A former public school educator of 22 years, Will has spent the last 15 years developing an international reputation as a leading thinker and writer about the intersection of social online learning networks, education, and systemic change. Most recently, Will is a co-founder of The Big Questions Institute which was created to help educators use "fearless inquiry" to make sense of this complex moment and an uncertain future. In 2017, Will was named one of 100 global "Changemakers in Education" by the Finnish site HundrED, and was named one of the Top 5 "Edupreneurs to Follow" by Forbes. He has given keynote speeches, lead breakout sessions, and provided coaching services in over 30 countries on 6 continents. (Come on Antarctica!) He has also authored six books that have sold over 200,000 copies worldwide, and given TEDx Talks in New York, Melbourne, and most recently Vancouver. Will has two adult children, Tess and Tucker, and lives in rural New Jersey with his wife Wendy.
Whether it’s online safety or information literacy, all too often we treat the new challenges that online learning networks are creating as discrete parts rather than larger, more general changes in how we do our learning business. For instance, online safety is not something we teach in the second half of seventh grade; it’s a part of every interaction online, and certainly it should be a part of every curriculum in the school. Even with our youngest students, we have to be able to model our interactions in our own learning networks and teach them safe, effective and ethical use. We’ll look at eight of these important global shifts and see how teachers and schools are already starting to integrate them into the classroom in seamless, ongoing ways.
Having the world of information at our fingertips on the Web was in itself a powerful transformation, but being able to contribute our own knowledge and ideas and collaborate in the construction of content is even more powerful. What needs to change about our curriculum when our students have the ability to reach audiences far beyond our classroom walls? What changes must we make in our teaching as it becomes easier to bring primary sources to our students? How do we need to rethink our ideas of literacy when we must prepare our students to become not only readers and writers but editors and collaborators as well? How do we best put to use the reams and reams of “digital paper” that this new “writeable” Web provides?
The incredible resource that is the Web is changing much about what we can do with our curricula and our students. The classroom is no longer restricted to four physical walls, and it is becoming a truly collaborative space in which to learn. Every student can be a contributor of knowledge to the world. This networked classroom is a more complicated place for teachers, but it’s also one filled with incredible potential for learning. This keynote challenges educators to rethink their roles to make maximum use of the tools and information now available to them.
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, school leaders need to employ successful strategies for finding, managing and communicating what’s significant for their own practice and for that of their constituents. This workshop will cover the tools that information leaders are using and the strategies to use them well.