What if you could check out a rabbit? #nxtchp2011

What if library was a verb? What if librarian was concierge or coach or therapist? What if second graders and seniors used the library to build a dinosaur…together? What if the library was made up of yurts or kitchen islands or secret passageways? What if the library was a social buzzing place? What if the library could be every child’s academic advisor? What if the library could be every person’s therapist? What if library was school lobby? What if library was school hallway? What if library was school?

What if you were asked to design an agile ecosystem of wonder, care, creation, and exchange for the modern learner – and for society – and call that ecosystem library…what would it be?

As I reflect on my weekend of what ifs and whys and hows and let’s, I am struck by how the simple design process (with inspiration from Abraham Lincoln and also from the art of improvisation) allowed for a group of librarians, teachers, students, administrators, designers, futurists, and architects to turn into true educational visionaries. I’m struck by our ability to listen, imagine, and create not only a vision for the future of the K-12 library but also the future of learning.

In the coming weeks and months, all of the work from the weekend will be posted in one way or another on the Reimagine: Ed – Next Chapter site and will also be tagged with the #nxtchp2011 hashtag on Twitter.  Things like this video by Brian, Rebecca and Bo on the Library as Kitchen Island “Flash Cart” prototype (a response to designing the unquiet library) as well as the presentation by the group who hacked this Starbucks cup and turned it into Library as Yurt prototype (a response to designing the library as the park of possibilities) will continue to spur this weekend’s RE:ED group and others toward unlocking the next chapter of the K-12 library.

But this week, today even, as I returned to my school and to my office which is (interestingly) housed in the central hub of Trinity which is the Media Center, I was certainly thinking of both process and product. Sure, the ideas from the three design challenges (especially the one I tinkered with all weekend: What must K-12 libraries do to spur continual innovation and to make libraries the places and spaces our learners crave going forward?) surfaced. Yeah, today I daydreamed about  prototypes and products that were imagined, discussed, debated, and sketched on whiteboard walls, post-it notes, and on the back of cocktail napkins.

But…what will most directly affect my work this week and in the months to come has so much more to do with process than product. And if  libraries = learning = life, then what I learned from this weekend’s process is applicable from today until way past the time when my school re-imagines library as both a noun and a verb.

If the words to the right are words that matter (and I believe they do),

I see how they could infuse my work (and my life)

and shape my outlook (or even my destination)…

So, what do I need to do to get there? How do I need to grow? What can I learn to do better? Well, to start…

#1: (Learn to) Say “Yes, and…” — I was challenged early in the weekend by Zac Chase who taught us a few rules of improv, all of which I need some practice with both as mindsets and as statements. Two of the mindsets we were encouraged to adopt during the weekend — “My idea is good, and I like your idea better” in addition to “Yes, and…” — certainly shaped the conversations and propelled our ideas to higher level of creativity and risk. Simply saying Yes+And and not Yes+But (or even Yes+Yet) was a challenge for me. And it’s something I need to work on. Sure, playing Devil’s Advocate has its time and place, but this weekend I learned how much that role can kill innovation. According to the RE:ED folks, the Yes+And mentality allows everyone to “embrace a growth mindset, build on each other’s ideas, and celebrate new viewpoints and roles.” Pretty important to not stifle those things by a silly three letter conjunction.

#2: (Learn to) Love Creative Abrasion — I have always appreciated Peter Senge’s idea of creative tension and this weekend I learned that the design process has the potential to turn that tension into something closer to creative abrasion…and that’s actually a good thing.  Something I learned from Jeff Sharpe, who truly was more of a sherpa than facilitator this weekend, has to do with failure. The thing about the cutting room floor, he described, is that there’s great stuff on the  floor. And usually that great stuff is a result of a lot of messy learning. There were moments on Saturday (many, in fact) where the process seemed stalled, backwards, and frustratingly counterproductive…and even if that wasn’t the goal, it was the point. Lots of us were trying and failing and there were a number of ideas left on the floor…and it was up to the forces of the collaborative group to move individuals (me being one) to try harder and fail better. At one moment late on Saturday afternoon, I was ready to check-out, to leave for a run, and return the next morning with energy and a rested mind. I’m thankful for the model of my friend and colleague who felt the same frustration and was committed to staying through the process. Late on Saturday afternoon, we didn’t know what we were doing but we knew we could do it. We knew it was possible and we just had to figure it out. Sitting in the backwater eddy of creative tension (according to Bo Adams) or the hydraulic of creative abrasion (according to yours truly) allowed for us as individuals and as a collective group to get to the high level of creative success for the remainder of the weekend. We certainly ended the weekend sprinting with reckless abandon, grinning ear to ear, as Christian Long so beautifully described in less than 140 characters.


#3: (Learn to) Think of Ideas as Currency — The push of the weekend, articulated by the RE:ED Leadership Team and Provocateurs time and time again, consistently centered on the value of ideas and ideation. On Sunday, one design group envisioned Library as Market/Bazaar and explicitly stated that ideas and curiosity were the currency in this place. Interestingly, throughout the weekend, this was certainly the case as ideas, both large and small, were most valuable and held in high regard. More and more, I saw that ideas beget ideas. I was challenged in my own thinking…in our schools, do we honor ideas as valuable currency? Do we give ideas time to marinate or even allow for the ideation process to take place — failure and all? As design groups, we were allowed to create the learning spaces where ideas flourished. We had freedom. Tables became idea walls, chairs became office supplies, and we could get up, eat, drink, and go to the bathroom at will. We did not have to wait a bell to tell us where to go and what to do and we were allowed to sit in the backwater eddy for as long as we wanted or needed. A phrase like “I have a really wacky idea,” was met with smiles and exclamations, “Awesome! Good! Let’s hear it!” Even a “What if you could check out a rabbit?” idea was met with wide smiles and an exclamation, “What IF you could check out a rabbit!”


This weekend was one that was full of YesAnds, Creative Abrasion, and Ideas. It was a weekend about library as both noun and verb. It was a weekend of what ifs and collective reimagining of the future.

It was a weekend about libraries…about learning….and about life. 

Thanks to the RE:ED team for the experience and for the inspiration.

What’s the next “What if?”


Personalizing Learning I: Theory and Reality

In my mind, the theory of personalizing learning for students is simple: Connect with children on an individual level to learn about them in as many ways as possible; create opportunities for them to learn in ways which meet their varied needs and styles; allow for ample learning experiences with divergent paths in terms of process and product; assess for learning and of learning; push children to realize their unique potential as learners. The reality of doing that in a classroom with real-live students is, in a word, difficult. But that’s the idea, right? Connect…create…allow…assess…push. With learning as the focus…not teaching.

Sir Ken Robinson seems to agree (and apparently so does HH the Dalai Lama). As SKR urges schools to adopt personalized learning in both the article and throughout his most recent book, The Element, I’m wondering about the reality of it. Just as Will Richardson was weighed down by the question Seth Godin posed yesterday in a post entitled “Back to the Wrong School” (“Are we going to applaud, push or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable and mediocre factory-workers?”), I’m similarly weighed down. This transformation that SKR urges is great in theory. But quite a challenge in the classroom (no matter how large or small), in a school, and of course in a district, city, state, or national system of education which Godin explains, “churn(s) out millions of of workers who are trained to do 1925 labor.”

So, what do we do about that? Because I agree with Will on this one…

To answer his question…and SKR’s call to transform (not reform) education, I am motivated by “what we — at Trinity — are doing this year.” Since the approval of Trinity’s Strategic Vision in May 2008, we have been working to make personalizing learning a reality. The reality of doing that, of course, has taken years and will continue for many years to come. At Trinity, we say that personalized learning is tailoring education in ways that fulfill the unique potential of each student. The goal of personalizing learning is to enhance every child’s ability to become a responsible, productive, and compassionate member of the expanding global community.  A key assumption is that the more a child knows about his or her learning, the more he or she will thrive as a learner in and out of school.

Our first step in this process of personalizing…this disrupting and transforming…was a switch in our foreign language curriculum and instructional methods. The second, and much larger step, is the development of a learning profile and portfolio (a PLP) for all of our students from the three-year-olds to the sixth graders. You can read more about Trinity’s approach to personalizing learning in a blog post written last year by our Head of School, Stephen Kennedy.

The cool thing that struck me as I participated in today’s faculty meetings “launching” Phase II of this process (Phase III being that we’re “all in” with each child having a PLP), is that we are disrupting in a way that, initially, seems so passive.  Today we talked about the power of observation. I wished we had coined it “active observation” because that’s just what it is. How should we observe to make us more aware of each child in our class? What methods might we employ to notice in a way that leads to greater understanding of how to personalize learning for the students in the classroom? This kind of observing is certainly not a passive process…and without a deep level understanding of this piece, the larger goal of actually personalizing learning would not, in my opinion, be realized.

It was a powerful beginning to this second phase. And a powerful reminder to me. It’s one thing to say that we should be personalizing learning. It’s another thing to actually commit to doing so. So often we want to rush to action. To move from theory to reality swiftly. To fix. To do. To hire. To fire. As I sat amongst my colleagues and listened to them push one another to think differently about observation, I felt as though disruption was happening. That mindsets were being shifted. That the reality of personalizing learning, at least within the walls of Trinity School, is closer than it was last year. And that’s a good thing.

Connecting Globally

If you haven’t bookmarked the “Great Quotes about Learning & Change” Flickr Group, then you should do so. Right now. It’s a great place to find provocative images and quotes to use in conversations, presentations, and in personal reflections as well.

The site really is that good. This image is one of 706 currently in the group. Cool, huh?

So, I ran across this image today which is a perfect representation of my thoughts and reflections this weekend. Thinking of my Trinity colleagues who will be welcoming children into their classrooms on Wednesday, I began to reflect on my three years of teaching sixth grade at Trinity.  What would I do differently if I were heading back to the sixth grade classroom this year? The short answer: I would make sure that my students realized that they were entering into a classroom situated in the year 2011. Not one from the past…not even one from 2010. Even when I had a 1:1 tablet computing environment, I’m not totally sure that my classroom was as 21st century-ized as it should have been. It’s that whole “technology must serve pedagogy not the other way around” thing. In fact, if I were trying to gain some inspiration about making my classrooms 2011 ready, I’d certainly spend some time reflecting on the five axioms of EduCon, the above quote being axiom #3.

  1. Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members.
  2. Our schools must be about co-creating — together with our students — the 21st Century Citizen.
  3. Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around.
  4. Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate.
  5. Learning can — and must — be networked.

So, with those reflections swirling, I decided that my first step would be to find a way to make my classroom a globally connected one. It’s something that fits with each axiom above. Without a classroom to directly influence, I decided to reach out to my Trinity colleagues with three projects which look incredibly promising for the elementary ages. Within a few hours, I had heard from a handful of teachers who were interested in jumping in. In fact, our entire first grade team will be taking part in the Global Read Aloud Project this fall.

I thought I’d share my email here (and yes, I was lazy about the links!):

Dear Teachers,

Are you interested in exploring how to further the Mission of Trinity School and assist your students in becoming responsible, compassionate, and productive members of the expanding global community? There are so many ways to open your classroom to classrooms all over the USA and the world….and there are a number of Trinity teachers who are already doing just that thing!

I wanted to let you know of a few projects that I have discovered that seem to be manageable, interesting, and connected to Trinity curriculum. If you are interested in finding another project, I’m happy to point you in the right direction. There are so many resources out there and so many great projects, engaged teachers, and cool classrooms! I have included the top three that I’ve seen recently. If you would like to talk in greater depth, please let me know! Also, Marsha and Kara would be more than happy to chat and assist as well! It’d be our dream that there are so many globally connected projects happening at Trinity that Kara, Marsha, and I had our hands full with supporting you and your classes!

To Connecting Globally!

1. The Global Read Aloud Project: This project begins on September 19 (and lasts until October 14) and is geared to students in 1st – 3rd Grade (who will be reading Flat Stanley books) OR to students in 4th – 6th (who will be reading Tuck Everlasting).

2. Teddy Bears Around the World: This project has no timeline or deadline…it is geared to students in the Threes, Pre-K, or K.

3. Community Connections Project: This project has a deadline of February 2012 but it seems like it will be ongoing throughout the 2011-12 school year. This project seems to fit students in K – 3rd grade.

edu180atl: the story begins…

Today’s the day we launch an exciting new project called edu180atl. A member of the edu180atl team, John Burk, wrote an excellent post about this project which was created to focus on stories of learning. You can read the entire post on his blog, Quantum Progress.

The project is edu180atl and the idea is simple: every school day this year, one resident of Atlanta—a student, teacher, parent, or community member—will post a photograph and a 250 word reflection based on the question: “What did you learn today?” These stories, told by kindergartners and college students, artists and mathematicians, and learners of all ages will hopefully help us to remember the the purpose of schools, the deep value of learning, and push us to find and share our own everyday stories of learning.

180 voices. 180 stories.

The mission of the edu180atl project is to nurture and encourage the spirits of those who love to learn, to connect learners across disciplines and settings, and to deepen the national conversation about education by enabling parents, students, and educators to share stories of what they are learning every day.

This project is hugely personal for me—I’ve been a part of it since the very beginning with a conversation on twitter during a very snowy week. I’ve worked on this project with an incredible cohort of passionate educators, and simply been amazed by the rich collaboration we’ve developed through working this amazing, multifaceted project. Truly this project has modeled the learning I wish for my students—connect with others, embrace challenges, design and prototype, learn from mistakes and try again. And already we have much to show for our efforts—just check out the incredible stories of learning from our April beta site.

I can’t wait to see how the story of this project will continue to unfold, and read all the stories of learning that it will highlight.

When will you share your story?

Lausanne Laptop Institute 2011

I’m looking forward to learning alongside some incredible people next week at Lausanne Laptop Institute. I’m even more excited to be attending the conference with six colleagues from Trinity, all of whom will be presenting at least one session. These educators are passionately curious about teaching, technology, and learning. For some, this is their first “educational technology” conference and their first time presenting to non-Trinity colleagues. I’m so proud to be attending #LI11 with such a dedicated group of educators, risk-takers, and learners! I’ve included the list of all Trinity presentations at #LI11 below.

Teachers Improve Education

Trinity School Educators @ Lausanne Laptop Institute 2011

Julia Kuipers, 5th and 6th Grade World Languages

When Technology Is the “Lead Teacher” on Monday, July 11th @ 9:45am in UM 102

Online learning and hybrid classrooms present new challenges for traditional teachers.  We must learn to compliment the technological advances with intentional teaching techniques.  In this session, we will focus on the importance of supporting online learning by leading students in reflection, monitoring progress, adjusting programs to benefit the learner, and providing alternatives for the students to increase their learning potential.

Jack Parrish (@jack_parrish), 5th

Online Book Clubs in an Elementary Classroom on Monday, July 11th @ 11:00am in UM 104

Wouldn’t it be powerful if each child in your classroom was given the opportunity to share a meaningful and thought-provoking comment during class discussions? This presentation will explore the use of blogs to upgrade traditional reading and writing instruction in an elementary setting. This shift from a teacher-centric to a student-centric model not only allows the student to direct his or her own learning, but also allows the teacher to see students in a different way.

Kara Koetter (@kkoetter), Instructional Technology (K – 5th Grade)

From Chic to Geek: The Importance of Building a PLN as a New Teacher on Monday, July 11th @ 1:15pm in T 220

This will be an exciting session geared towards new teachers. It will focus on new educators being thrown into the hectic world of teaching and being expected to keep up with the 21st century skills we are supposed to deliver to our students on a daily basis. It will be my testimonial of going from chic to geek in just a matter of months — from creating a professional learning network using Twitter to adding blogs to my RSS feed. Since I was new to teaching and technology, it was necessary for me to grasp its increasing importance in order to become a better educator.

Marsha Harris (@marshamac74), Instructional Technology (K – 5th Grade)

Wikis in the Classroom: Collaboration, Communication and Creation on Tuesday, July 12th @ 11:00am in UM 206

How can teachers and students collaborate in an online global environment? Why is a wiki an innovative and effective communication tool for my students, parents, and fellow teachers? How can creating content empower students and encourage them to join forces with others? Wikis in the Classroom will provide technology leaders and educators with concrete examples of effective uses of wikis along with answering and discussing the questions above. Join me in a journey to investigate the power of the wiki and how its use can impact teaching and learning in the classroom.

Megan Howard (@mmhoward), Director of Teaching and Learning

From Tradition to Innovation: One School‘s Personalized Approach to Online Instruction on Tuesday, July 12th @ 11:00am in Rodgers

What happens when an independent elementary school seriously evaluates the meaning of its mission statement, eliminates its current language program, and adopts an innovative (and disruptive?) approach to language instruction? In this session, participants will explore the promises and pitfalls of online learning. Discussion topics will include: teacher management of hybrid classrooms, student directed learning and assessment, metacognition, and program evaluation.

Kate Burton (@k8burton), 4th and 6th Grade Science

Just say ‘No!’ to PowerPoint on Tuesday, July 12th @ 1:15pm in T 204

Discover why classrooms, especially at the elementary level, should be utilizing presentation software other than PowerPoint.  We’ll discuss the benefits of having students use programs like HyperStudio or Share, which are better suited for the new (and non-linear) ways that students should be presenting information to one another. As educators, it is important that we activate multiple areas of students’ brains to aid in retention and deep learning of new information. Since teaching and presenting helps transfer information from short-term to long-term memory, come explore new ways to create presentations that go beyond PowerPoint.

Tag-riffic! Social Bookmarking for the Classroom on Tuesday, July 12th @ 2:30pm in T 204

Remember the good old days when changing computers meant a hassle moving all your favorite bookmarks?  Remember the good old days when you could only share websites with others by sending the link to a website in an email and your annotations of the website could only be included in the email?  Wait… you STILL do that?  Come discover the joys and benefits of social bookmarking.  We’ll explore Delicious and Diigo, discuss their uses in the classroom, and consider the brain-benefits of tagging websites.

Amanda Pool (@AmandaPWilson) , 1st

Photo Story in the Elementary Classroom on Tuesday, July 12th @ 2:30pm in UM 102

Photo Story for Windows is an amazing tool that can be used in a variety of ways in the elementary school classroom.  This program is not only easy to use for both teachers and students.  I will show participants many examples of how I have used Photo Story in my First Grade classroom.  I will then walk participants through the creation of their very own Photo Story using pictures, music, voice, and more! Photo Story is truly an invaluable way to capture students’ opinions and thoughts while incorporating technology at the same time.

Going to Sea

I appreciate how my (down-the-road) colleague and friend takes the time to not only notice but also reflect upon the small things. From his writing about an osprey’s nest to his sons’ ongoing learning adventures, Bo Adams uses http://boadams1.posterous.com as an “observation journal (think pad) of short posts and single images.”

Sweet summertime seems to afford me the opportunity to notice more, to reflect more, to read more, and certainly, to write more. My previous post, “Opening Doors,” is an example of what this added time allows me to do. I yearn for this mindset during the school months…to do more of the noticing, reflecting, reading, and writing in an open and transparent way would only make me “do better and be better.” Perhaps I am building my writing muscle. I hope that I’m establishing good habits this summer that will carry with me as the school year begins its fall-winter-spring march.

Either way, I thought this passage from Verghese’s Cutting for Stone merited a place in my own observation journal and think pad of sorts. It reminds me of something @fastwalker10, my friend and down-the-hall colleague, talk about a lot which is teaching instinct. It also gave me pause  (as I sat on the beach) and thought about the purpose(s) of schooling:

Sound Nursing Sense is more important than knowledge, though knowledge only enhances it. Sound Nursing sense is a quality that cannot be defined, yet is invaluable when present and noticeable when absent. To paraphrase Osler, a nurse with book knowledge is like a sailor at sea in a seaworthy vessel  but without a map, sextant, or compass. (Of course, the nurse without book knowledge has not gone to sea at all).

My wondering is this… all schools have missions. A school’s mission is incredibly ambitions and almost always speaks to the advancement of every single child in the school’s care. So with the creative tension (a la Senge and The Fifth Discipline) that comes when one places the current reality of a school in 2011 with its respective mission and/or vision, what happens? One would hope that we make our reality move toward our vision rather than the other way around. How do we change the things that need to change to ensure that the children in our care actually want to go to sea and are pushed out to sea in seaworthy vessels…and with maps, sextants, and compasses (if needed and desired)?

I think Verghese would remind us to tell the children in our care that “it’s okay…you can be you.” And then he would remind us that both knowledge and skills are important. And finally, he’d implore us to tell students that we’ve created a place where they are invited into “a world that wasn’t secret, but it was well hidden. (They) needed a guide. (They) had to know what to look for, but also how to look. (They) had to exert (them)self to see this world. But if (they) did, if (they) had that kind of curiosity, if (they) had an innate interest in the welfare of (their) fellow human beings, and if (they) went through that open door, a strange thing happened: (they)left (their) petty troubles on the threshold. It could be addictive.”


I want all of the

learners at Trinity

to be addicted

to “going to sea.”

Opening Doors

Garner Flowers Trees

“Megan, you can be you. It’s okay.”

I probably don’t remember the first time I heard those words. But I do remember the first time I remember hearing those words. I had just arrived home from ballet practice and was with my father, wearing a pink tutu and soccer cleats, practicing kicking a football through imaginary goal posts in the front yard of my childhood home. At some point mid-practice, a few neighborhood friends passed by on their bikes and I immediately felt self-conscious. My father, who undoubtedly recognized my discomfort, uttered those words and not only reassured me that it was okay, but in those seven simple words, he carefully honored my strengths, my passions, and my uniqueness.

Yesterday, I was reminded of this moment, a distant memory buried deep within the vast amount of childhood memories, while reading Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone. In what I suspect is a major turning point in Verghese’s novel, the narrator (Marion) gives voice to an important moment in his childhood — a moment which was certainly formative in terms of his strengths, his passions, and his uniqueness.

Looking back I realize Ghosh saved me when he called me to feel Demisse’s pulse. My mother was dead, and my father a ghost; increasingly I felt disconnected from Shiva and Helma, and guilty for feeling that way. Ghosh, in giving me the stethoscope, was saying, “Marion, you can be you. It’s okay.” He invited me to a world that wasn’t secret, but it was well hidden. You needed a guide. You had to know what to look for, but also how to look. You had to exert yourself to see this world. But if you did, if you had that kind of curiosity, if you had an innate interest in the welfare of your fellow human beings, and if you went through that open door, a strange thing happened: you left your petty troubles on the threshold. It could be addictive.

As educators, what can we learn from Marion’s words in Cutting for Stone?

First,  we must be able to convey to students that “you can be you…it’s okay.” Even though I am on vacation, I have loved reading the tweets and blog posts coming from Klingenstein’s Summer Institute for Early Career Teachers (#klingsi11). From the blog of Peyten Dobbs (@epdobbs), Superfluous Thoughts, you’d never guess that she was an early career teacher. In a recent post about honoring the uniqueness of every individual, she writes:

Irrespective of what I or others feel about homosexuality, gay marriage, or LGBT in general, the guiding principal of teaching is that I must validate all of my students. I must foster a safe place for them to learn in my classroom and in my school. This is true whether they are LGBT, straight, black, white, asian, female, male, atheist or religious, rich or poor.  My job is to help students foster their own identities, to know that they are respected, and to learn to respect others. (you can read the full post here)

Her post and tweets related to this issue caught the attention of a student from her school (who is also on summer vacation), who responded with a powerful comment conveyed in (impressively!) less than 140 characters:

Love Learning Tweet

It is essential that we establish an ethic of care in schools. Nel Noddings conveys in a bit more detail what @TaraWestminster’s tweet suggested. Noddings writes, “As we build an ethic on caring and as we examine education under its guidance, we shall see that the greatest obligation of educators, inside and outside formal schooling, is to nurture the ethical ideals of those with whom they come in contact.”

As educators, I firmly believe that we must provide the time and space to convey to students that “you can be you…it’s okay.”

A second takeaway from Marion’s words in Cutting for Stone is that we, as educators, must create a culture within our schools which honors transparency and collaboration in the learning process. We must be models. And we must recognize that for some (both adults and children), the need/importance for transparency and collaboration is not always so evident. After Marion is given the stethoscope, he remarks that Ghosh “invited me to a world that wasn’t secret, but it was well hidden. You needed a guide. You had to know what to look for, but also how to look. You had to exert yourself to see this world.” In my personal growth as a learner over the past two years, I have seen first-hand that the tools for learning are abundant (and those tools can be as technological as Twitter or as basic as those face-to-face conversations with friends and colleagues). Sometimes introduction to the tool is sufficient for furthering my learning. Sometimes I need more than an introduction. Sometimes I need an attentive and well-versed guide to take me through various steps of the learning process.

For Marion, the tool was the stethoscope. Ghosh was the guide who was willing to open the door to further learning opportunities (and for Marion, those learning opportunities were addictive). Certainly, both (the tools and the guiding process) are important, but we must always keep in mind the balance that Gardner references in the image at the top of this post. If it is true that “much of education today is monumentally ineffective.” And that “all too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.” Then how do we, as educators, strike a healthy balance?

For the adult learners, I believe that the first step is that we need to be as transparent and collaborative as we possibly can. Then, we need to inspire the learners in our care. I love what my @PrototypeCamp friends have to say:

learning advocates

First, let us open the door to allow students to understand that “it’s okay…you can be you.” Then, let us help them embrace learning (because their life does depend on it) by helping them become their own unapologetic learning advocates who will ultimately open doors for others and become addicted to opportunities for learning even if the absence of the tool or the guide.