Keynote Speakers

Larry Johnson. New Media Consortium (USA)

In Search of Uncommon Wisdom

Martin Burt

Join Dr. Larry Johnson, founder of the NMC Horizon Project, in an exploration of the road ahead for learning and its surrounding landscape of educational technology.  In the spirit of William Gibson, who famously observed that, “the future is already here; it is just unevenly distributed,” the NMC’s future focus is on where things are going — by understanding where they are coming from.  

What we see coming for learning shares little in common with the technologies, networks, software, or systems of today’s educational technology.  We need technology that is pervasive, open, ubiquitous, always on, always near, always connected. At the same time, virtually every assumption we have about the use of technology in education — our common wisdom — is based on how we have done things in the past— and as successful as we may have been, our own experience is likely the biggest limit on our future success.  The future state of any level of education certainly will bear little resemblance to its past.  Open learning advocates point to access, quality, and cost as the key determinants of future success.

In this changing landscape, we need institutions willing to break the traditional mold.  We need uncommon leaders, uncommon faculties, and uncommon systems and processes for making decisions. Creativity and vision is more important than ever.  We need people at every level that are willing to try new ideas, to take risks, and even to fail on the road to getting it right. 

Johnson will address these topics in the context of the evolution of the modern university, and detail the significant challenges and shifts in that framework that schools and even universities must understand and embrace.   Collectively, these challenges will require a tectonic level shift in the common wisdom, but that won’t be enough.  We will need uncommon wisdom

About Larry Johnson

Dr. Larry Johnson serves as Chief Executive Officer of the New Media Consortium, an international not-for-profit consortium dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies.  Its hundreds of member institutions constitute an elite list of the most highly regarded universities, museums, and research centers in the world. The NMC’s dozen-year exploration of technology use in education, the Horizon Project, informs strategic technology planning for educational institutions in more than 175 countries.  As the project’s founder, Johnson works with visionaries and thought leaders from across the globe to define new ways of thinking about technology, and explore emerging trends and issues.

Martin Burt. Fundación Paraguaya (Paraguay)

Innovations in Education for Poverty Elimination: the Financially Self-Sufficient Schools and the Poverty Stoplight

Martin Burt

During the past 10 years  Martin Burt and Fundacion Paraguaya have been experimenting with new education models to address two intractable social problems: access to quality education in poor countries with limited budgets and multidimensional poverty in rural villages and urban slums. After successfully piloting these programs, the financially self-sufficient school model (education that pays for itself) and the Poverty Stoplight is now being adapted to countries in Latin America and Africa, challenging conventional paradigms of how to use education in a sustainable and scalable manner to promote youth employability and eliminate poverty.

About Martin Burt

Martin Burt is founder and CEO of Fundación Paraguaya, a 30-year old NGO devoted to the promotion of entrepreneurship and self-help to eliminate poverty around the world. He is a pioneer in applying microfinance, microfranchise, youth entrepreneurship, financial literacy and technical vocational methodologies to address chronic poverty in Paraguay. He has developed one of the world’s first financially self-sufficient agricultural and tourism schools for the rural poor. He is co-founder of Teach a Man to Fish, a global network based in London (3000 members-150 countries) that promotes “education that pays for itself” and which is partnering with more than 50 organizations from 27 countries to establish self-sufficient schools, mostly in rural areas. He has also developed the Poverty Stoplight, a new metric and methodology to assist families to self-diagnose their level of multidimensional poverty and develop customized plans to eliminate poverty. He participates in the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and the World Economic Forum Social Entrepreneurship community. He is a Visiting Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the American University of Nigeria, a Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an Adjunct Professor at Tulane University. Mr. Burt, 57, is married to Dorothy Wolf and has 3 children.

In addition to his work in civil society, Mr. Burt is a pioneer in environmental protection in Paraguay, having co-founded the Bertoni Nature Conservancy and the Mbaracayu Forest Reserve Foundations, two of the country’s largest nature conservation institutions. He was elected twice as president of the Paraguayan-American Chamber of Commerce, has served as Vice Minister of Commerce, was elected Mayor of Asunción and served as Chief of Staff to the President of Paraguay.  Burt has received the Nestle Shared Value Award, the Global Development Network Award, the Microfinance Award for Excellence in Social Responsibility from the Inter-American Development Bank, the Outstanding Social Entrepreneur Award from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award, the Templeton Freedom Award from the Atlas Foundation, the World Innovation Summit for Education Award, the OikoCredit Award, and the distinguished alumni award from the University of the Pacific and the George Washington University, as well as the Social Innovation Award from Brigham Young University and the Albert Bandura Award from Vital Smarts.

In addition to having been recognized as an Avina Foundation leader, he has been awarded the UNESCO Orbis Guaraniticus Medal and the Inter American Development Bank and UNESCO Best Practice Award, the Recording Industry Association of American Gold Record for fighting intellectual rights property violations, the Synergos Fellowship, the Eisenhower Fellowship Award from the USA and from Taiwan, and the Argentina National Academy of History Domingo Sarmiento Medal. His commitment to education is featured at the Clinton Global Initiative. He serves as a Regional and Global Board Member for Junior Achievement Worldwide and is active in the ACCION International microfinance network. Mr. Burt has books published on economics, development, municipal government, poetry, and education.