QLC17 – An Interview with Sean Robinson

Interview with Sean Robinson
Interviewer: Oroni Hasan

Sean Robinson is an educator who has been involved in many motivating global projects and organizations. Creator of Connections-based Learning and co-founder of Connected Learning Partnerships, he has connected with educators around the world to advance technology and teaching in order to make the education system more meaningful. This year at the QLC, Sean Robinson will present “SDGs and You,” which will be about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and how every one of us can help achieve their goals. His conference will teach us how to make a difference by collaborating with other people to abolish poverty, establish equality, and promote peace.

What inspired you to achieve your goals and passions?

Years ago, I went to an international educational technology conference with many questions.  The questions were around apps, technological platforms, and ideas to incorporate technology in my teaching.  Though the conference had many workshops with many answers, I was more taken with the conference attendees.  Connecting with amazing educators from across the planet opened my eyes to new questions. They weren’t around good technology but meaningful teaching.  I went back to my school and began a pursuit of meaningfulness, allowing my students to be involved in meaningful projects, giving up control, allowing for reflection, autonomy, and collaboration.  When I did that, I saw two kinds of projects occurring: insular self-serving ones and connected other-serving ones. I have devoted my life to facilitating the latter.


What accomplishments or projects have you done in the past that relate to your interests?

Creating an approach to teaching that is based on connections is my life work. I’m just finishing a book on Connections-based Learning that outlines the approach and gives many examples as to how teachers can use CBL to increase meaningfulness in their teaching, which has caused me to take action on many initiatives. Whether it’s co-founding widespread platforms to help teachers connect in Connected Learning Partnerships or creating an atmosphere in my classroom to help students battle light property or water scarcity, I continue to press into the approach and help others to do the same.


How has presenting at the QLC or any other conferences benefited you?

Conferences, for me, are all about connecting with the people. The preparation for this conference has been amazing as I gather stories of students around the world working on the Sustainable Development Goals and connect with champions of gender equality.  But more so, I count it a privilege to be able to meet with students and educators from around the globe during the QLC.  What a great opportunity to mutually benefit each other’s work!


What effect on the audience do you hope to achieve after presenting at the QLC??

My desire is that my presentations inspire my attendees to make a difference. Whether it is working alongside some of the initiatives I share, creating their own initiative to help achieve the Global Goals, or making a change in lifestyle regarding gender equality, I hope to motivate my attendees to take further steps on the road to lasting change.


Why do you believe the topic you’re presenting is so important? Why does the audience need to know about your topic?

My topic causes us to look at the fundamental need of humanity. As the UN gathered both in 2000 and 2015, they agreed on what we really need to focus: goals that better the globe.  As I share stories of people like you and me making a difference on the Sustainable Development Goals around the world, we can be inspired to help them and to do the same.  Be prepared: I will beckon my attendees to take action.