If school is supposed to prepare students for real life, then why doesn’t it look more like real life?

If school is supposed to prepare students for real life,
then why doesn’t school look more like real life?

For more than a decade, this question has lived at the heart of my research and practice as a professional educator. While I worked at Unboundary, we created a Brain Food devoted to exploring this question.

A number of educators and school transformation agents connect to this question through an entire branch of educational practice known as “authentic learning.” At the end of January, #EdChat Radio featured the topic of authentic learning on an episode. And Dr. Brett Jacobsen, of Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation (where I work), recently interviewed Dr. Yong Zhao for his podcast “Design Movement,” and much of their conversation connects with this topic of authentic learning.

Given the habits formed by decades of industrial-age, delivery-based pedagogy, though, educators must explore and experiment with different structures in order to make room for more authentic learning – learning that is meant to serve a greater purpose than only a grade in a grade book and a future locker-clean-out session in late May or early June.

Exploring such new structures can be challenging for schools. In fact, some structures point to entirely different paradigms for schools – like “giving an education” rather than getting an education, taking a course, or whadya-get-on-that-test assessment.

Some school people imagine such paradigm shifts would lack structure – that it would be too free form, loosey-goosey, or soft-skills heavy. This is really a false set up for thinking about the structural-shift needs of schools in transformation. How “loosey-goosey, really, is your project work and real-world problem solving in your career and life?

As Tony Wagner says in Creating Innovators, it’s not a choice between structure and no structure to allow for more authentic learning. It’s a choice to build a different structure for School 3.0 – one that allows for student-learners to explore their passions and real-world purposes while engaged in challenges that exist in the world and yearn to be defined and solved. Structures that empower learners to engage in more authentic learning flows.

Creating Innovators - Structure

But how do educators make such shifts and create different structures? I believe one way we do this is to explore avenues and portals to empower students to engage in real-world problem solving. Instead of only organizing the curriculum – the track of learning – around subject-siloed disciplines, at least part of the curriculum could be organized around exploring and venturing into authentic, real-world problem solving as organizers of product-and-process-oriented work.

In my own life and work, I’ve explored opening such portals through #fsbl and #Synergy. Much of this work involves immersing oneself and other learners into the Innovator’s DNA traits – observe, question, experiment, network, and associate – through the methodology of observation journaling and curiosity-curated curriculum.

Of course, other ways exist to open those portals and explore into those worlds of authentic learning and real-life problem solving. Here are but a few inspirations and possible ways in…


Resources for engaging in real-life solution seeking:


Open IDEO is an open innovation platform for social good. We’re a global community that draws upon the optimism, inspiration, ideas and opinions of everyone to solve problems together.


NPR – All Tech Considered: Innovation

An exploration of interesting ideas that solve problems, introduce new experiences or even change our world.

Do Something

DoSomething.org is the country’s largest not-for-profit for young people and social change. We have 2,439,780 members (and counting!) who kick ass on causes they care about. Bullying. Animal cruelty. Homelessness. Cancer. The list goes on. DoSomething.org spearheads national campaigns so 13- to 25-year-olds can make an impact – without ever needing money, an adult, or a car. Over 2.4 million people took action through DoSomething.org in 2012.



Choose2Matter is a call to leadership and an accelerator to connect individuals and communities with a conscience. It combines technology, innovation and mentorship to solve problems that matter. It’s an important opportunity for business, brands, and communities to join forces in the causes and issues most important to those they lead and serve.

What has been inspired by students, has led to the official launch and creation ofCHOOSE2MATTER – a crowd sourced, social good community.


50 Problems in 50 Days

I’m on an adventure – to explore the limits of design’s ability to solve social problems, big and small. To do this I attempted to solve 50 problems in 50 daysusing design. I also spent time with 12 of Europe’s top design firms.

Peter Smart


InnoCentive is the global leader in crowdsourcing innovation problems to the world’s smartest people who compete to provide ideas and solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific, and technical challenges.


TED Prize

The TED Prize is awarded to an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change. By leveraging the TED community’s resources and investing $1 million dollars into a powerful idea, the TED Prize supports one wish to inspire the world.

Ideas for Ideas


Making reality a school. #IDreamASchool

If school is meant to prepare students for real life, then why doesn’t school look more like real life?

This is the primary question that has kept me research-busy for the past seven to ten years, at varying degrees. Of course, there are countless corollaries that spur me to sidebar explorations, integrated component searches and implementations, and related co-primary investigations. For example, during my middle-school principalship, I concentrated significant efforts to studying and orchestrating professional learning communities (PLCs) as a foundational structure and ethos for the way we worked. If the world at large is moving to more collaborative ways of working, then our educator workforce should operate in such paradigms and methods, too. (Of course, 25-years of research from public schools helped enormously!) By becoming a more formalized professional learning community, we blurred some of the lines between “school” and “real life,” and we enhanced the ways in which we worked as team problem solvers and educational designers – for the benefit of ourselves and our students. What’s more, we were able to empathize more genuinely about what we were asking students to do when we asked them to collaborate.

One of the most important and critical co-primary investigations in which I continue to search is How might we transform school to look more like real life?

As schools explore sustaining (tier 1 and tier 2) and disruptive (tier 3) innovations, one strong way to transform schools into more life-like analogues is to reconsider the traditional departmental structure. Typically, schools sub-divide into departments called “Math,” “Science,” “History,” “English,” etc. Curriculum tends to be categorized by these departments and divisions – by subject-area or topic. Often times, silos develop…sometimes intentionally, but more understandably in unintentional ways.

But what if we re-imagined curriculum to be more about the issues and challenges that we face? What if we had departments like…

  • the Department of Energy
  • the Department of Justice and Equity
  • the Department of Education
  • the Department of Health and Human Services
  • the Department of Environmental Sustainability

Liz Coleman’s call to reinvent liberal arts education

Through project-based and problem-based learning, students in K-12 education could engage genuine issues, concerns, opportunities and possibilities. Whereas the traditional departments – math, science, history, English, etc. – have been used to segregate the disciplines, with a newly devised departmental structure, the traditional subject areas would continue in importance and vitality, but they would do so as lenses co-ground into the same optic glass.

Imagine a Department of Energy in school. Student learners could explore and work in the fields of energy research and investigation, and they could employ mathematics and statistics as lenses through which to understand energy – math in context. They could hypothesize and experiment as genuine scientists working to discover the emerging, integrated sectors of biofuels, solar energies, and other non-fossil-dependent sources – science in context. They could research through lenses of historian, anthropologist, and sociologist, and they could write persuasive and expository pieces – humanities in context. They could examine the economics and psychology of energy consumption – interdisciplinary human studies in context. Design and visual prototyping could play an integrated role – industrial arts in context.

Context should inform content and cognition. And student learners deserve to gain practice with “the app for that.” We know that athletics require much practice, but the athletes regularly have opportunity to apply their skills and development to “real-life” settings called games. We know that musicians require much practice, but the instrumentalists regularly have opportunity to apply their skills and development to “real-life” concerts and performances. When do student-learners regularly have opportunity to apply their content learning and skill development? A test is not a game or concert. An essay for a teacher is not a game or concert. Contributing to a blog about experimental energy sources is more like playing in a game or concert. Designing alternative-fuel engines is more like playing a game or concert. Partnering with local businesses, NGOs, universities, and other co-creators of our energy future – such experience most certainly is comparable to playing in the games or concerts of real life. Surely, we don’t really believe that students should wait for application until they are finished with formal schooling. Surely, we can devise better responses to the age-old question, “When will I ever use this?” Student-learners could be using their imaginative, developing understanding now.

Compassion should also inform content and cognition. The world needs problem finders and solutions makers. Todays students care more deeply about the world than I think my generation cared when we were in elementary, middle, and high school. By engaging student-learners in real-life, problem-based work, we could essentially connect the millions of students like batteries in a series to light the solutions to some of our greatest challenges in society. Business and non-profit could become involved in more integrated ways with education so that a symbiosis of efforts would build self-reinforcing and sustaining capacities – innovators guiding future innovators for for a more dynamic and productive future.

I am not just theorizing and hypothesizing. The type of real-life schooling described above is already happening in many places. Kiran Bir Sethi’s Riverside School comes to mind. Bob Dillon’s Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School comes to mind. Project H Design comes to mind. Whitfield County Schools comes to mind. Geoff Mulgan’s Studio Schools come to mind. Projects at High Tech High and Partnerships at Science Leadership Academy come to mind. Even in my own personal experience, I co-piloted Synergy 8, a non-departmentalized, community-issues, problem-solving course for 8th graders. One group of four boys organized a job fair for residents of English Avenue and played a major role in helping people secure jobs. Other programs at Westminster, like the Summer Economics Institute, Philanthropy 101, Dr. Small’s Research course, and the Junior High Leadership Experience Advisory Program come to mind.


And just this week, I heard Brittany Wenger share in her TEDxAtlanta talk about her experience creating an artificial intelligence app to help more accurately diagnosis breast cancer. However, she did reveal that only about 10% of the project was supported as actual school work. The kind of work and contribution that Brittany Wenger is making could BE school.

Business leaders understand the inter-related, interdisciplinary nature of real-world problems and issues. Consider Michael Moreland’s explication on his SEEDR website:

No single discipline or sector can drive meaningful progress alone. To meet the most intractable challenges, we built SEEDR as a vehicle for next-level collaboration, building bridges among industry, philanthropy, government, and academia worldwide. We value wild multidisciplinary, cross-sectoral work and if you share our passion for global development and thirst for learning the languages of technologies, causes, and cultures, we want to work with you.

– http://seedrl3c.com/team

Does our world possess high-quality activists and efforts geared toward making the world a better place? Absolutely! Do these people come from our existing schools and educational institutions? Of course. However, I believe there is a realization gap. The type of interdisciplinary and cross-sector work that Moreland espouses above could be significantly enhanced with innovative thinking and implementation to transform schools into more “real-life” organizations. We could realize an amplification and acceleration of problem solving by activating our schools as more contributory blends of practitioner-based learning labs. With the proper attention to pedagogical and instructional master planning, I can imagine many scenarios in which content knowledge and cognitive accountability would only be enhanced. In other words, I challenge the typical rebuttal that students would loose content-knowledge attainment chances by working in the ways suggested above. Numerous researchers and practitioners are finding otherwise…especially as they focus more on what is learned and retained, instead of what is delivered and taught.

To summarize several of the points discussed earlier, and to introduce a few not detailed above, I believe that a number of advantages could come from re-organizing school departments in such ways that make school more like real life:

  • Student engagement would improve, as school studies became more relevant and contextual. Attendance issues could improve. In the current state of testing, assessment performance could rise, as shown by people such as Kiran Bir Sethi.
  • Testing could be re-balanced, even replaced in cases, with performance-based assessments that are more realistic and aligned with those performance assessments encountered in the “real world.”
  • The 21st century skills, particularly the 7 Cs, would be more purposefully and realistically integrated into the school day. The practice would better match the games and concerts.
  • Curriculum would move to curricula vitae – “the course of life” – as learning goals and objectives aligned more authentically with the challenges facing our societies and world.
  • For-profit business, government, and non-profit organizations – spokes of a wheel, in some ways – could be connected through the hub of education. Innovation could breed innovation as social entrepreneurship and education became more intertwined and interrelated.
  • Students could experience more giving and contribution as an eventual norm in schools, instead of school being so focused on what students get during their school years. Yet, students would also gain tremendously as they experienced more of a powerful mixture of cognition and affective domains.
  • The issues we face as a human race could be addressed in a solutions-based manner with amplified and accelerated attention from and with schools…schools working more in partnership than in precedents with real-world problem solvers.

Of course, such a move to organization around Departments of Energy and Departments of Justice and Equality could strike fear and trepidation in school administration and faculty and parents. Transitions and transformations could occur in a number of ways. Schools could invest more in master planning. Schools could experiment with a mini-test of such a department with those teachers, students, and parents who were interested and willing. Or wholesale changes could be bravely attempted. In fact, many of our new-school startups are exploring just such re-imagining and re-organizing.

What are your thoughts? Where are the opportunities? Where are the challenges? Do you know of more examples, exemplars, failed prototypes, and not-yet-realized possibilities? How might we think together on such multi-tier innovation in schools and education? I would appreciate your idea, links, questions, and insights. It’s going to take many of us working together to make reality a school.

[This post was cross-published on Connected Principals and Inquire Within on 9.28.12]

Why-What-How: Being Research-Practice Designers…I Dream a School

As I venture into my new office each day at Unboundary, I am greeted by these words displayed on a wall:

In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
– Eric Hoffer

And this admonition comes from a client workshop we hosted not long ago:

Look with no pre-conceived ideas – let go of wanting to be “the one who knows” which closes the possibility of discovering what you don’t know.

We face dramatic and profound changes in education and schooling, and we need to be working toward what we don’t yet know. In a recent blog post spurred by Diane Ravich’s question, “How would you welcome student teachers to the profession?,” Chris Thinnes responded:

I would say — to these students who have heard the ‘call’ and chosen to embrace the life of the ‘response’ — “Congratulations. You have entered the profession during a time that will be remembered as the most turbulent and transformative in the history of the institution. Once the tireless efforts of impassioned colleagues, educators and activists, have urged the national discourse on education to its apogee, you will help with your daily efforts to reframe a system’s return to its highest ideals: to prepare learners, rather than test takers; to foster citizenship, rather than competition; and to encourage dreamers, rather than drones.
– Chris Thinnes, How Would You Welcome Student Teachers to the Profession? by  on AUGUST 14, 2012

And, in my morning ritual of watching at least one TED talk a day, I viewed “A sense of humor about Afghanistan? Artist Aman Mojadidi shows how.”


In the talk, as he briefly yet deeply explored the dynamics of identity, Mojadidi ended this way:

But I do them because I have to, because the geography of self mandates it. That is my burden. What’s yours?

Doesn’t the “geography of self” mandate that we school people – we educators (from the Latin educare, which means to draw out that which is already there) – re-examine our identity and re-commit to our purpose? Many, if not most, people agree that the world is changing at a rapid pace. And as Aran Levasseur stated in his provocative “Does Our Current Education System Support Innovation?,”

The best schools throughout history prepared their students for the social and economic realities of their time.

How are we doing at preparing our students for a future that we can only imagine? Many are discussing the changes that schools must at least be contemplating, if not implementing, should we want to remain relevant leaders for our learners in this changing world – preparing our “students for the social and economic realities of their time” – not our time.

Are we learning as fast as the world is changing?

We educators owe it to the world to be the catalysts and models of learning, not simply deliverers of information that can now be accessed by ways and means that did not exist when our school system was developed in the industrial age.

My burden is to help reform this picture – school as information delivery system:

“A Modern Classroom” by David Lentz, purchased at iStock Photo

Several factors contribute to my strong feelings about the stereotypical picture of “school classroom.”

  1. About 95% of what we know about the brain, we have learned in the last twenty years. Yet many schools have not adjusted significantly. We know that we are out of balance when we compare rows-and-columns-of-desks-learning to the ways in which the brain works best.
  2. Our industrial-age school design was created when information was challenging to obtain. Schools were the clearinghouses for transference of information and knowledge. Classrooms were designed for information 1.0. Essentially, the teachers were radio towers to the students radio receivers. But we are now in a 2.0 and 3.0 world. Information can be accessed easily and ubiquitously. What to DO with information and knowledge, however, is at an all-time premium. What we CREATE and ENHANCE with our knowledge is more critical now. Rows and columns of desks, in which to receive information passively, are not the best means of CREATING, DOING, and ENHANCING.
  3. We should be coaching students through more real-world contexts in order to “Make Learning Whole” (David Perkins). Rows and columns of desks are not the best way to learn to “play the whole game,” to “play out of town,” or to “learn from the team.” (Or for that matter, rows and columns of desks are not the best way to engage the other four out of seven principles that Perkins espouses.)
  4. The world faces a great many challenges, and students today want to contribute to addressing and solving those challenges, problems, and issues. Despite the short-selling that some commit when it comes to young people, the youth of today care far more deeply about the world and its conditions than my generation cared when we were in school. We should be spending less time in rows and columns of desks so that our students can engage with the world and contribute to its improvements…with our guidance as professional educators. School could be more about giving and less about receiving. School could be more realSchool could be more authentic. School could enhance civic engagement by utilizing civic engagement.
  5. We are experiencing The Creativity Crisis. We will not solve this crisis by spending our time in schools seated in rows and columns of desks in the proportion of time in which we do so. We can – and should – teach for creativity…across the disciplines.
  6. Will our current proportion of time spent in desks help us reach the aspirations of…Howard Gardner, in 5 Minds for the Future; Daniel Pink, in A Whole New Mind; Bernie Trilling and Charles Fadel, in 21st Century Skills (and the list goes on)? They ALL implore us to concentrate more attention on…
    1. the Disciplined Mind, the Synthesizing Mind, the Creating Mind, the Respectful Mind, the Ethical Mind [Gardner];
    2. Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning [Pink];
    3. Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication and Collaboration (in addition to the 3 Rs of Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic). [Trilling and Fadel]
  7. We should “design for outcomes” (see the TED talk below – “Timothy Prestero: Design for people, not awards“). Are the outcomes we want for our students and learners best achieved by the rows-and-columns-of-desks preponderance?

Are we learning as fast as the world is changing?

How might we re-design school so that we can learn as fast as the world is changing? How might we re-design school so that we can address the seven issues above (and there are more issues than just these seven to address)?

Many assume that the core purpose of a school is to teach the students. What if we have that “not quite right?” Perhaps the core purpose of a school is to be a learning community – a place where we deeply understand learning. If it were so, then I believe that we would continue to educate students well…even better.

So, how might we re-purpose a school to be a learning community?

A First Step to Making a School a Learning Community

Teachers might reconsider their identity – an identity formed from over a hundred years of the rows-and-columns-of-desks stereotype. We teachers should re-invent ourselves to be better blends of researchers and practitioners.

Jennifer de Forest said it better than I can in her “Bridging the Reasearch-Practice Divide: A Call for School-Centered Research,” which appeared in the Spring 2010 edition of Independent School magazine.

Education researchers constantly bemoan teachers as resistant to implementing their findings. At the same time, teachers complain that education research is either too esoteric to be of any use in a real classroom or an exercise in proving the obvious. This persistent research-practice chasm is maintained by both the prosaic details of how and where we work, and by a more profound epistemological schism that cleaves researchers and practitioners into two separate worlds that tend to dismiss the legitimacy of each other’s wisdom. In the former, knowing must at least appear to be systematically built on data; in the latter, authority comes from the practical trial-and-error experience of doing.

This knowing-versus-doing divide is exacerbated by the fact that researchers and practitioners belong to their own organizations, attend separate conferences, read different publications, and, often, speak a different jargon. As a result, despite the efforts of an occasional intrepid translator who traverses these worlds, many good ideas on how to improve schooling stall at the research-practice border where they languish, unshared or forgotten. In addition, the border is littered with missed opportunities for research-practice partnerships that promise to turn good schools into vehicles for the greater good by making lessons from their practice public. Indeed, every school has its own ripe research questions waiting to be plucked for investigation.

This morning, while listening to Dan Pink interview Tom Peters, Pink asked Peters to explain “You are your calendar.” Peters essentially said that there was no sexy explanation. Bottom line – time is what we have, and we become what we spend our time doing. What if we built more research and experimentation time into the school workday? Educators could be both researchers and practitioners. Micro experiments and macro investigations could be occurring all the time.

Of course, we would have to prepare for such a rearrangement of time and work…

  1. Faculties must be provided time and space to develop research questions and processes, and administrators should work tirelessly to provide this time embedded into the school day. Learning is social, and people must be provided the opportunities and possibilities for working in teams. If I did anything right in my nine years as principal, it was merely to tear down the walls that were separating the faculty so that they could meet and work together during the school day.
  2. Faculties must be allowed to fail, as failure is a part of the genuine experimental process. There are few, if any, lab manuals for the type of educational research that I am advocating for in this post. We have to observe-research-make hypotheses-craft experiments-prototype-interatively improve-communicate, communicate, communicate.
  3. Schools must communicate transparently with parents about this approach to schooling – that action research will be built into the workday. It does not mean that our students are guinea pigs. In fact, our students are NOT our products. Our programs, pedagogies, and methods are our products, as well as our processes, and we need to be innovating, improving, and enhancing these approaches – through research and practice. Can anyone prove that our existing methods are the best that we got? If we are to remain unchanged, then the burden of proof should be on the current practitioners. If we are to learn, and grow, and improve, then we must experiment…with clear and inclusive communication with families.
  4. The school organizational model should be re-designed to be more network oriented than hierarchically oriented. I have been writing quite a bit about this lately. I have been researching and considering the possibilities for flattening schools and orchestrating conflict and using practices such as “Mutual Fun” at Rite Solutions. In his decades of research, Jim Collins has encouraged us all to move from “good to great” by doing such things as hedge-hogging, fly-wheeling, and concentrating on who. What if our hedgehog concept in schools was to be the research-practice centers for better education? What if we got the flywheels moving by connecting our best resources – our faculties? What if we concentrated on the who – getting our teachers educators networked?
  5. Schools should bake in the design-thinking process. Here are just “4 Lessons the Classroom Can Learn from the Design Studio.” If we want to learn as fast as the world is changing, we must prototype faster and use iterative failure to improve and enhance our designs. When most school timelines are annually based, we will not see the rate of change that we need. Our cycle must be more adaptable, more flexible, more agile. Design-thinking can help create interior time frames that are faster and quicker so that a year can see much more innovation and advancement in the school setting.

Are we learning as fast as the world is changing?

We could be. We should be. We can. Will we?

What’s In It for The Kids?

Imagine the “trickle down” that could happen with students if our faculty culture were re-oriented in these ways? Our students could utilize similar models and structures in order to explore, research, and improve the world in which they live. Most importantly, the school community could be immersed in processes that provide the frameworks and structures for the world that is coming – we would all be learning to observe, empathize, collaborate, hypothesize, experiment, prototype, revise, re-purpose, re-mix, design, meta-cognate,…so that we could map-make our future. It’s about equipping learners with the tools – the content and the skills – to be creational thinkers and citizen doers.

We should start with ourselves.

It’s about learning.


A piece of “what”: Take 15 minutes to read an article and watch a TED talk – if you care anything about creativity, discoverers, and school.

Questions may be the single most important thing about learning, about school, about nurturing curiosity. If we want creativity to flourish, then we must nurture curiosity in schools.

Is school nurturing questions? How might we experiment with “school” so that we develop the core of curiosity and questioning – of the students, teachers, parents, administrators alike?

Over the weekend, thanks to Zite, I read a fabulous article entitled The Creativity Crisis. It may be one of the most important articles I have ever read. I hesitate to write much on this blog post because I would rather readers spend the time reading the article. In the piece, Bronson and Merryman weave together educational psychology, neuroscience, project-based learning, human development…and hope. Hope bred from motivation which considers how we educate young people. What are we nurturing in young people by the way we are educating them? Do our hopes and needs match our means and habits?

Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day.Why, why, why—sometimes parents just wish it’d stop. Tragically, it does stop. By middle school they’ve pretty much stopped asking. It’s no coincidence that this same time is when student motivation and engagement plummet. They didn’t stop asking questions because they lost interest: it’s the other way around. They lost interest because they stopped asking questions.

– Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman in “The Creativity Crisis,” Newsweek, July 10, 2012, as found on The Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.html

How might we keep them asking questions! How might we reflect back to them that we are all creatives…all discoverers! We began as such. School should nurture and develop such – for us all.

Are we facilitating the development of new discoverers? How are we balancing time spent in desks and textbooks with time spent exploring, hypothesizing, designing, and experimenting? Are we out of balance in the ways that many schools are operating? Adam Savage, of Mythbusters, sheds some light on the wonders of science and exploration and discovery in his TED talk: “How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries” (and embedded below). How might we re-imagine and re-purpose time in school so that we create the space and atmospheres of exploration and discovery? How might we make school more about getting in the field…couldn’t we flip the field trip? Through whatever means, we must help students understand that they are the discoverers…that they can change the world.

What happens when you look at what the discoverers were thinking about when they made their discoveries it that you understand – they are not so different from us. We are all bags of meat and water. We all start with the same tools.

I love the idea that different branches of science are called fields of study. Most people think of science as a closed black box. In fact, it is an open field. And we are all explorers. The people that made these discoveries just thought a little bit harder about what they were looking at. And they were a little bit more curious. And their curiosity changed the way people thought about the world, and thus it changed the world. They changed the world.

And so can you.

– Adam Savage…6 min, 30 sec mark of 7 min, 30 sec talk

How are you helping to nurture questions, curiosity, exploration, and discovery? If you are not doing so, you are more aligned with the problems than with the solutions.

PROCESS POST: Starting to put the pieces together…

How might a school (and education, at large) become more agile, more adaptable on a larger scale and shorter time frame?

What if we explored recipes that combined ingredients of Collins’ Good to Great (the flywheel effect, “who” before “what,” and the hedgehog concept), Design Thinking and the Japanese concept of “kaizen” (continuous improvement through…Discovery, Interpretation, Ideation, Experimentation, Evolution), and Manuel Lima’s power of networks, which is closely related to Friedman’s flattened world?

Could we re-imagine and re-purpose so that school becomes more of a quickly evolving ecosystem that better integrates learners with real-time, real-life, contextual learning and a developing citizen skill-content set that readies learners for the present and future more than for a past that is rapidly fading?

To move from the industrial age to the information age to the creativity age, must we synergize processes that can better develop creational momentum?

[“A piece of ‘why,'” A piece of ‘what,'” and A piece of ‘how'” are strands of a series on why school needs to change, what about school needs to change, and how schools might navigate the change.]