Check out the new AERO Conference website.
For the past two weeks the AERO team has been working hard to redesign the conference website. It is now faster, easier to navigate, cleaner looking, and more organized. It also has it's very own address:
Also, the new conference schedule is now on the website. You can see it
We would love any feedback you may have.
Peter Gray Keynote Details
Four Reasons Why Now is the Time for Self-Directed Education to Take Wings
I'll begin with a brief overview of the meaning and history of Self-Directed Education. Then I'll elaborate on reasons for believing that Self-Directed Education, as replacement for standard, coercive K-12 schooling, will grow at an accelerating pace over the next several years. The
reasons have to do with (1) the increased toxicity of standard schooling and increased recognition of that toxicity; (2) the increased evidence and recognition that Self-Directed
Education works; (3) the increased ease of pursuing Self-Directed Education; and (4) changes in
the economy that favor the skills developed by Self-Directed Education. In a final section of the
talk I'll describe some of the ways that the Alliance for Self-Directed Education is working to
normalize and legitimize Self-Directed Education and make it available to everyone.
Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College who has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 7 th edition). His research now focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self- Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine, and he is president of the recently formed nonprofit organization, the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, aimed at educating the general public about the value of Self-Directed Education as an alternative to standard, coercive, K-12 schooling.
Calling All Canadian AERO Members!
Canadians! Contact us immediately to get a special rate that accepts your currency at par! E mail us at
or call free at 800 769-4171.
Theme Discussion on AERO Conference Listserve
The theme of the AERO Conference this year is "
"If learner-centered education is the answer, what is the question?" After the theme was announced there has been an extensive discussion about it on the AERO conference list serve. All registrants are subscribed to the listserve after they register so they can communicate with other registrants and presenters. This is another reason to register now!
Jamaal Bowman, who will do a TED-like mini talk at the conference, is the trailblazing public school principal of CASA. He just sent
of a documentary on his school to the AEROconference list serve.
PLEASE e mail us or call the office at 516 621 2195 if you have a group or a special need.
We still have spaces for more sponsors and
for this year's conference. Reply to this e news if interested.
You can register now
Results of conference poll
The results of the conference poll are in:
36% of those who responded were interested in the cruise around Manhattan
44% were interested in the virtual reality demonstration
36% wanted the lunch discussions
36% wanted the open art room
56% wanted an open discussion room
48% wanted the spontaneous workshop rooms
24% wanted the Mine Craft server
64% want presenter and keynote panels
12% were interested in the scholarship fund
12% wanted more unscheduled time
20% wanted Continuing Educatio
20% want graduate credits.
Ed: Tarryn Anderson, one of our recent school starters, sent the article below about a crowd funding site they have created. This year's school starter program is now open for registration.
is a non-profit learning community launching this year and we need your help to create a space for students who want to learn in a non-coercive and free environment where they can engage in deep and meaningful learning.
Many students do not thrive in rigid, test-driven environments and need a place that is geared to re-ignite their love of learning. Thought Quotient provides a self-directed, safe, and supportive learning environment where students pursue individual passions, explore their interests, build relationships with peers, mentors, facilitators, and community members. Humans are natural learners. When children get to follow their passions, they engage deeply and learn more quickly and thoroughly. Children need a setting to develop their social, cultural, and emotional intelligence, motivation, self-knowledge, and their sense of purpose. This is a community where play happens freely, where collaboration is nurtured and individuality celebrated. Here, learning is not separated from living. We work together to foster a culture where everyone is respected equally and empathy and compassion are woven into the fabric of the day.
We are asking for your support to launch this amazing learning community that is re-defining education for the 21st century. We can't get this off the ground without help from you. Funds raised will go to start-up costs for our founding year which include location rental fees, insurance, supplies, and other operational / administrative expenses. Thought Quotient believes in being accessible to the community and with your generous support, we are able to serve more families and continue our community outreach.
The future of education is changing and Houston needs a learning community which nourishes children's hungry minds and heals their energetic spirits. Please consider helping us make this possible. We appreciate and thank you in advance for your contribution!
Visit Thought Quotient's website
Why You Should go to the AERO Conference This Year
Modern brain research has made it clear that children are natural learners and do not need to be forced to learn. Nevertheless, traditional school systems seem to have been operating on the reverse theory-that they need to force children to learn. How did this happen? There are many theories: It could have been to train students to work in factories. It could have been to produce a populace that follows orders and doesn't make waves. But we do know that if children are forced to learn things that don't interest them that they gradually lose their innate ability to learn at lightning speed.
Since that school system was created there have also been a series of dissidents, people who felt that system was wrong and destructive. They tried to move us back to a learner-centered approach. These included such educational pioneers as Maria Montessori, Rudolph Steiner, John Dewey and A.S. Neill, founder of Summerhill School in England. When Neill's book about Summerhill was published in 1960 millions we sold. Thousands of small progressive, democratic and alternative schools were created. Gradually these ideas spread as people attempted to put them into place. Now there are many thousands of Montessori Schools, Steiner Schools and Deweyan progressive schools, thousands of public alternatives and charter schools and over two million homeschoolers.
The Alternative Education Resource Organization has been networking these learner-centered alternatives. It helps people find these schools for their children or teachers find a school in which to teach. It even has helped people start more than 100 new alternatives. Also, every year AERO has a networking conference. Suddenly, in our new political climate all of this has become more urgent "If learner-centered education is the answer, what is the question?"
Come to the AERO Conference and become part of the solution.
Alternative Education Resource Organization