Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Learner

I just got around to watching John Seely Brown’s keynote address, Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Learner in the 21st Century, from the Digital Media Learning (DML) conference last weekend in San Francisco. It is quite long (over an hour but he starts at ~13min ) and I’d like to share the points that resonated with me the most:

  • The technology is the easy part. The hard part is what are the social practices around this and the institutional structures that match the new technology/tools
  • Half-life of skills is ~5 years, people must be constantly reinventing themselves and their skills
  • Maria Montessori and John Dewey were the education heroes of some of the top tech entrepreneurs
  • Tech amplifies curiosity
  • Interesting communities and ideas being generated around the social edge of massive multi-player games (like WOW)
  • Truly customized learning- can we develop an eHarmony tool for 1:1 tutoring and highly skilled mentorship?
  • Meaning emerges as much from context as content, making teachers/librarians/mentors even more important
  • I especially liked his message on collectives, essentially the new form of learning communities, and we already have some tools to foster these types of social interactions but need new tools (conceptual lenses through play)- networks of imagination
  • Tinkering captures 3 core lenses: Learn + Make + Play, new learning systems need to restrike a balance between these 3
  • He asks us to consider the permissions we give students to play and explore in classrooms? I’d like to add that it’s even more important that we give teachers permission to experiment and play with various teaching practices and redefining what a ‘successful classroom’ looks like.

I was tempted to attend the conference this year and hope to make it happen sometime in the future.  I’m pleased to see that this and many other videos from the event are posted online and plan to watch them throughout the next couple weeks.


By JArora

Supporting more women in tech at (acquired by
ex-Googler passionate about education, technology, running, gardening

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