Season 2: Episode 32 – Freedom to Learn – Interview with Will Richardson [Podcast]

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freedomtolearnIn this episode, we talked with Will Richardson. A parent of two teenagers, Will has spent the last dozen years developing an international reputation as a leading thinker and writer about the intersection of social online learning networks and education. He was one of a handful of original education bloggers and his work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and magazines. Will has authored 5 books, including his most recent Freedom to Learn and From Master Teacher to Master Learner.

A former public school educator of twenty-two years, Will is co-founder of Modern Learner Media and co-publisher of Educating Modern Learners, a site dedicated to helping educational leaders and policymakers develop new contexts for conversations around education.

Here is what we talked about:

  1. In Freedom to Learn you share a vision of how more “freedom to learn” in the classroom will engage our learners and better prepare them for success in life. What is the ambitious and actionable question – what author Warren Berger calls a beautiful question – behind Freedom to Learn?
  2. In the book you reference Frank Smith’s idea of “the classic theory.” What is this and why do you believe we need to embrace the idea in our classrooms?  
  3. What happens when learner agency – the freedom to learn – meets social online learning networks?
  4. What is the role of the teacher when we’ve transferred agency over the learning process to our students and created an environment and a culture in schools that supports greater freedom to learn?
  5. Review for us how we currently define “success” in schools, and then share with us how this idea is flawed and what new thinking about success we might put in it’s place.
  6. What do you see as the obstacles to the creating a culture of increased learner agency?
  7. What can leaders and policymakers do to start creating this kind of learning environment in our schools?
  8. What beautiful questions are you thinking about now? What are you working on? What’s inspiring you?

Join the Conversation

Each episode we leave you with a couple of questions to think about…with the idea of provoking conversation. This episode’s questions:

  1. What are your next steps in giving learners more agency in your classroom, school or district?

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