Planetwalk Learning Journey Design Conference

Zhejiang Province, China
November 17-21

Welcome Message

"Thank you for being here."  When John Francis said his first words in over 17 years, this is what he said.  It was a recognition and appreciation of the people - friends and family - who had come to listen to what he had to say.  Listening is at the heart of why we're coming together for the Planetwalk Learning Journey Design Conference (PLJDC).  We hope to create an environment that fosters meaningful communication and collaboration, and also allows us to absorb the world around us.  This is how learning happens, and is what Planetwalking has to teach us.  Thank you for being here, and for taking the bold step in Planetwalking together with us.

This is just the next step.  John has been walking the planet for nearly 40 years, ever since giving up riding and driving in motorized vehicles in his 20s.  He has walked across the United States, the length of South America, across Cuba, along the southern coast of Australia and most recently, in China.  Everyone can learn a lot from his journey, and while we're here to take the next step it is also important to remember that it is neither the first nor the final step.  The Planetwalk Learning Journey doesn't have a single start nor destination.

Walking and learning together is what the PLJDC is all about.  It is what most excites those of us who have been planning and preparing for the PLJDC for the past several months.  At the end of every day, at the end of the week, and until the next time we get to walk and learn together, the simple act of walking together and letting the world reveal itself itself to us is what we'll cherish most.  Thank you, again, for being here and for walking with us.

The 'Where?' of learning. This incredibly important but often overlooked question will hopefully help us transform our learning spaces and practices.  Moving beyond the classroom and pushing our learning to the horizons will push us to think in new ways about both education and the environment.

Planetwalkers are designers of their own Learning Journey.  We are gathering together to listen, wonder, create and connect in an attempt to discover the best ways we can support other people, primarily youth in our communities, in joining us in designing their own unique Planetwalk Learning Journeys. Planetwalk sits in the midst of so many possibilities.  What will Planetwalk ultimately become? That's up to you.  So finally, thank you for being here.






Planetwalk Purpose & Process

Our Planetwalk Learning Journey carries us towards a deeper understanding of John Francis, the Planetwalker's, central message:

We Are the Environment

          To begin our shared exploration of this idea, let's listen to John 'Planetwalker' Francis tell the story of his own Planetwalk Learning Journey

(subtitles in Chinese available on

我们的星球漫步学习之旅让我们可以更深入地理解星球漫步者约翰弗朗西斯。关键信 息:

我们就是环境(We Are the Environment)

Like John's journey, our own learning journey helps us to ask our guiding question:

How can we use our learning journey to make ourselves, our communities and our planet better?



and we explore this idea and question by doing four things ...


Listen | Wonder | Create | Connect
倾听 | 好奇 | 创造 | 联系

Planetwalkers don't want technology to distract them from their purpose - they want their tools to make their learning journeys even more powerful.  To this end, we're seeking and creating

所谓 开放思维技术(OMT)

Open Mind Technology (OMT)

What is OMT?

This will be one of our many wonders throughout our time together and beyond.  Whether we're talking about heads up, hands free technologies like wearables (think Google Glass), cutting edge environmental monitoring devices, remote operated vehicles, playful and creative technologies like Makey-Makey, good ole' fashioned notebooks and pencils, or more traditional applications and hardware available on our smart phones or tablets, the focus during Planetwalk is not on the Technology ... it's on the Open Mind.  We do hope and expect to lead the way in developing a truly mobile platform for educational technology, but our plan is to make the technology disappear.  It shouldn't be a barrier to our exploration of the world; it should bring us closer to it, allowing us to ask questions, playfully and powerfully create and connect, and dig deeper into what is happening around us instead of what's happening our on screens.


What to Expect at PLJDC

Expect a lot of walking (or paddling - up to you).  It's good for you.  It's good for us.  It's good for the planet.

Check out this short thought- and walk- provoking TED talk from Nilofer Merchant:


看看这位 Nilofer Merchant的行动思考TED短片演讲吧

What else can you expect?

Participants. There will be between 15-25 people, from 6-10 schools and NGOs, gathered for the PLJDC.  Many more know of the conference and have contributed helpful insights and questions; and several have expressed interest in attending.  We are intentionally keeping the conference small and by invitation only to allow for the kind of meaningful communication, collaborating and connection that we believe is so important.

Schedule. A walking and paddling Conference is hard to schedule.  We need time and space in different ways than most other conferences.  You'll find the same challenge when planning for a Planetwalk with your students or in your home community.  The week will be full and intense, and also fun and intentionally sprinkled with opportunities for connecting socially and personal 'downtime'.  Our schedule will necessarily be somewhat flexible and will look slightly different for paddlers, but the basic outline looks like this:

Conference Opening - Monday, November 17 @ 9:30 am @ CIS Hangzhou

Walk & Paddle - Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Conference Sessions on Tongzhou Island - Monday to Friday, 4:00 to 9:30 pm

Conference Close - Friday, November 21 at 7:00 pm @ Coastlines Kayak Base, Tongzhou

A more detailed schedule will be shared 3-5 days before the Conference starts*

What to bring. People have a wide range of individual preferences in clothes, gear and technology.  This is meant as a basic guideline; you're best served as if planning for a week long outdoor adventure but we have no need for 'camping' gear like tents, sleeping bags, etc.  Our homestays will have beds with pillows, blankets and sheets.  They will also have towels, but having one of your own often comes in handy.  Clothes that work well in all weather conditions, including in rain and while paddling, are encouraged.  Lots of cotton is not.  A day pack is almost a necessity; you'll want something to carry your water,  snacks, technology, rain gear, etc. in on the walk each day.  For technology, light weight and highly portable is best, but we do have Makey Makeys (thank you Avenues!) which work best when connected to a laptop computer.  If you have portable chargers for your mobile technology please bring them along.

Temperatures and Weather Conditions. Check the link and pack accordingly.  Layers are always best, and something comfortable to walk in (athletic shoes and/or hiking boots recommended) are critical. We will, of course, have our health and safety as our number one priority.  The weather should be excellent for both walking and paddling, but we'll be sure to keep our eyes on any possible weather or pollution (Air quality) related hazards.

Walk and Paddle Difficulty Levels.  The first two days of the walk will involve a couple of short, but steep, uphill and downhill sections as we pass through the mountains surrounding West Lake in Hangzhou.  They will also cover shorter distances (10 km each day).  The last three days of the walk are very flat, but longer (almost 20 km each day).  The first day of the paddle is the shortest, on flat water at 1000 Island Lake for about 10-12 km.  The following four days the paddlers will travel however far they can get between 9 am and 3 pm, when they'll pull out and return to Tongzhou to meet up with the walkers.

Safety and Risk Management.  As we've already said, our health and safety is the most important thing.  This will also be true for any Planetwalk Learning Journey you help to plan in the future.  Every day, as part of our walk and paddle briefing, we'll address any safety concerns.  The biggest ones will be dehydration (drink lots of water!) and attending to traffic (on the roads and river).  We have an emergency transport vehicle on standby for both the walk and paddle, and an emergency response plan for any accidents.  If you have any particular health or safety concerns please don't hesitate to contact Dan Kinzer.

Accommodations and Meals.  We'll be staying with the wonderful families of Tongzhou island.  Everyone will have their own room, with several of each staying together in each house.  If you would like to stay in Hangzhou, or Tongzhou, before or after the PLJDC, please let us know and we'll help to arrange it. We'll enjoy breakfast every morning (Tues-Sat) at our homestay (at 7 am), lunch will either be packed or in a restaurant while walking/paddling, and dinner will be all together in the one restaurant on Tongzhou (delicious local food!).  Again, if you have any concerns or specific dietary requests and/or restrictions please contact Dan Kinzer.

Transportation.  Buses will take everyone to the start of their walk or paddle each day, provide a mid-way check point for walkers, and bring everyone back to Tongzhou in the afternoon.  We will arrange transport to/from airports and train stations for those traveling internationally.

Money.  All Conference related expenses, including your accommodations, 3 meals per day and transportation, are covered costs.  Anything outside of this (eg, snacks, souvenirs, other shopping, etc.) will be your personal responsibility.

and of course, The Unexpected.



会议开幕 11月17日9:30 a.m. 周一 在汉基杭州
徒步/划船 周一到周五,9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
桐洲岛会议 周一到周五,4:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
会议闭幕 11月21日7:00 p.m. 周五 桐洲海岸线皮划艇基地

需要带什么。每个人对于衣服、装备和技术的偏好都有所不同。所以下面这个只是基本的参考;如果你按照一周的户外探险来准备的话效果会很好,不过我们并不需要像帐篷睡袋这样 的露营装备。我们的寄宿家庭会有床和枕头,毯子和床单。他们也会提供毛巾,不过自己带 一个总是更方便的。最好带的衣服能适合各种天气,比如防雨防水。别带太多棉制品。日间 小包是必须有的;因为在白天行走的时候你会需要有东西装水、零食、技术产品、雨具等。
关于技术产品,以轻量便携为佳,但是我们也会带着Makey Makey(感谢Avenues!),它肯

如果你有任何健康或安全方面的特殊顾虑,请联系Dan Kinzer,不要犹豫。

住宿和餐饮。我们将住在桐洲岛上热情好客的居民家中。每位参与者都会有独立的房间居住,  可能会有几个人住在同一户人家。如果你希望在参与PLJDC活动前后在杭州或桐洲逗留, 请及时告知我们,我们将尽力为您安排住宿。早餐(周二至周六)设在居住的居民家(每天早晨7点开饭),午饭则会在徒步或划船途中的饭店解决或自带干粮,晚餐则是大家一起在 桐洲当地的餐馆共享美食!再次温馨提醒,如果你有任何饮食禁忌或者要求,请及时联系 Dan Kinzer.

动设有中间检查站,每天下午活动结束后将大家送回桐洲。对乘坐飞机或火车的活动参与者, 我们将提供接站服务。



Check out this map of our Planetline - the routes we'll explore on our learning journey together.

Our Planetline

The G0ogle Maps Engine below displays a detailed route for the PLJDC, the CIS Planetwalk: Hangzhou route from March 2014 and the November 2014 Planetpaddle.

This is the PLJDC Base location on Google Maps in case you want to further investigate this little corner of the world (highly encouraged).

What PLJDC Expects of You

What We're Wondering About

Here are just a few of the WONDERs we've been thinking about, but the WONDERs never end.  What else are you ready to WONDER about at the PLJDC?


More Planetwalk Inspiration

Thanks to our Partners

Your Conference Organizers

Comment Stream

3 years ago
3 years ago

I stumbled upon this on Pinterest and thought it was great inspiration for Planetwalk.

3 years ago
3 years ago
3 years ago

Those are degrees centigrade ... beautiful weather for paddling, walking and wondering!

2 months ago

cool conference