Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WHY SCHOOL by Will Richardson

I just finished Will Richardson's new ebook, Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere (Kindle Single) .  Will Richardson is someone I have been learning from for years. I've read his books, I read his blog regularly, I follow him on Twitter, I've watched his Ted Talks and I was able to hear him speak in person this summer.  I have learned so much from his groundedness about teaching and learning combined with his knowledge of technology and connected learning.

Why School is a must read for educators and parents, I think.  I love this book for a lot of reasons. First of all, it is not about school bashing or teacher bashing but pushing us to think about where we are going with school. Richardson believes in public education and the institution of school but knows things have to change.

I also like that Richardson ends the book with some very concrete things we, as individual teachers can do to move things forward and to give our students the school experiences they deserve.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from WHY SCHOOL. I have 59 things highlighted according to my Kindle notes page but thought these would help you get a sense of the message Richardson conveys in this book. 

"I’m suggesting that this moment requires us to think deeply about why we need school. Or to ask, more specifically, what’s the value of school now that opportunities for learning without it are exploding all around us?
"Right now, we are at the precipice of two very different visions of what modern education should look like — two very different answers to the “why school” question. One bodes well for our children, and one bodes not so well, as I’ll explain."

"I contend that our focus on passing the test is not nearly enough any longer. I insist that the “test” doesn’t come close to capturing what our kids need to know and to be able to do at this moment of rapid and radical change, and that the longer we wait to start a conversation around doing school “differently,” instead of simply “better,” the more we’re putting our kids at risk."
"Just imagine the learners they could become if we made these skills the focus of our work; if, instead of passing the test, we made those ever-more important skills of networking, inquiry, creation, sharing, unlearning, and relearning the answer to the “why school” question. Imagine what our kids could become if we helped them take full advantage of all they have available to them for learning."

It is a great read.  And if you are going to NCTE's Annual Convention next month, Will Richardson will be speaking there.   (Did I mention that this book is only available in a Kindle Edition with a great price of $2.99?)

And my friend sent me a connected article that is worth a read too!


  1. Just ordered it for my Kindle Fire. Thank you for sharing and nudging my TBR pile. I would love to see Will Richardson in person. Thx.

  2. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention, Franki! I will download and read it today since we are still without school!

  3. You might also be interested in the work will does with the PD company he co-founded Powerful Learning Practice. http://plpnetwork.com
    You could work directly with him over the course of a year to revision your school and classrooms.

  4. Sounds like a GREAT book to read and make us question our practices! My kind of book!


  5. Franki,
    I'm interested in reading this book. I feel strongly about the importance of public schools in our society. However, it is likely true that we need to shift our focus toward doing "school 'differently,' instead of simply 'better.'" How do we broaden our vision beyond the narrow skills of passing a test and producing containers of knowledge toward the "important skills of networking, inquiry, creation, sharing, unlearning, and relearning the answer to the 'why school' question?"

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book. I'm not sure how you keep up with it all, but I always look forward to your reflections of new professional books.



Comment moderation is turned on.