What kids and teachers can do…ARE doing!

Some people collect stamps. Some collect rocks. People collect many things.

Me? I collect examples of the work that students CAN do.

Many people underestimate what children can do as “school work.” What if “school work” were more “real-world-work” sourced? It’s happening at so many innovative schools. It’s happening at Mount Vernon, where I am blessed to work.

Largely because of the work that we do at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School and the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation, I collect inspirations and examples of children doing “school work” that many might deem “adult work” for later in their lives.

This TED video from Cesar Harada is one of the best samples of “school work” that absolutely can be done by children. It’s worth your 10 minutes. And it’s worth you helping to make such work even more of a reality at the schools near you.


Related: Mount Vernon continues to drive for enhanced mashup of “real-world work” and “school work” with Council on Innovation 2015

Designing for wisdom – a case study and a set of challenges

Designing organizations – and schools – for wisdom. A fascinating case study full of provocations, encouragements, and challenges to us all.

“Richardo Semler: Radical wisdom for a company, a school, a life”

School 3.0: Partnering for Mutual Learning and Problem Solving – CDC and MVPS

For awhile, I’ve used the term “School 3.0.” When I do, a number of people ask me what I mean by that.

School 1.0: the “traditional” or industrial-age model of school where information transfer from teacher to student is the dominant and defining characteristic. Verbs such as “deliver” and “cover” are used a lot. The currency is grades on a 100-pt scale (in recent half century).

School 2.0: the “21st century movement” in schooling where some number of “Cs” dominate the conversation (communication, collaboration, creative thinking, etc.); information exchanges in two directions and phrases such as “student-centered” are heard frequently. Technology enables some pull-based education. School works to model more of how the world learns outside of school. The currency of school 2.0 leans much more towards learning, and SBG is at least practiced by several progressive thinkers, if not the entire faculty.

School 3.0: the next wave (hopefully) of school transformation. Learning is deeply contextual and relevant. PBL (with a capital P) dominates the mode of work as “schools” (placed-based collections of teacher-learners, student-learners, and parent-learners — more like schools of fish than mere school buildings) are partnered with community organizations, civic leadership, and for-profit and not-for-profit business to address real-world challenges and opportunities. Shifts thinking about school as merely “preparation” for something later and recognizes that people of all ages learn by doing and desire to be positive forces of change in their worlds. The currency is the stuff that matters — the challenges and opportunities for social and capitalistic improvement, betterment, and innovation.

Well, on Friday, August 22, 2014, I spent a full day in School 3.0

Mary Cantwell (@scitechyedu) was invited as the Director of the Center for Design Thinking at The Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation to facilitate two half-days of professional learning and implementation of design thinking with Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Particularly, Cantwell was asked to work with the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (@CDC_NCBDDD) through the Open Idea Lab.

Additionally, Mount Vernon’s Inaugural Innovation Diploma Cohort was also invited to co-facilitate and participate in the partnership to address three SHI (Strategic Health Initiatives): 1) pregnancy and safe Rx drug use, 2) ADHD overmedication versus behavior therapy, and 3) blood clotting. Director of the iDiploma Meghan Cureton (@MeghanCureton) and I collaborated with the twelve student learners (freshmen, sophomores, and juniors at #MVUpper) in the cohort. Also, colleagues James Campbell (@theRealJamCam) and T.J. Edwards (@TJEdwards62) rounded out the team of educators and agents of @MVIFI.

On Friday, “school” for us involved significant collaboration with three CDC SHI teams to employ design thinking to advance our understanding of and to address the strategic health initiatives that the CDC_NCBDDD focused on during its time in the Open Idea Lab that day. Teen agers and doctors and educators and research scientists were bound up together in SHI teams doing the work of learners, problem-solvers, professionals, engaged citizen leaders, design thinkers, difference makers, etc. Everyone brought strengths and limitations to the tables. Everyone drew on the contributions that others offered.

Progress was made Friday. On three SHI. And on School 3.0.

Read about more of the details in one or more of these posts by my colleagues – those young and old not as young:

“The tyranny of the curriculum” #TEDx @ThinkThankThunk

An extraordinary 17 minutes about the intersections of 1) our personal interests and passions, 2) the “interdisciplinarity” of life, and 3) the world as external audience looking for an improved world.

Well…no, that’s not exactly right. It’s really about widening and deepening the options of school so that “school” is more well aligned with what life beyond school demands of us and the leaders we need.

And Shawn wonderfully wants it to be ordinary. Not “extraordinary.”


HT @occam98 (THANK YOU!)

School 3.0


School 3.0