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A Righetti educator recently became the first American high school teacher to give a presentation to the Royal Geographical Society since it was founded in 1830.

Dr. David Preston joined forces with Cal Poly Architecture Professor Mark Cabrinha and gave a lecture during the RGS Annual Meeting at the Imperial College in London on “Learning Networks: Accelerating Creativity through the Entanglement of Social Interaction, Constructed Artefacts and Dynamic Environments.” More than a thousand people attended the conference.

At ERHS, Dr. Preston uses the Open Source Learning model to engage students to innovate, collaborate, and build a network along the way. The OSL platform allows the students to create value beyond the classroom through the use of technology and social media.

“Digital social networks have become increasingly important to learners because they provide a place to interact that we no longer have in physical space,’’ Dr. Preston said. “In today’s world, the stakes are high. Learners, their families, and their schools are struggling to adapt.

Technology alone isn’t the answer, but it’s an increasingly important part of our culture, and our students are using it to create competitive advantages.’’

The joint presentation focused on OSL and how digital networks are changing the learning environment, creating a new sense of
geography, relationships and learning dimensions. The educators contend the physical environment and the virtual environment can be designed and optimized for collaboration, creativity, and achievement that weren’t possible before on the Internet.

The trip also provided future educational opportunities for Righetti and Cal Poly students. Dr. Preston and Professor Cabrinha have begun to collaborate with educators in England and other countries to create stories through writing, photography, music, architecture – something that is not possible in the “traditional isolated classroom environment”.

Dr. Preston believes the public interest in OSL model stems from the widespread hope that educators and learners can make more
effective use of the Internet to meet the needs of the next generation.

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