Teaching and Learning in a Connected World

Concurrent Session 9

Brief Abstract

We are living in times of connection. And it’s not just about networked information technologies. Today, cross-continental travel is easy. Economic interdependence among nations is a ubiquitous. Migrants and refugees move in greater numbers than ever before. Our lives depend on complex energy grids and sophisticated infrastructure. Around the planet, connections bind us together in new, exciting, and often challenging ways.

Today’s educators need re-evaluate the conventions of schooling for this new world. Some are trying. But unfortunately, most efforts fall short. Even the most forward-thinking teachers remain tethered to old educational paradigms. Many new blended and online learning systems simply attempt to smoosh old pedagogical structures into shiny new boxes.

It’s because we struggle to acknowledge that the routines and conventions of learning that we all take for granted were actually derived in response to distinct technological needs. Schools are full of old tech: chalkboards, copy machines, loudspeakers, books and more. All literacies are tech literacies. And education has always been “blended.” But now, it’s divided. We keep reinforcing a false distinction between online and offline—which is just code for: learning through old tech and learning through new tech. Haphazard hybridization will quickly prove problematic because it can’t adequately condition people to live and work fluently within a globalized world.

In this intimate townhall style discussion, we will interview keynote speaker Jordan Shapiro. Come prepared to challenge your thinking, ask lots of questions, and participate in an imaginative and though-provoking conversation about re-imagining what learning means in a world where everything is blended and connected.


Jordan Shapiro, PhD is a world-renowned thought-leader on global policy and education. He’s currently senior fellow for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, where he coordinates research and advocacy around digital technology and playful education. His Forbes’ column on global education, learning through digital play, kids and culture was read by over 5 million people around the world, also resulting in a Twitter following (@jordosh) of more than 116,000. He’s an internationally celebrated speaker and consultant whose fresh perspective combines psychology, philosophy, and economics in unexpected ways. Shapiro works as a consultant for the United States Air Force, helping to make sure Air University’s officer training and professional military education remains pedagogically and technologically relevant in a rapidly changing world. He has been a pioneer in new online adult education at Thomas Edison State University, where he developed their soon-to-be-released flagship course 'Critical Thinking with Video Games.' He is also a member of Teach For All’s Global Advisory Council and has been an expert adviser to UNESCO and the World Economic Forum. He authored KQED’s popular 'Mindshift Guide to Digital Games and Learning' and the soon-to-be-released 'Guide to Digital Play for Global Citizens' created in partnership with Sesame Workshop and The Asia Society. During the week, you can find him in the classroom at Temple University, where he teaches in the Intellectual Heritage Program and designed the online version of the university’s core curriculum. Jordan lives in Philadelphia with his two sons. His forthcoming book, The New Childhood: How Kids Can Live, Learn, and Love in a Connected World, will be published by Little, Brown, and Company in early 2019.

Extended Abstract