In July 2015 I rang the Washington Speakers Bureau to ask whether Sir Ken Robinson might be able to offer a keynote speech at the 2015 Kids’ Conference. Knowing Sir Ken’s speaking profile, I thought at best I would get a polite reply from the Bureau to decline the request. My hope in getting in touch was that Sir Ken might be interested to learn about the work Jo Clyne from HTAV and I had been doing to build the Kids’ Conference over the past 5 years.
But the next day the very friendly team from Washington came back to say yes, Sir Ken would be delighted to provide the keynote.
I suddenly felt like a fighter pilot who has been told to scramble a jet into an unknown course. Luckily the senior team at ACU were on board and agreed that Sir Ken’s academic expertise and input would ground the Kids’ Conference and help align the initiative with the educational philosophy of what we were working to achieve.
The Kids’ Conference is not only a great day out for students and teachers to share what’s happening in the classroom, but is an academically led conference which aims to build student voice and agency in education by demonstrating their initiative and development of ideas through teacher facilitation.
The opportunity to speak with Sir Ken and develop the presentation for the 2015 conference was a real privilege. As you would expect he is a genuinely thoughtful and enthusiastic person – just as you see on his many TED talks – which have been viewed by millions of people and inspired educators all over the world.
On the day the resulting keynote was a rich insight into Sir Kens’ ideas, his humour and – hopefully – an inspiration to the students and teachers on both sharing educational knowledge and how to be an extraordinary public speaker!
Unfortunately we could only have the video presentation up online for a short time but I’m sure everyone in the audience took away some important messages to help them back in the classroom and beyond.
By Stephen Spain