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I was in Singapore recently to attend the joint International Baccalaureate IB Heads World Conference and the IB Global Conference to learn what others in the education arena think we should be doing to prepare our young for their future.

Like you, I’m a passionate educator trying to deal with the complexities and challenges of the 21st Century to make sure my school is meeting the needs of our students. I’m the Founding Head of the Australian International School Phnom Penh AISPP and we are breaking with the constraints and conformities of traditional education to create a new school in Cambodia.

You know that education in the 21st century is extremely different to the education offered at any other point in time. Just the last 10 years have seen a huge shift in the use of devices and apps around the world. Steel collared workers and artificial intelligence are becoming a common threat to many exisiting jobs and occupations. The conference was a great opportunity to listen to educators voice their ideas on shaping the future.

So what did I learn?

  1. Be a rebel, not a robot!  I was spellbound listening to Taryn BondClegg as she spoke about her journey moving into the unknown in education to try those things that we have never tried before. Taryn and her team at the International School of Ho Chi Min City are creating innovation in learning by trusting students to learn using their questions and their passions. For the past four years they have been letting go of the constraints of the traditional education model to experiment with Studio 5 a new way of empowering young people to navigate their own learning. Check it out here.


  1. Innovation is keyGeoff Derry, Technology Integration Specialist from IGB International School, spoke with passion and knowledge about how to use innovation in our schools. Derry believes innovation is a mindset and that we must encourage a culture of risk-taking to make learning better. He encouraged all educators to move from consumption to creation and disrupt education by using Information Technology.


  1. We must embrace learning about the future. Rose Luckin, Professor at Learner Centred Design at UCL Knowledge Lab, helped us to see that Artificial Intelligence AI has been around since the 1950s and is not going to take the place of a teacher. In fact Luckin believes that AI will help us to unlock the black box of learning and is something we must embrace. Luckin explained how AI can be used to enable more effective, continuous formative assessment processes and tools that capture cognitive social, emotional and metacognition progression.


  1. Making a positive difference in the world never goes out of style! Meagan Fallone, a designer, entrepreneur and passionate mountaineer introduced me to the Barefoot College International. Her exceptional vision and commitment to social leadership is amazing. Fallone showed us how you can bring formally educated young people to interface with resource-deprived communities to create future leaders. Google it! Barefoot Colleges are creating amazing learning communities to change entire villages and countries.

How is your school changing to meet the needs of students who will compete with robots and AI for the jobs of the future?

At my school we have shed the shackles of the past. We don’t have grades or classrooms; we have learning spaces and learning groups where students and teacher are co-creators of their learning. Actually, we call our teachers Thought Leaders because we are often learning side by side with our students and our mission is to constantly provoke their thinking. We don’t have assemblies and staff meetings – we have meetups. I am also challenging my team and my students to be much more entrepreneurial, creative and innovative in their thinking. We’re agile, we pivot and we think critically and creatively all of the time. We still have a long way to go but we are a part of the #IBrebelalliance and committed to changing schools to meet the needs of 21st century learners.

Actually, I offer workshops for schools to come together as a collective and take the time to think and strategise about future directions. I share strategies and skills to develop shared responsibility and shared commitment to change. I challenge educators to join the revolution, become rebels and change schools to truly meet the needs of Generation Alpha and Generation z students.

Check out my blog to see more articles on why and how we should be changing our schools.

I’d love to come and help you change your school. You can contact me here.

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