The Future of Education Strikes a Chord

We’ve received a lot of feedback on our 9 Billion Schools book in the month or so since we released a preview copy at SXSWedu. Most comments are along the lines of, “Couldn’t agree more that this is the future of education.” and "Keep up the good work." This is really encouraging, of course. And I’m glad we’ve struck a chord with our initial readers.

But my co-author, Lauren Della Bella, and I also want to hear from the naysayers, from those who think we're thinking about the future of education in the wrong way. We want to hear from those who think they may have better ideas or a different twist on some of themes we cover in the preview edition. And we are especially eager to talk with those who want to write an essay for the first edition. (About a dozen people have so far stepped forward.)

Dissent Leads to Discussion

I have always viewed differing opinions as an opportunity for discussion, collaboration and debate. It's how we get smarter and push ourselves to better ideas. That’s one of the reasons I am so thrilled when someone reaches out and challenges us to consider a new or different idea.

For example, someone I’ve known for a number of years had this to say: “I liked the tone and direction of the book but was left with a ‘what’s next’ feeling. To me, the real issue is getting away from a 20th Century packaged industrial model of education to a more granular and customized view.” This colleague went on to question whether existing educational institutions could be reformed, or whether learning needs to be fostered independently of them. Wow, it doesn't get more thought-provoking than that!

This is exactly the kind of discussion Lauren and I want to spark here on this blog and in the official first edition of the book. It’s this kind of questioning that will spur this movement forward. (Care to comment on the feedback above? Jump over to our Facebook page to join the discussion.)

Make Your Mark

There are many ways the 9 Billion Schools movement and its mission – truly personalized, lifelong learning for all – have come to life in the real world... or will come to life in the future. What are they? The Mobile Health & Wellness Learning Center is one the team at SHP Leading Design conceptualized. Part classroom and part clinic, the mobile center is a great example of how learning can occur in many different spaces, places and moments in time.

Which begs the question: What have you tried? What has inspired your work in the classroom, at your office, during your leisure time? What real-life connections have your made between the 9 Billion Schools mission and the future of life-long, life-wide and life-deep learning? I hope you’ll consider sharing a blog post or guest essay to inspire others within this movement.

So what’s next for 9 Billion Schools? Well, we’re still getting all kinds of great input on the 9 Billion Schools book, so we’re leaving the digital preview edition live until the one-month anniversary of the movement’s launch, April 8. Click here to download the 9 Billion Schools books today.

In the meantime, stay tuned for our first 9 Billion Schools webisode, which will provide more background information on the movement and answers the question, “Why would an architectural firm tackle the future of education?” You can also sign up for our newsletter or follow our social channels to receive periodic updates, news and alerts. You can even sign our declaration to officially lend your public support to the 9 Billion Schools movement.

Better yet, let’s talk! You can email me at