Sir Ken Robinson, who delivers his distinctive blend of insight, profundity and passion with the humour of a stand-up comedian, is now one of the top speakers in education. And learning services company RM has commissioned a specially focused film of him to provide some of the inspiration (along with keynote speaker Richard Gerver) at the four roadshows it is running in April and May for school leaders developing learning spaces for capital projects like Building Schools for the Future.
It's part of a growing change in leadership events that are replacing passive presentations with active learning. School leaders attending RM's Strategic Forums 2010 will each be given an Apple iPod Touch loaded with specific applications for teaching and learning. They use them for teamwork exercises to develop learning spaces – and the good news is that they get to keep the iPods to use back at school.
Music experts Carrie and David Grant will be on hand to keep the introduction to iPods sweet as they make staying in tune a key feature of teamwork to warm up delegates before they get to grips with challenges for modelling ICT, equipment, furniture and furnishing to create learning spaces that are comfortable, stimulating and value for money. This is now a key part of the BSF process as the realisation sets in that no matter how well designed the shell of a school building can be, it's the actual settings the learners work and play in that will have most impact on their achievements (see video of RM's Learning Spaces feature at BETT 2010 below).
The Strategic Forums will not be all about creativy and fun learning with iPods however. They have been created in partnership with the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the roll call of personalities lined up for the forum experts panels shows some of the best thinkers in the field: curriculum experts Professor Tim Brighouse and Sir Mike Tomlinson; David Cameron (president of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland – ADES); John Dunford (ASCL); Carol Allen (special needs and inclusion expert); Ken Cornforth (headteacher of the new Pudsey Grangefield School, Leeds; John Davitt ('digital toolmaker', educator and keynote speaker); Jayne Bird (part of the NHA team that designed the acclaimed Golden Lane Campus in Islington, London); Ollie Bray (adviser on emerging technologies with Learning and Teaching Scotland); James Stevenson (Citrix Systems UK); Andrew Foyle (Bli Education).
At £75, delegate attendance is actually less than the price of an iPod Touch (£35 for extra delegate from same establishment) and outgoing ACSL general secretary John Dunford promises that delegates will be challenged: "These forums, focused on curriculum enhancement, will challenge views on how learning is organised. They will help school leaders to develop strategies for aspirational learning using alternative learning environments. This represents excellent CPD for senior school leaders"
The ultimate goal of the roadshows is highlighted by Sir Ken Robinson: "A dynamic and creative team is best achieved when you have people with diverse talents who look at things differently, working together towards a shared goal."
RM Strategic Forums 2010
April 22, Bristol (The Grand)
April 29, Midlands (Heritage Motor Centre)
April 27, London (Olympia)
May 4, Leeds (Royal Armouries Museum)