On this episode of ShiftED Podcast I was joined by Edtech pioneer Peter Skillen,  as his LinkedIn descriptor expresses, “I am a learner & I am a teacher. Simple. The two, for me, are inseparable and part of the whole.” The conversation explores Peter’s path from educator to technology integration leader. He details his early teaching experiences, his passion for computers, and his introduction of Logo programming to students in the 1980s. Peter emphasizes the importance of play in learning, highlighting “tinkering” and “inquiry” as crucial for developing intrinsic motivation and a sense of control. Chris and Peter delve into self-directed learning and teaching philosophies. Peter explains how his approach has been shaped by various educators and philosophies, with a focus on creating environments that empower students to learn through exploration and discovery. Challenges and strategies in education are also addressed. Peter emphasizes student-driven learning, parental involvement, and respecting student individuality. He shares anecdotes illustrating the importance of adapting to different learning styles and addressing student needs with empathy.

They discuss project-based learning and the importance of a strong driving question. The potential and pitfalls of integrating generative AI tools into education are also explored, highlighting the need for responsible policy development. Peter expresses concerns about the current education system and its impact on educators and students. He sees a potential benefit in a new requirement for all students to take a technological education course. Chris acknowledges the changing views towards university education and the value of vocational training. The episode concludes with a focus on student-led learning and “intentional serendipity,” where teachers guide rather than dictate the curriculum. They discuss the importance of personalized learning and fostering a welcoming and inclusive educational environment. While acknowledging the system’s flaws, they recognize the dedication of educators working within the existing framework.