Jason BradburyJson Bradbury: book signingUbergeek and children’s techno-author Jason Bradbury, who is also one of the engagingly hyperactive presenters of Channel Five's The Gadget Show, will be giving it up for the The Sunday Service, a new, free and innovative strand of the Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) conference – and it's being filmed.

His 90-minute “robotic extravaganza”, the Dot.Robot Show, will allow children to control real robots that walk around and do handstands. And it’s just one of the many activities showing how technology is improving the way youngsters learn and play at this two-day gathering of educators and new media gurus. There will also be a book signing for his Dot.Robot Penguin series.

The organiser of LWF, a three-day pre-BETT 2011 event at The Brewery, London, from January 9 to 11, is Graham Brown-Martin who is keen to attract as many school parties as possible to the Sunday Service. He wants learners to come dressed as their favourite kids TV or game characters. “There will be everything from robotics to immersive theatre, a new kind of theatre production where you become part of the story – seriously entertaining,” he says. “And digital story-telling, show-and-tell sessions, young disruptive innovators, stuff from the future, new video games and much more. School parties welcomed!” (Children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult.)

There will be plenty for the grown-ups too. Some of the activities on the first day – “International Best Practice in Action”, “Learners Y Factor” and “TeachMeet” – build on popular previous events. But new for this year are a number of features and breakout sessions.

How to use affordable technologies to improve learning

In “There’s an App for That”, teachers, learners and developers will have just over six minutes to present their favourite app, while at the heart of “Teachers with Tech: best practice in action” is sustainability and how to use affordable technologies to improve learning. And of course there is the Learning Without Frontiers Awards for Hero Innovators party at the Breakfast Club, Hoxton on the second day (Monday January 10).

Other inspiration will come on days two and three from an impressive line up of international speakers from government education departments (Karen Cator, US director of educational technology and Ed Vaizey MP, minister for communications, culture and creative industries) and successful industry figures like Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

Since its inception nine years ago the internet-based collaborative encyclopedia, that aims to “become a complete record of human knowledge”, has grown to be among one of the top five most visited sites on the web. But it’s popularity has also divided educators - with some schools and universities banning students from using it.

Their reasons were echoed by Ofqual’s guidance to English schoolchildren earlier this year warning them to be wary of the site as it is not “authoritative or accurate”, and in some cases “may be completely untrue”. Meanwhile innovative teachers suggest using Wikipedia to help students develop their critical thinking, research and writing skills, even encouraging them to submit their own pieces to the website. (It's worth checking out Open Source Schools' Miles Berry's contribution to this debate.)

Other home grown speakers include: social and educational technologist Josie Fraser, Lord David Puttnam; BBC Learning’s Saul Nasse; Derek Robertston, Learning and Teaching Scotland’s Consolarium project leader; award-winning teacher Tim Rylands; Professor Stephen Heppell whose work with learners and learning environments was a popular centrepiece at the recent BETT Middle East show in Abu Dhabi.


The Sunday Service
Dot Robot Show
Immersive Theatre and Storytelling
Teachers with Tech: International Examples of Best Practice
Learners Y Factor
Flyers for noticeboards for staff, kids and carers
Awards party with Maggie Philbin
Full LWF programme
Main LWF Festival page


An Evening with Sir Ken Robinson

March 16 2011, 7.30-10.30pm, The Congress Centre, Gt Russell St, London, WC1B 3LS

'Changing Paradims': Sir Ken Robinson (RSA version with animation)

Sir Ken Robinson is one of the most popular speakers on the education circuit, and his TED Talks have an equal measure of humour and profundity, which helps spread the message further. That's why the online videos have attracted milllions of hits. Learning Without Frontiers is staging an event that will test his pulling power at the box office. If people love his talks – and they do – will they stump up £50 for an early-bird ticket (students £25) to see the live version just as they would for, say, Eddie Izzard?

Twitter hashtag  #lwfken

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