Ever since I saw him venture out on an Ohio winter’s night in sandals and shirtsleeves without a shiver I’ve suspected David Wiley had some kind of superhuman constitution. Add another tale to the legend — yesterday he gave a closing afternoon keynote in Baton Rouge, flew north and west across the continent through the night (of course flights were delayed), and delivered a killer morning address here in Vancouver at an hour I found painfully early without any travel at all.
But I was there with time to spare. Though I am a regular at the Open Education Conference, David has not given talks at these events (occasionally he co-presents a tool demo or something). I’m pretty sure this was my first chance to hear him really dig in since he visited UBC more than four years ago.
Even cooler, although he tossed off a couple tried and true riffs like the polo parable this talk was “freshly squeezed” new material… 160 slides delivered in about 30 minutes, stressing the value of learning from the web, not just with it, and the absolute importance of openness to pretty much everything we as educators want to do.
The full audio is here (36:41 17MB MP3) and will reward a listen. If you are pressed for time, I extracted a few segments that I thought were especially provocative (each MP3 about 1MB):
Thanks to David for permission to post, and Brandon Muramatsu for giving me his file when my own recorder shut itself down after 12 mins. The files are licensed CC Attribution.
David showed the smarts and humour I expected, but the thing that struck me most about his presentation was his natural sense of narrative, how the pieces cohered into a real story, building on one another. As he shifted from theme to theme, he punctuated by sharing the following lines from the Shaker song Simple Gifts, one at a time, illustrating the values of simplicity, openness, and humility:
‘Tis the gift to be simple,
’tis the gift to be free,
’tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
I’m not sure whether it was restraint or thematic unity that kept him from citing the couplet that follows in the same verse:
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.
I can only hope so.