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The Junction of “Surprise” and “Ah-Ha”

What if school was primarily a place where students and teachers co-searched for surprises? We often find the best ideas, the most creative solutions, the profitable surprises, not in the expected, the well-trodden, the known, but in the outliers, the untested, and the unusual.  Maybe they have been passed over by others because they are partially [...]

Rapid Progress at Vista Innovation Design Academy (VIDA)

Is it possible for a school to make a rapid and dramatic shift away from the assembly line model of education? Is it possible in a public school setting with all of the normal demands, political pressures, and budget constraints? Is it possible in an underserved community and a traditionally underperforming school?  I have been keeping [...]

What Student Ownership of Learning Looks Like: A Remarkable Day at The Shipley School

What does student ownership of learning look like? How do even young students rapidly engage when given the freedom to ask expansive questions? Do students really need to start at the bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy before building to abstraction and synthesis? Do we even begin to tap the insights of students that would contribute richly [...]

Underperforming Ortiz MS Starting to Show Winning Breakthroughs!

Want to see how a school can go from 0-60 in a short period of time? Think you have obstacles that are difficult to overcome?  Read on! As my readers know, Julie Wilson invited me on to a team working with Ortiz Middle School in Santa Fe, NM, a recognized underperforming school with an extremely [...]

Is Dissonance An Enemy or Driver of Creative Problem Solving?

At the very core of learning, I believe, is the recognition that “I” have a problem I want to solve. Lacking that, we are engaging in exercises placed upon us by some external force, exercises in which we either have no stake or do not understand the stakes. For decades I have believed that at [...]

Follow Laura Fleming’s Imagination of Digital Learning

Her principal told librarian/technologist Laura Fleming "I don't care how you do it, but build a system for training Web 2.0 skills to the faculty".  The rest is history. Laura created a library of instruction and practice tools, and has now shared them with the world.  She purposefully holds the actual instruction videos to under [...]

New Look at Design 39 Campus; Come See for Yourself

Last year I told educators around the country that Design 39 Campus would be a destination not to be missed, and I was right.  While small private schools can more easily claim the mantle of 21st century progressivism, a large public school, in the state with some of the lowest per-student funding in the country [...]

All Saints Honors College Sets a Bar

I love working with students!  Yes, most of my work these days is with adult educators, but I am in my personal teaching wheelhouse with high school students. So I was truly honored to be included on the list of visiting scholars in the inaugural year of the Tad Bird Honors College at All Saints' [...]

Radical Shift: Students Own the Walls and Halls at Ortiz MS

"What does a transformed learning space look like? How can I show my teachers what student-owned learning entails?  Where can I send them?"  These are questions I hear from nearly every school CEO I visit who is seriously trying to evolve the system away from the traditional assembly line model of teacher/subject/routine-centric education. Here is [...]