June 13, 2011

Redefining School, Success

Category: Educational Practice
Be You Points of difference colorful art graphic

We’re a district InnovationLab in Loveland, Colorado, where students have crafted, and just completed year one, of a four-year plan of disruption to redefine school. Based on findings that learning at its best is voluntary, per passion/choice, and self-directed, we are working towards community as school.

After our experience this past year, we are thinking:

  • It’s prime time for some much needed detox from traditional assumptions.
  • The Web is offering a new space, new connections, new life, if we so choose. What Tech Wants is to set us free. It wants to let us get back to a culture of trust. It wants us to zoom out from tedius mathematical calculations and be mindful of the beauty and all encompassing fractal. It wants us to be mathematical thinkers again. It wants us to zoom in from our global awareness of developing countries and vast learnings from unlikely people and info to our bleeding local communities. It wants us to know each other again.
  • The best way to make the world a better place is to awaken indispensable people. This has been our vision and mission for the last two years. And the journey gets richer every day.
  • If we were to unleash people, if we were to free kids up to do work that matters, hard work, their art, and call that school, perhaps all the things we spend so much time and money on, health care, environmental issues, the budget (ie: are we perpetuating a money issue by focusing on it?) will simply dissolve.
  • So what is success? And more important, who decides? We believe a completely different take on success is in order. We believe in Jimi Hendrix’s famous quote: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power (or the fear of failure) the world will know peace.” () added. This would mean the death of an expert and a redefinition of currency. It would be a bloodless revolution. It would take a culture of trust. Huge shifts. Ridiculous even. Mostly about a new mindset. Yet, how can we not?
  • We know too much to not change up the way we spend our hours in the day. We know too much to not respectfully call into question standards and systems, and even recent changes that may have only the appearances of a better way. Ben Williamson’s question is spot on in School, Work and Play: “So how do we educate not just for playbor but in ways which challenge the more unethical practices that have come with the ‘businessing of everything?'”
  • This is a people agenda, a YOUth agenda. We are on the long tail of the upward exponential. But we’ve got great news. We’ve seen plenty of research. We’re at the far right of that long tail. People have been working on awakening souls in education for years. Let’s not fold to efficiency-oriented nay-sayers. They’re craving this as well. Let’s be bold. We’re at the tipping point. The choice is simply, how do we want to ride the ride: