The Learning Without Frontiers Summit London has been canned. Graham Brown-Martin has been canned from LWF. The reasons for these unfortunate changes are still yet to emerge, and I do not want to spend time eulogising Graham (others will do this better) or speculating why this happened.
I want to propose something positive – to continue the vision in a new event.
The reality is there is now a huge gap in the calendar for those of us involved in evolving, informing, and disrupting educational norms for the benefit of our young people. Not only has an essential event in the calendar been taken from us: with the opportunities to hear from leading voices, see best practice, play with new devices and tools, and (most of all) network; but the distinct vision of the event is in danger of being lost.
My view is that the success of LWF, and it’s forebears, Handheld Learning and Games Based Learning, all of which I have been lucky to attend, had very little do with the venue, speakers and formal agenda.
It had everything to do with the challenge and disruption implicit in the way the event was established by the founder, Graham Brown-Martin.
The irrepressible Graham Brown-Martin has always been determined to push the boundaries of what a formal education conference can be – and to drive as much energy for transformation into the education system as possible. Graham made mistakes and upset a few people on the way. Like all innovators,…right?
BUT, he always shared the warmth to support great educators who are helping demonstrate the value of a progressive education for the future our children will be co-creating. Highlights include seeing Derek Robertson and the Consolarium gang storm South and make us all #jealousofScotland, and Dawn Hallybone inspire teachers everywhere to get gaming!
I was inspired to by LWF to bring disruption and offer new positive educational futures to the families of Oxford, and have led a proposal for a progressive new school for Oxford City – ONSchool. I know many other people, in schools, communities, business and policy, inspired to do something amazing by the power of the vision of Graham’s events.
So, where next? I think we need to hold onto the vision Graham established, and hold a new event, on an unconference / barcamp / teachmeet model – where the same sharing, networking, playing can happen.
We don’t need elaborate spaces in expensive venues, big name speakers, bijou lunch plates, and huge corporate partners – with the associated high ticket prices! Let’s have less sitting and listening – and more making and doing.
All we need is the vision, and a space to explore what it means in the work that we do. So – I propose we continue this. I would love to work with others to make it happen.