Ian Jukes comes to University of Richmond

Last evening I was invited to attend a talk given by Mr. Ian Jukes, a former educator and a “thinker” today about education, digital culture, and digital fluencies. I really have enjoyed hearing him in the past (NECC), but this time around it was great to attend this session hosted by the Region 1 superintendents here in Virginia. Both Dr. Underwood and Mr. Gretz attended, along with several of our principals and Mr. DeWeerd.

His message was clear. It was about change, and not doing our jobs just because that’s the way it has always been done. He gave a great example in the theories as to why railroad ties are spaced at a standard of a little over 4 feet. He traces the origin of this measurement to Roman times, which means we’ve been building railroads the same width for reasons that go back thousands of years. Why? That’s the width that became standardized back then because it accommodated the width of two horses in front of a chariot.

What was more impressive is that the booster rockets of the space shuttle were confined to a size not much wider than 4 feet because they had to travel by train from Utah, where they are made, to Florida. That’s right, the space shuttle program was contingent upon the measurement of the backside of two horses, side by side.

Change can happen, and then he weaved in why we need to change the ways we provide learning experience. Science, brain research, and the digital world we live in are revealing new understanding about the climate in which our students thrive. It’s a lot of what I’ve heard and professed in the past here with teachers, but everyone from Goochland who attended I think picked up on something new. I’m sure we all left inspired.

You can check out Mr. Juke’s website and blog for more information. The “important stuff” from last night’s talk can be found here.