DAVID THORNBURG, Ph.D.
David Thornburg, Ph.D., is an award-winning futurist, author, and consultant whose clients range across the public and private sector in the United States and Brazil. His razor-sharp focus on the fast-paced world of modern computing and communication media, project-based learning, 21st century skills, and open-source software has placed him in constant demand as a keynote speaker and workshop leader for schools, foundations, and governments.
As the founder and director of global operations for the Thornburg Center, Thornburg conducts research and provides staff development in several areas. He helps clients to think intelligently about the future and is active in exploring ways that telecommunications and multimedia will change the face of learning at home and in the classroom.
Thornburg's educational philosophy is based on the idea that students learn best when they are constructors of their own knowledge. He also believes that students who are taught in ways that honor their learning styles and dominant intelligences retain the native engagement with learning with which they entered school. A central theme of his work is that we must prepare students for their future, not for our past.
In addition to his work at the state and local level, Thornburg is also involved at the federal level in helping to shape telecommunications and education policy for the benefit of all learners. He has shared his perspectives with policy makers in several countries.
Thornburg has written numerous books. His most recent book, STEM Education: From Sputnik to the 22nd Century (2010), explores the current problems we face, and then examines proven strategies that can be applied in the classroom to not only provide needed knowledge and skills, but also to engage students in the joy of working in these fields. His last book, When the Best is Free, explores the world of free open-source software in education, with special emphasis on tools for use by students. Reviewers have declared this to be the definitive book on the topic. His other books include: Campfires in Cyberspace; Brainstorms and Lightning Bolts: Thinking Skills for the 21st Century; Putting the Web to Work in Education; Education in the Communication Age; and Education, Technology and Paradigms of Change for the 21st Century.
In addition to his consulting, speaking, and writing, Thornburg also has served on several non-profit boards. He is the recipient of several awards for product design and is the recipient of the Golden and Platinum Disk awards from Computer Using Educators, Inc. for his contributions to the advancement of learning and learning technologies. In 1999 he was selected as one of twenty pioneers in the field of educational technology by ISTE, the premiere organization devoted to the advancement of technology in learning, and was named by Technology and Learning magazine as one of the top ten most influential people in the field of educational technology in the past twenty years.
Thornburg has been the subject of numerous magazine articles and has appeared on radio and television throughout North America. According to the magazine, Electronic Learning, he is one of the six most popular speakers in the area of educational technology.
David Thornburg splits his time between the United States and Brazil. His work in Brazil also is focused on education, and he has consulted for the federal secretary of education as well as for firms and educational institutions throughout that country.