Archive for November, 2010

freelearning with John Davitt

we invite you to discover freelearning
five simple steps to powerful learning from John Davitt

freelearning keynotes & workshop
Now with six Key Principles of Practice

wait till you see this sideways :)

Put simply the shackled column is the default setting –  what we do on a daily basis –
Freelearning provides a method for considering how we can adjust & extend opportunities
across the five strands and in just changing a little – start to change all

“The freelearning model gives you five points of access where you can adjust the  range, power and the trajectory of the learning experience.
It’s a model for thinking about learning that lets creativity in the door and innovation through the window”

John’s freelearning method  combines  powerful learning, new technologies & common sense.

Falling in learn again
Never wanted to
What am I to do
I can’t help it

“John prevents you wasting money on resources that will not help learning
and helps you focus on the tools & activities that make a difference”
Doha, January 2015

“John got us learning by doing so the “mists of uncertainty” quickly cleared”         Amsterdam Nov  2014

“John Davitt shows you how to move activity from afterthought to artform
and all thet tools and ideas are free”
Moscow March 2015

The sessions show staff
• how to adjust the cycle of  shackled learning
• how to preserve “the will to learn” for more learners
• how to share as a freelearning organisation
• how breakthrough education projects fit into the model

freelearning events include
• how to unlock & foster creativity
• how to build powerful group learning
• how to build outdoor learning adventures
• access 50,000 learning challenges
• getting up, out  and actively involved
• set of John’s Learning Event Generators & Learning Scores for all staff
•  guidance on how to integrate 30 free tools & web 2.0 resources

what we cover…
Creativity & Struggleware TM
Learning Event Generation
3000 Learning activities in Numeracy, Literacy, Science
Literacy  through telling stories & making things
Register your interest / BOOK event
WORKSHOPS limited to 35 delegates (5 tables of 7)
Keynotes audiences up to 150 – Let Eliza know your particular needs
She can arrange a Skype call with John to refine a particular programme

upcoming freelearning tours from John
June 2016 UK  & Europe
July 2016 USA
October 2016 Far East & Australia.

to make a booking or enquiry

freelearning  tools (provided free to all delegates)
Davitt’s Learning Event generator
300 ways to show what you know
an example of  freelearning
currently in use in 1000s of
organisations worldwide
see it at

the Learning Score
John’s latest software invention “the Learning Score” turns lesson planning into a creative graphical event  and allows teachers and learners to make a lesson in the same creative way they might edit a movie. Someone has called it “GarageBand” for learning. Find out more and download your  version in advance of John’s visit at

Want to know more or make a provisional booking

Living powerfully in both worlds

One of my key themes at present (especially on the Designs for Active Learning tour) is the need to work at the point where “two worlds meet” My favourite example of this is the notebooks that have lived in my back pocket for 30 or 40 years. At first the cheapest wire bound versions – most recently (when funds allow)  slim and flexible A6 (ish) Moleskine cahiers
creased and loved

These notebooks act like a memory prosthetic and make me step “out of the moment” and note down a key idea or an intended action. A few years back going through an airport I noticed how quickly they could scan passports and searched Google for Passport Scanner. Up came the Fujitsu Fi 60 F. Ibought one and within a few hours of the scanner’s arrival I had scanned in a few year’s of my life. For the last two years these notes have lived on the shelf in old notebooks and also on my computer and phones as JPEG images or PDFs. Most recently I got a loan of an iPad and downloaded 10 notebooks as PDFs – they appear “on the shelves” in the bookstore with their battered brown covers.
all the notebooks up and ready to read

What a revelation to be able to read the notes at high res in larger than life mode – and scroll and zoom with fingers. On a recent flight to Australia I reviewed ten year’s of notebooks browsing back and forward by finger on my iPad
living in both worlds

I am now experimenting with the  PDF Highlighter App so that I can add notes and draw over the PDF of the notes on the iPad – I’m beginning to think that all students should get little notebooks that can live in back pockets along with guidance on the skills of notebooking like collage and colouring in 🙂 on all courses now I invite delegates to make a doodle and if they want we make a PDF Book of group wisdom at the end of the day.  More to follow soon on the Notebooking front we will be running a Notebooking session as part of #lob11 in Mulranny Mayo Ireland at the beginning of June 2011.
John Davitt Nov 2010

Learning on the Beach Adelaide October 2010

Henley Beach Adelaide October 2010

During a lecture tour to Australia in October John worked with some teachers to plan and run some outdoor learning adventures.

The brief for us was to derive an outdoor learning adventure that would reinforce some of the work that students were doing in trigonometry – a scan of the online syllabus showed that Pythagoras’ Theorem was clearly in the frame.

We carried out a quick audit of site two days before taking a good few pictures so we could find five locations to hide the little plastic containers that would hold the learning challenge for each group. There was considerable potential in using the sea front with an outdoor meeting place  (especially the small amphitheatre) with an open municipal power supply that worked! Next I went to my Google home page signed in and then went to Google Maps and chose the tab “my Maps” There is an excellent tutorial video to take you through the process of making a Google My Map

We then made a map of the local area with five location pointers one for each group. For extension work I drew two large triangles over the area using the pier/jetty as a long side. Each group would also receive a challenge to work out the area or the length of the hypotenuse on these triangles in  addition to the challenge in their canisters.

can you work out area of top triangle? click to enlarge

It was simple job to connect a wireless router – the wireless network covered an area of 40 square metres. Students arrived with their own laptops  as they are part of a year 9 cohort that had all been given their own standard PC laptops in year 7 (so now they are two year’s old and well used)

We set the students into five groups of 5, each group given their own positional marker in a Google map that I had created for the event. Using their laptops and with careful use of zoom and by switching on of the satellite view this was enough to get a fix within 5 metres of where I had buried the clues capsules. We didn’t tell them any of that of course! We ran two sessions for two different classes and each session lasted 90 minutes.

Once found each capsule contained a few props pencils, printout of the rudiment of geometry rolled up small and a challenge. One family came to the beach for a picnic and sat straight on top of one challenge canister – luckily I had a spare challenge to hand – otherwise all capsules were found

Challenges included.

“Tell the story of Pythagoras’s theorem as a drawing with sticks in the sand”

“Conduct a radio interview with Pythagoras on the beach”

“Tell the story of Pythagoras through the eyes of Euclid or another contemporary

“Illustrate the theorem as an animation using materials found on the beach – led to a lovely seaweed enhanced version of the proof”

more work goes on in the background

One of our key learning intentions was that the challenge would help transmute whatever students already knew (or found via a quick Google) into a product that demonstrated the beginnings of group moderated learning.

Each student could get their clues then groups either went to the beach to film or back to the 40 metre square wireless zone to research and publish results. They were given the responsibility to get their final work onto my laptop via Bluetooth or memory stick. We opted for a mix of online and hand- held clues this seemed to help share the load and introduced a nice variety with students having to move between the two sources.

Great activity ensued, areas of triangles researched online then worked out on scraps of paper, some students using the key in Google maps estimated the length of the giant triangles others paced out the two sides not in the water. Even the head teacher took some time out to come and see what the students were up to.

At the end in a quick poll 70 % of students said they now had a clearer idea if the theory and how they could explain it to others. Possible follow up work will be to adjust the map so that students can click on parts of the beach where they did their work and see the movie that they made. We finished with a celebratory look at Rosie my old dog who had a particular knowledge in this area 🙂

Some comments

“That was great – can we do more learning outside?”

“How can we make our own maps?”

“Thanks for choosing our school”

“The search and the challenge were the high points for me”

Many thanks to Michael Shaw ( and all of the DECS team) and to the staff and Students of Henley High School for their positive “can-do” attitude they brought to the design and the adaption of the task

Want us to help run an outdoor learning adventure for you contact us here