In today’s panel forum on 21st century school design, New Tools, New Schools: Starting the Conversation about Web 2.0, a Minneapolis teacher named Skip Olson commented that our current schools are spirit-killers. His point: The real change we need to be talking about is school environments, in making schools freer and more collaborative places—or states of mind. New tools and strategies, however compelling, won’t make it across the School 1.0 threshold without a change in thinking.

Will Richardson commented on the still-unrealized power of personal learning networks and spaces. David Jakes added, in one of those meta-moments that seem almost ubiquitous at this conference, that he, Jeff Utecht, and others in the room were simultaneously recording live session notes on Skype—a perfect example of a learning network in action. An excerpt from Jeff’s transcript of the session:

[10:05:57 AM] Brian Grenier says: Now a retired guy is speaking
AM] Jeff Utecht says: Are some of the best concepts going to come from
Univ students like this? People that have grown up with it..get it…and
know what students are feeling.
[10:06:18 AM] David Jakes says: yes, it is, but the system sqaushes this
[10:06:22 AM] David Jakes says: see, spirit killers
[10:06:23 AM] Brian Grenier says: Schools as spirit killers
[10:06:26 AM] Brian Grenier says: wow

Learning network in fascinating action. Now, can this kind of networked learning lead to the kind of spirit-nurturing changes Skip says we need?