Thursday, January 20, 2011

Calling all Bloggers: Sir Ken Robinson Blogathon

I am putting out a call for people to participate in a Sir Ken Robinson Blogathon.

This blogathon is in response to the Sir Ken Robinson Public Dialogue that is taking place in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada on February 9 and 10.

Rather than have Sir Ken Robinson simply show up and talk for a couple hours just so we can all go back to work the next day like nothing happened, I really wish to encourage us all to participate in a public blogathon. This way, Sir Ken Robinson's talk will act as a catalyst for others to talk and learn. 

What is a blogathon?
  • A blogathon is just a bunch of people who want to write about something and then collect all the links in one, easily accessible place for all to see. It's a way of starting and continuing an important conversation.
How to participate:
  • Between now and February 20, blog about something related to education and Sir Ken Robinson. 
  • Write as few or as many posts as you like.
  • You don't have to attend the Red Deer event to participate. Anyone and everyone is welcome to give this a go.
  • If you have your own blog or website, go ahead and publish your post. To ensure that I find your post, please fill out this online participation form. This will allow me to collect and link to your post when I do up the summary for this event. If you want to link back to this post or leave a link to yours in the comment area, that would be groovy!
  • If you do not have a place to publish your thoughts, you can e-mail me, and I will share your post here on my blog and at My e-mail is
  • See that picture at the top of the post? You can use it as a badge to go with your post.
  • If you are on Twitter, share your post by using the hashtag #sirken
  • If you are a blogger, I challenge you to find a colleague who does not blog and get them to participate.
Prompts to spark your thinking:
  • What elements of Sir Ken Robinson's work inspires you?
  • What role should creativity play in education?
  • In what ways does school need to change?
  • How can school broaden its definition of achievement?
  • How can school do a better job of encouraging all children to find their passion?
  • What needs to happen so that school is something to be enjoyed rather than simply endured?

If you don't know much about Sir Ken Robinson, you could read his books The Element and Out of Our Minds, or you could watch these videos.

Now, go do that voodoo that you do!


  1. I am looking forward to seeing this event come together.


  2. I am so excited that this is happening. Of all the excellent ed "reform" people we should follow, Sir Ken should become the leader of the leaders--and we might just get our ball over the goal line. TYTYTY

  3. This seems like a provocative way to expand participation. I'll add a RT.

    I was a little sad that I missed Sir Ken in Vancouver, as I do find him and his message rather inspirational. However, I'm also of the understanding that Sir Ken's avoidance of class and power diminish the potency of his critique. To borrow from Noel Gough, 'he comes from privilege and is stuck there'. Without giving attention to the asymmetries of power that drive our culture and social relations, I think it likely that schools will continue to serve their primary functions: inculcating passive citizenship, denying agency, and sublimating creativity. Consequently, so long as Sir Ken avoids issues of class and power, I think his 'motivational speeches' will remain somewhat impotent.

  4. Sounds like fun! Will definitely participate.

  5. I'm sad I missed him in Vancouver too. I had a basketball game to coach of all things! Grrr.

    I agree with you Tobey, we can't reform education without a reformation of class & power. However I'm going to suggest that Sir Ken's message is easier to swallow (for people who are in very different camps) without the economic argument attached.

    I think if Sir Ken's message gets out there and reforms schools, that part of that reform will naturally speak to social class as his suggestion of a revolution in education suggests that much of what we do in schools needs to change. I don't know if this is really true for sure, but I do know that if you run around complaining about social class all the time, no one listens to you.

    Generally people are willing to give up a way of doing things if it doesn't mean they have to give up their standard of living... and there are some people who are VERY attached to their standard of living.

    However we do have a number of advocates who are talking about social class and we would do well to promote them as well.

  6. This is a brilliant (and creative!) idea. In Sir Ken's words, it is time to turn advocacy into action. I hope this will be an inspiring catalyst for participation and engagement = change.

  7. Yes, David, I think you make a valid point: highlighting the driving factors behind social hierarchies, marginalization, exploitation, and subjugation isn't necessarily encouraged or 'politically correct' these days. As well, if Sir Ken were to take on more of these angles, I think he'd be less enthusiastically received. Moreover, Sir Ken simply couldn't represent the marginalized or the sub-altern: he's never been there! It'd be like a suburban middle-class white kid trying to champion the 'interests' of Canada's First Nations. Sir Ken has lived a life of challenge, but he's enjoyed incredible privilege. As such, he is blinded by the horizons of his experience - he doesn't realize that in the current cultural milieu the effects of schooling which he critiques and challenges aren't accidents, but successes. In a sense, he's re-casting Obama's insistence on 'looking forward' and denying the value of persecuting Bush administration officials for war crimes. It's a way of addressing effects without ideology, and it glosses over power. I think that's counterproductive, at best. To put it another way, I think Sir Ken speaks to the 'decaffeinated revolutionaries': those who think they can achieve a revolution without a Revolution.

  8. Tobey, I see what you are saying, and I think you are on to something.

    I largely agree that poverty and lack of equity is at the root of what holds education reform from being truly effective and progressive.

    As advocates for progressive education and social reform, we each play a slightly different role.

    I see Sir Ken's role as focusing more on broadening school's narrow definition of achievement and success. I believe Sir Ken can do this while others carry the torch for equity.

    If Sir Ken was the only voice we subscribed to, then you're right, that would be awfully narrow minded of us.

    But thankfully, he's not the only one. So I'm cool with him.

  9. Here is a post with more Sir Ken videos:

  10. I think that Sir Ken can be brought into this discussion on equity and make a contribution.

    As Ak explains the driving force behind testing is ' privitization of education ' so schools run as businesses will be given the job to raise test scores.

    Now people will agree with Sir Ken's ideas on education fot their own childre, the bright kids , elite, or the wealthier classes etc but the poorer kids or kids of color would be best served by test prep factories.

  11. This is great Joe! Thanks for keeping the conversation going.

  12. David, you said "we can't reform education without a reformation of class & power."
    Have you see Education scientist Sugata Mitra tedtalk called: The child-driven education??
    I have it on my blog
    He address poverty and class in his research; infact his research is based in areas where good teachers won't go. His research compliments if not backs up Sir Kens' ideas

  13. Hi Joe,

    This sounds like a great event. I can't wait to see what transpires. I imagine you'll collate quite a few "creative" blogs.

    Goo don you for starting this!

    Ted Cowan

  14. Hi,

    I am looking forward to this.
    Thanks for the effort!:)



  16. Joe, I am so grateful that you sre doing this. I have wanted it for quite a while now, but didn't know where to start. I am a school turnaround guy and want to help out where I can be most useful. Meanwhile count me in on the revolution. I will keep writing. I have posted 20 essays about school reform on my blog

  17. This is a really great idea. When you go to see a speaker like this, it's often inspiring but it's hard to know what your practical application would be. Hopefully this blog project will let people take the conversation in a more practical direction.
    We're excited to be participating...

  18. I'm late on this but added my posts to your Google Form. Thanks for collecting them all, it has been fun to watch the inspiration spread over Twitter and here in your comments.


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