Keynote: Charles Leadbeater at the JISC online conference 2009

Opening keynote, 24th November 2009

Cloud created by:

Antonella Esposito
23 November 2009

This cloud has been set up to live blog, aggregate resources and further discussion, referring to Charles Leadbeater's talk "The role of innovation in education", scheduled on 24th November at the fourth JISC online conference.

From the abstract:

Using examples from his research into schools and work relating to the arts, Charles Leadbeater discusses in the opening keynote the role of innovation in education, exploring not only how the web can break down barriers but also how the benefits it promises can be nurtured and sustained.

Key questions:

  • How should educational establishments deal with innovation both in ideas and means of delivery?
  • What will the universities, schools and colleges of the future look like?
  • Where will they be located, and who will they employ?

Extra content



The question you ask largely determines the answer you get

Your vantage point determines what you can see…

Where would you look to see what education and learning might become ?

Mapping education innovation

A) Innovation as IMPROVEMENT

Good people teaching, well trained, well motivated and supported in the right conditions

Order and calm: hard & soft power

Relationships that build: Care, Recognition, Motivation, Participation

But…Performance plateau
Ingrained inequality
Hitting the target, missing the point

Improve is essential but not enough…

B) Innovation as REFORM

Learning with and by not to and from
Personalised learning = learning with and by:

Place,Timing, Pace, Space

Big schools that feel small
Software leads hardware
Multiple forms of assessment
Teachers as coaches

Pupils as protagonists
Problem/question oriented learning
Collaborative and real world
Self-reflective, motivated learning
Information literate, able communicators
Should we make it much easier for new kinds of schools to be created?

But…There are lots of obstacles and traps on the journey from improve to reform

But…Need to encourage reform from within but also a wave of new kinds of school created by social entrepreneurs

Should we make it much easier for new kinds of schools to be created?

But…Even that may not get all you need

C) Innovation as SUPPLEMENT

Social and emotional conditions
Relationships for learning at through family and home, in community and work

Parents more involved in school
Supporting learning at home
 Minimising impact of family disruption

The plate:
environment, culture and economy

Aspiration and ambition
Cultural and economic change
Social contracts around schools

School draws in community resources
School resources available for community
Disperse the school in the community
Learning led cultural change

Where do you invest?
What people and skills do you need?
Mission drift?


Entirely new ways to enable learning
Cloud culture: ubiquitous participation, connection, collaboration
Radical innovation usually comes from the margins: social entrepreneurs and the hardest to reach

(quoted education in slums,

Pull not push
Motivation is key: extrinsic and intrinsic
Learning through… Different people, technologies, places for learning

Learning as a productive, making, doing, earning activity
What are the keys to transformational innovation in learning?

Disruption accelerates systemic innovation.
Where should reform go? Improve/ Supplement/ Reform/ Alternative approaches?

Antonella Esposito
10:09 on 24 November 2009 (Edited 11:25 on 24 November 2009)

Embedded Content


Antonella Esposito
3:33pm 23 November 2009

The cloud What will the university of tomorrow look like? can be related to the topic of the talk.

Rebecca Galley
10:46am 24 November 2009

Thanks for blogging this - I've just watched the key note too and thought the models really interesting and potentially useful in mapping out the complexities of innovation...but think I need to give it more thought!

Antonella Esposito
11:35am 24 November 2009

Indeed an excellent springboard for a conference, much food for thought. Disruptive innovation as catalyst for systemic innovation? If I think of the very conservative university environment I have been working for years I would rather say: 'disruption prevents from starting an effecive process of innovation', as much literature on technological innovation in HE (Bates, Jenkins,...) has widely stated. Anyway, look forward to joining the asynchronous discussion to understand more in-depth the issue.

Giota Alevizou
11:49am 24 November 2009

I really like the themes, esp. the idea of reform! There're political undertones there I think ... I think it would be interesting to explore the idea of innovation diffusion (Rogers) with the idea of reforming, socially situated practices within the context of education.

Antonella Esposito
12:02pm 24 November 2009

Leadbeater has just added a note that better explains he intended practical use of his framework. Quoting:

" I suppose I am trying to use it (above framework) to do four things.

  1.   Getting people - policymakers, heads, teachers - to think beyond just the Improve strategy, to realise there are other strategies available.
  2.   To get people to think about the mix of approaches that work best.
  3.   To look at the movements between them. Making it easier to move from Improve to Improve and Reform, making the boundaries between them more porous.
  4. Seeing it all as a whole where the balance of emphasis might shift, At the moment Transform is really seen as "Marginal Alternatives for Learners with Special Needs" but if this became the dominant pole would be much better.

Finland it seems to me does all four and combines them well. Other good places, Victoria in Aus similar. England focuses on Improve and treats the rest as following from that. India should really focus on the right hand side (informal = Supplement/Transform) which is where I think the big opportunities are".

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