Fusion, D2L’s annual user conference, is back—and this year, it’s personal. This July in Boston, we’re coming together for our first in-person conference since 2019, and I’m excited to see everyone, whether we’ll be meeting for the first time or for the first time in a long time.
Building relationships is one of the primary reasons we hold Fusion every year and it’s why we did so even when we could only gather remotely. Because building relationships helps us build so much more. It helps us build empathy, trust and a better future together.
I thought about this a lot in early 2020 as I watched educators and professionals around the world move their classrooms and corporate courses online in a matter of days. I thought about how important it was for people to be able to maintain relationships with their learners—a vital connection that we’re here to help create, foster and encourage.
As some of you know, both of my parents were teachers. Teaching is part of who I am and why I consider education and learning so vitally important. I believe in the power of education to change the life of any learner. And I also believe that the relationship students have with teachers can be a critical driver of success.
When we talk about personalized learning, sometimes it’s easy to focus too much on how a learner interacts moment-to-moment with a platform like D2L Brightspace or D2L Wave. It’s easy to mistake personalized learning for learning alone.
But making learning a solo activity is not the goal. It’s important for us to remember that technology is a tool—and that it’s the educators who help make technology meaningful. They create content and curricula, greet and guide, support and motivate their students every day. Technology may be an important tool, but it’s educators who foster collaboration, provide feedback, and adapt the learning journey for each person. They’re the ones who’ve always made personalized learning personal.
One of my top goals when we meet at Fusion in July will be to reinforce the power that education has to create and unlock human potential. At the same time, I also plan to focus on how its power is rooted in those vital human relationships—the bonds we create with people as we learn, whether it’s as young children or young adults, or as we move through adulthood. Because we never stop learning. And this means we never stop building relationships.
I hope you’ll join us at Fusion, where together, we’ll keep thinking about how we can do more to foster learner potential at every age—whether at school or at work—and how to support the people who help make it happen. Together, we can continue to find ways to help build critical human connections that unlock the power of learning.
See you in Boston!
John founded D2L in 1999, at the age of twenty-two, while attending the University of Waterloo. D2L is a global software company that believes learning is the foundation upon which all progress and achievement rests.
A strong believer in community involvement, John devotes both his personal and business efforts to supporting young entrepreneurs who are developing and applying technology to improve society worldwide.
He was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Member (Entrepreneurs’ Circle) of the Business Council of Canada, Business Higher Education Roundtable, Past Chair of the Board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School.
John was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Ontario for Software and Technology), Young Alumni Achievement Medal from University of Waterloo, and Intrepid Entrepreneur of the Year in Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.
John graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in Management Sciences.
LinkedIn: John Baker
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