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May 10, 2007


Jeremiah Patterson


Reckoned you were up to something good. I reckoned right.

This collaborator is in.

I can't wait to find out more.

Arthus Erea

This sounds like a great idea! I'd love to get involved in it. One of the biggest and most important issues I see that you have recognized is the need for kids to be in attendance. Hopefully, we can manage to get more kids in on it. In fact, me and Paul Hillsdon have actually been thinking/working on establishing our own (by kids) forum/site to discuss the future of education. Hopefully, we can keep in touch about getting students involved.


Jeremiah -- Good to have such a passionate advocate for kids, teachers, and school design join the mix. Hope that we can grab time together in Portland, OR next week on your home turf; look forward to hearing your ideas. And definitely see you playing a variety of roles in time, but want to make sure it merges with your long-term goals, research, etc.

Arthus -- Precisely why getting the 'kids' into the mix right away is critical! You are more than welcome to join the adventure, my friend, but do not allow yourself to be 'window dressing' for well-intentioned adults; instead, be a leader, be a collaborator, and be a 'teacher' as well. Age is not relevant; just passion and imagination and a willingness to pull it off. And if you want -- in the meantime -- to begin networking the other dig:nat's in your world (near and far) to play a role, by all means! We'll figure out ways to plug you in, link back to your own projects/ideas, and collaborate on initiatives yet to be named.

To both of you -- Welcome!

Ethan Bodnar

Alright, so this sounds like an excellent plan. Getting students invovled is important and I am glad that you are planning on doing that. I am interested in what you are thinking about doing for the online network. Also, keep in mind the price of the conference. When I wanted to attend TED there is no way that I can secure 6,000 a year in advance to register. Students and educators arent going to have funds to pay alot of money.

From what I read, it seems like you are planning on keeping the "un-conference" online as an ongoing conversation and keeping the actual event at a fast pace with lots of presentations and what not.

What are you thinking about for locations. I might be able to provide one in the northeast.

Cant wait to be part of this!

Carolyn Foote

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am sitting here reading this.


A few of us at our own high school had been batting around the idea of an innovation group, but this is huge and great!

What a way to move the educational conversation forward!

Did I mention that I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS??

Count me IN!


Ethan -- Yes, kids (for a variety of reasons) need to play a centering role on all fronts. There will be some 'culture' formation as adults and non-adults begin to collaborate, not take the familiar teacher/student roles back, but I think in the end we all gain. Plus in a blink of an eye, the 'kids' will be out of school, moving through their careers, and in decision making positions...so it behooves us all to set you up to embrace this well, and to learn with/from you in the process. As to the potential price of anything, especially an event, the goal will be to make it accessible to folks in different ways. No reason why students can't have their participation -- in full or in part -- funded by others; same with teachers, too. We'll get to that in time. Right now, the concept is in beta-form, big questions are being worked through, and a variety of ways to bring people together are being considered. If we get to a TED-like event with a limited seating capacity (beyond the virtual options and satellite options), a fair percentage of kids/students will be given key access in a way that does not hurt their allowance (he smiles). Most importantly, I am pleased by your interest. And I suspect that you and a ever-evolving tribe of "dig:nat's" will be incredibly helpful as we shift from concept to reality.

Carolyn -- What a delightful note, my friend. If there was a prize for generous enthusiasm, you'd be well suited for it already! Perhaps -- just a teaser -- we can begin to consider satellite groups of teachers/students in individuals schools fostering their own LEARNING DNA groups, cross-pollinate them with others virtually, and allow it to inform/shape the larger efforts, conversations, and connections as well. Think about it. Any ideas would be appreciated. We might be a catalyst for each other along the way.

Cheers to you both!

Carolyn Foote

Well, coincidentally I just shared your idea on my blog and also committed myself to starting the innovation group on my campus! So I am on board for wherever this goes!


Sticking his digital hand-up for the cause...

Skip Zilla

LEARNING D.N.A. is not for the faint of mind and heart, just as TED isn't, no matter how feel good good ideas are to hear and share. How many of us are prepared to re-think an educational culture that is the only one we've known? How many will dare try to change the world that begins out their front door, not the one that is dreamed about in some other place?

Harvey Berdings

This sounds like an excellent idea and something I have been hoping for for some time. Focusing the (same kind of) collective intelligence and creativity so often found at TED towards education can only yield great results.

I would love to help establish a group or presence at my local campus. I can think of several students who would certainly benefit greatly in attending and contributing to such a program.


We're in. What can we do to help? I'm a fan of inverted hierarchies myself (or no hierarchies, but that's tougher to sustain). How about kids explaining to adults what learning should look/feel like? Employees explaining to employers what needs to happen to take better advantage of skills and talent? Multigenerational labs figuring out learning/training together? Sign us up!

Chris Lehmann

Count me in, but you knew that.

Will Richardson

What Lehmann said...;0)


Before I get to a few of the specific comments as of late, wanted to say thank you -- again! Considering the uber-vague 'peek' at the LEARNING D.N.A. concept thus far, I'm very humbled by the folks that have already left blog comments, sent emails, and have even tracked down a few other breadcrumbs that are far from ready to go public. All of you will be vital -- and great companions/guides along the way.

Will -- Glad to have your vision/wisdom. Expect to play a leadership role -- if you so choose to accept the mission -- in the days/weeks/months ahead. OR just to play devil's advocate, and keep us honest. Both great roles!
Chris -- What I said to Will (he smiles). Enjoy Jakob's pancake party this weekend...and please send our very best to Theo this weekend. Tell him to keep fighting the good fight! And wish Kat a Happy Mothers Day, as well, daddy-o.
Kristin -- Love your comments re: upside-downing traditional hierarchies. Even better: "multi-generational labs". I often use a slide in any presentation I give about school design that emphasizes the needs for schools in the future to be multi-generational, but not in the Wal-Mart greeter sort of way. Closer to your vision. Welcome aboard!
Harvey -- One of the foundation pieces of the LEARNING D.N.A. concept involves college students playing a key role, so yes and yes and yes to your instinct on this. We'll definitely be talking! Thanks for your comment.
Skip -- You said it best. Not for the faint of heart. But that's when you know something has potential, right? Great comment!
DK -- We'll undoubtedly be bar-nap sketching some ideas together in Oregon next week, as well as Skype-dreaming much in the days ahead. So pleased to see your virtual hand up!
Carolyn -- While I had been kicking around a slightly different phrase for individual schools/campuses, your "innovation group" is now the guiding phrase. Not only am I looking forward to learning from your efforts along the way, but something tells me you can offer a template for others! Thank you!

To the many others -- thanks for your curiosity, your offer to get involved, and your patience as a 'few details' are worked out quietly behind-the-scenes in advance of tangibles going public in the months ahead. More breadcrumbs coming. And lots to learn from each of you along the way!

LEARNING D.N.A. chaperone

Peter Brown

Learning DNA is timely.

Much energy is being spent in shaping learning experiences and environments for 'digital natives'- in many cases designed and delivered by 'digital immigrants'.

The divide is a short term condition; within a few short years, natives will move from being receivers to designers, deliverers, and participants in creating meaningful learning experiences...will there be any difference in the learning experience? It's a great time to frame the discussion.

Thanks for the Sneak-Peek. I'm In.


Peter -- Lots of head nodding on my end re: the design of learning environments for digital natives by digital immigrants, often using already outdated instincts for the future of learning. Nobody is at fault. This is a shift for all, and each of us is more on one side of the line than the other in the present tense. Even those of us with great intentions and an agile willingness to adopt digital native sensibilities.

You make an outstanding point about this being temporary. In a few years -- as you so well say -- the digital natives will be in decision making positions, being designers/creators of these spaces as well as recipients of them. I'm looking forward to the continual evolution of the conversation as that merger begins.

Like you, I believe that if we can begin to frame the discussion now -- not out of reactive fear, but out of an open-armed sense of possibilities ahead -- we'll all be better for it.

You're going to be a tremendous asset to the conversations, programs, and events that come out of this. Looking forward to learning from you along the way!


Clarence Fisher

Late coming to the party..... Just always forgot to leave a comment.... Was in when I first read this, still am in, I'll bring the fancy party hats.


Very interested in getting involved. I teach "Management for the MySpace Generation" at Fordham and have been very involved in creating student mentoring programs for the past few years... particularly interested in career mentoring and how students learn where they enjoy the application of knowledge. Is there a listserv or anything for this?

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