Tom's message is simple. "No child need be denied the opportunity to learn at the highest levels in the 21st century. It's 2010, not 1970 or even 1999."
The learning landscape is fundamentally shifting and our notions of how, when, and where to provide learning must shift as well if our children are going to thrive in a knowledge-based world."
Tom Welch is known around the country as an ardent revolutionary when it comes to the redesign of the learning process. He has been a high school French teacher, an English teacher and was a high school principal who mandated that all administrators teach one class every day. He also taught courses in math, humanities and entrepreneurship for high school students. His commitment to the opportunities for unbounded learning today has caused him to reexamine many of the practices and beliefs that led to the education paradigm of the early 20th century.
The results have been varied and included the design of a performance-based physics and math course for NASA that included non-English speaking students from abroad. With the mantra that “Everything is an opportunity for learning” he helped teachers at an Arizona Navajo school use kite-flying on the butte above the town as the means to constructing lessons that helped students reach learning targets in every subject taught in the school.
As an independent consultant for the last ten years Tom has witnessed, participated in and advocated for the explosion of opportunities for learning unbound by traditional limits of time or place. One of his current projects is co-directing the (Kentucky) Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs. This is an intense 3 week program for high school students from across the Commonwealth which uses badging to credential learning. Many of the young entrepreneurs work with their home schools to “trade” those badges for an actual credit on their high school transcript.
He currently lives in Chicago where he has established himself as a “connectivist” deliberately connecting the varied organizations, projects and initiatives he is involved with.