Fantasy future of learning conference..

I’m a big fan of what the guys at Carsonified have been able to build as far as their conferences and workshops are concerned – they run well curated, single stream conferences in wonderful venues with more than ample opportunities for networking and also manage to attract relevant and interesting sponsorship which is vital these days.

I’m an even bigger fan of what O’Reilly have built – their portfolio of events is seriously impressive and its events like the upcoming Tools of Change conference that really impress me (and I really, Really, REALLY wish I could attend that one!). O’Reilly conferences tend to be more complex from a programme point of view than the Carsonified ones with multiple streams of sessions etc and are often 2 days or more but are also wonderfully curated – with a mix of start-ups, big companies, futurists, charities, academia and more all included.

I’ve had this idea for a while now but I think its probably more than I’d be able to pull off either on my own or even as a part of Jiva (we aren’t exactly geared up for what I’ve been thinking about).

Anyone who has read more than a couple of posts on this blog will know my attention swings between online learning stuff and using the web to enhance events so this is kind of a way to bring those strands together.

The idea is basically to run a big, shiny, conference on the topic of something like the Future of Learning (or something much more clever and original) with a mix of really good speakers from lots of different backgrounds with an interest in the top.

Off the top of my head I can think of people like Ken Robinson, Clay Shirky, Tim O’Reilly, Charles Leadbeater or Sugata Mitra as potential headliners.

Then beyond that there are a whole host of people who people who want to hear speak; people like Matt Locke at Channel 4, someone from the BBC to represent public service broadcasting.

Paul Miller at School of Everything, Dave Schappell from Teachstreet, Farbood Nivi from Grockit, Shai Resef from University of Life, Jon Bischke at EduFire who are building start-ups around education.

Michel Wesch from from Kansas State, Larry Johnson or Alan Levine from the New Media Consortium, someone from the Open University (Martin Bean the incoming VC?) or Open Courseware Consortium from the academic side of things.

Who runs iTunesU for Apple? Microsoft Education (or maybe better someone from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation?). What about Amazon – are eBooks and devices like the Kindle going to effect learning?

Thats a pretty big list even leaving out people like JISC, Becta, Futurelab, DIUS and the DCSF.

A conference with even a smattering of those speakers would be something I would spend time and money on and I think there are lot of people who would do the same. Not just people working in education either – I think the right programme would attract all kind of attendees.

Anyway this is mainly just thinking out loud and would require an established events crew with significant resources to make happen – but I think its a nice idea 🙂