Fifteen years ago, I was asked by secondary school teacher, Richard Ford, to support his students in their creation of a conference for students. The students asked me to deliver a short ‘keynote’ to the student delegates.

I am, once again, surprised at the currency of the message – even 15 years later.


Minds Meeting Media, Keynote Address, Peter Skillen, April 25, 1995

What is the difference between information and knowledge?

Information is a collection of facts or data that is ‘out there’ – in the world.

Knowledge is different.  It isn’t out there. It’s in here.  Knowledge is something that you construct.  You build knowledge by making sense of the information that is out there.

Who is responsible for building that knowledge?

“Who is responsible for building that knowledge?”

Who is in charge of your learning?  Point at that person?  That’s right – you are!

One often thinks of schools or other institutions as having control over what and when you learn.  No – that is not their function. They are there for you to use.  They are there to support you, to nurture you, to serve you,  but you have to take control into your own hands.  You are in charge of your own learning.

Use your institutions – your schools, your teachers – to get what you want, what you need, what you deserve.

“Use your institutions – your schools, your teachers – to get what you want, what you need, what you deserve.”

There are many sources of information in your world – Internet resources, multimedia resources, TV, school, courses, other people, and so on.

But, you need to set your own learning goals and use every available resource to achieve those goals. Education is not something that happens to you – it’s not something that you get given to you in school.  An educated person is someone who is proactive and aggressive about learning.

I have said that you have a responsibility for your own learning.  In fact, you are not only responsible for your learning, but also for the learning of those in your community – your classroom or school.  You are part of a community of ‘knowledge builders’ – learners.  By working together to advance everybody’s knowledge – everybody wins.

“You are part of a community of ‘knowledge builders’ – learners.”

I congratulate those students who have taken the initiative to create this event.

I congratulate those teachers who have the wisdom and sense to support such initiative.

And I applaud those of you who are here to share your knowledge and work with your peers.

And I thank the Science Centre staff for having the courage to host this Minds Meeting Media conference.