

I’m surprised when ADULTS are surprised when kids do remarkable things

What drives my work is

modern knowledge construction is inseparable from

computing is bending the computer to your will
– having agency over the device
– solving problems that no one has solved before

Article: Computer science programme to replace school ICT

We’ve spent billions of dollars equipping 5th graders with great secretarial skills

much of what we are doing in schools with computers could best be described as “computer appreciation”

The DIY revolution is underway and it’s VERY existing
– school has been about ‘hire a pro’ approach to learning instead of DIY

reality TV: a real attempt to provide mentoring experiences for students who don’t have the opportunity to have those mentors in real life

Contrast this with the DIY movement, represented by publications like:

Make Magazine
Made By Hand
50 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Child Do and Why
Geek Dad

learning with adults and one another that was unimaginable even a few years ago

Recent Maker Faire had 100,00

Neil Gershenfeld is prof at MIT, runs Center for Bits and Atoms
– course: how to make almost anything
– his book FAB: predicts next major revolution is desktop manufacturing
– if you want something, you’ll be able to make it yourself

Others have started: How to learn almost anything

At best, school should prepare students

There is a generation of people who don’t know how to fix anything

Maker Culture obliterates non-sensical separators/dividers between “vocational education and “academic preparation”
– also can obliterate artificial separators between disciplines / content areas in school / life

A lot of what we see students do

“to understand is to invent” – Piaget

Papert: If you make things with computers you can make more interesting things

Ask: What are kids DOING With computers
– educational computing is not about hardware, it’s about software

Knowledge is a consequence of experience
– computers can provide a range of experiences that wouldn’t be possible otherwise

I like to work with multi-age, multi-generational groups of students
– at least 3 hours of time together each day

Schools are rare places where we group kids by their incompetence
– or as Ken Robinson recently observed, by their ‘manufacturing date’

Wolfram Alpha can solve every problem in the K-12 math curriculum, don’t tell the math teachers
– for those of you that say

If you make simple things easy to do, you make complexity possible!

Kids can build their own simulations of life in the Middle Ages
– build your own “SketchPad”

Do everything in schools for learning in the context of things kids care about

Asking students to write a song in Garageband to end global famine is not a reasonable prompt

Questions worth asking
– is the problem solvable?
– more…

A good prompt is worth 1000 words
– a good prompt, challenge, problem or motivation
– more…

Best prompts come from the inquiry of the kid

brevity (fit on a post-it note), ambiguity, freedom from harmful assessment
– so students can bring their own voice, way of knowing
– no grading for poetry or composing music
– A or incomplete are the only grades

We need to stop succumbing to net numbing drug of incrementalism

less us, more them
– that should be our mantra
– shift more agency to the learner

Make memories
– write a novel
– share your knowledge
– answer tough questions
– make sense of data
– design a video game
– print a killer robot
– lose weight
– direct a blockbuster
– compose a symphony
– change the world
– be a mathematician, or scientist, or engineer, or…

Highest calling for teachers: Be in the business of making memories with young people

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes’ free newsletter. Check out Wes’ video tutorial library, “Playing with Media.” Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on

On this day..