The Weekly Newsletter of Educational Alternatives -
AERO Conference Preliminary Report

We just completed AERO's 26th Anniversary conference our 12th!  Many people thought it was our best ever. The array included more that 60 workshops , 8 keynotes, 5 documentaries, a dedicated Minecraft Server, and a classical  Indian  dance exhibition by a Nepalese dancer. People came from over 25 states five Canadian  provinces and ten countries.


Below you can find 5 mini-videos made by Bob Greenberg at the AERO conference, of Zoe Weill, Deborah Meier, Yaacov Hecht, Sugata Mitra, and Pat Farenga.


We actually have a few copies most of the keynotes and some of the workshops, as they were made on site at the conference. Soon we'll have complete sets to offer. For today we are just making available the Sugata Mitra/Yaacov Hecht dialog described below. 


For many people the hifghlight of the conference was a dialog between Sugata Mitra and Yaacov Hecht, appearing on the large screen as he beamed in from Korea. First Yaacov showed one of his amazing power points about why we need a completely new approach to education. Then Sugate reacted to that wth his own thoughts, follow by one of the most dynamic dialogs about education's future that we have ever seen! We have a DVD of the whole thing.


We're just beginning to get feedback from the participants. Keynoter Jeremy Stuart wrote: "Thanks so much for inviting me to attend the conference and screen Class Dismissed. I thought it went very well and got lots of good feedback. My family and I had a great time and were inspired by so many wonderful conversations. It was amazing to meet and listen to Sugata Mitra!"


You can also see an array of pictures of the conference below, as well as an article about the Mine Craft server, which we have decided to keep open until the next conference. Homeschoolers of schools can join it.


Buy the Yaakov/Mitra DVD here

Youtube videos
Robert Greenberg has been making short YouTube videos of educators around the world. He was at the AERO Conference and interviewed Sugata Mitra, Zoe Weil, Debbie Meier, Pat Farenga and Yaacov Hecht. He has made an AERO Playlist with the videos which you can view here.
Soon we will have complete packages of the DVDs of the keynotes and audio CDs of many of the workshops. 

See more Images here.

As you may have heard, this year the AERO Conference had a Minecraft server for people to play and build on. Everything went without a hitch and the amount of stuff the players built exceeded everyone's expectations!

Furthermore, due to the immense positive response we received we have decided to keep the AERO Server open until next conference! Then we will show off what has been build in the entire year between this conference and the next one. If you are interested in playing on the server or having your school use it email Wylie at for the server login information.

-Wylie Kuhn
Creative Director, AERO.

International Democratic Education Conference 2015 in New Zealand
Kyla Ryman (Special to AERO)

My whole trip began because of my interest in attending IDEC. The conference was held in Nelson, New Zealand. It was run by local families who are working to provide educational alternatives for their kids. This year, it was also co-created with the local M?ori P?, and many indigenous people were invited to share, including people from The Hopi Nation in Arizona, Nepal, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, etc. Young people were encouraged to participate in the conference, as well, and performed traditional songs, played music, and danced. Calvin, my 11 year old son, immediately made some friends and ran around for the duration of the weekend in the beautiful Founders Park, meeting me only for meals.


The indigenous influence became apparent immediately and truly set the tone for the conference, as well as shaped much of its content. We were welcomed into the marae, an elaborately carved community building, with a traditional M?ori ceremony. M?ori was always spoken first before translating into English, and the ceremony felt like being announced and welcomed into a deep cultural tradition. The elder announcing us stood facing the marae and began singing in M?ori to an elder man who stood at the entrance. They sang back and forth to each other as we entered, women first, and sat facing a large group who were already present. Eventually, each side lined up and we performed a greeting to each and every person. It was much like a wedding line- except you press your nose and forehead to the other person's and say Kia Ora. This greeting is called Hongi.

Read the rest here.
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Thank you for your ongoing support. With your help, we will make learner-centered alternatives available to everyone!


Jerry Mintz
Executive Director
Alternative Education Resource Organization

tensignsThe Ten Signs You Need to Find a Different Kind of Education for Your Child
Many parents don't realize that the education world has changed drastically since they were in school. Schools and class sizes used to be smaller, dropout rates lower, in-school violence almost unheard of, and teachers weren't terrified of showing affection to their students, or of discussing moral values. Of course, even then, school was far from perfect, but at least the teachers-and usually the principal-knew every student by name, something that is increasingly rare today.

Because our public school system has deteriorated considerably, many parents, teachers, and individuals have taken it upon themselves to create public and private alternatives to that system; and it is important for parents to know that they now have choices.

So how do you know that it's time to look for another educational approach for your child? Here are some of the signs:

1. Does your child say he or she hates school?

If so, something is probably wrong with the school. Children are natural learners, and when they're young, you can hardly stop them from learning. If your child says they hate school, listen to them.  

May 17th, 2015
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