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School dropout now bestselling education author

Published: Wed 30 Sep 2009 05:45 PM
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A Christchurch school dropout will present a workshop at ULearn after becoming an international bestselling educational author.
Well known to many for his radio and broadcasting work Gordon Dryden will speak to delegates at ULearn about the The seven keys to unlock the future of learning from his latest book Unlimited.
ULearn09 is an educational conference focusing on innovative teaching and learning for the 21st century organised by CORE Education that attracts about 2000 delegates and features 400 national and international speakers.
CORE Education’s director of development Nick Billowes said Gordon Dryden was an engaging speaker and his range of insights across the spectrum of innovative education had won him much acclaim.
“He is a proud and unashamed advocate for the quality educational opportunities within New Zealand.
“We are lucky to have such a high calibre of speakers in New Zealand to be able to tap into. Gordon will be well worth listening to along with the many talented speakers we have on the programme,” Mr Billowes said.
Dryden is so passionate about his latest book he has co-authored with American doctor of education Jeanette Vos that he is giving away a copy to everyone attending the conference.
The book Unlimited and subtitled The new learning revolution and the seven keys to unlock it is named after a Christchurch school of the same name.
Students at the Unlimited high school, and its associated Discovery One primary school, use all of Christchurch as their classroom — as they follow personalised learning pathways, Dryden said.
“This is a similar philosophy to my own that everyone has a different potential to be great at something — and it is up to schools to help find that something and develop it, using the entire world as their classroom, throughout life,” he said.
Dryden, who completed his primary schooling at Waltham, Phillipstown and New Brighton schools in the 1940s, dropped out of Christchurch West High School (now Hagley High) after only one year.
“I really wanted to be a journalist so I wanted to learn shorthand and typing but back then boys weren’t allowed to do it, so I left,” he said.
However, after dropping out of school he did not give up and the world became his classroom. He went on to become a well known broadcast journalist and bestselling educational author. In 1993 he met Dr Vos at an educational conference.
When they both realised they were working on similar things a collaboration was started -- Dryden was editing 150 hours of professional videotape, on that subject, down to six one-hour New Zealand television documentaries; and Vos had just completed a seven-year research program on the same subject for her doctorate.
Their first work together produced the book Learning Revolution which went on to sell 10 million copies in China within seven months and has now been translated into twenty different languages.
Dryden has not long returned from a series of presentations and television interviews in Mexico, where Unlimited will shortly be published in Spanish.
While overseas he also made a pitch to the United Nations to use New Zealand schools as a role model for other countries to help bridge the gap between rich and poor.
ENDS

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