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Scaling Trust: A ∆-Up to Change-Up

The ALC educational model is emergent, meaning it is constantly “coming into being”. Just like people, especially young people. When you build a framework for something that is supposed to serve people, by nature, it needs to be emergent. We’re just starting to realize this in our organizational, management, and general business practices. ALC is moving this idea forward in the “K-12” education world.

A fixed or static framework usually comes with a set of tools and practices that can be adopted. An emergent model has tools and practices that are being adapted. One letter, big difference.

One of the practices we use in an ALC is called Change-Up (∆-Up) meeting. When first started this practice we had the meeting combined with our other weekly meeting, Set-the-Week. At the ALC in NYC, where these practices were first used, we quickly realized the two meetings had very different purposes and it would be better to have one at the beginning of a weekly sprint and the other towards the end. We adapted.

Change-Up meeting uses a tool we call the “Community Mastery Board” or CMB. The CMB makes visible our awareness of things that are working and not working in our community. It also displays the process we use for creating, implementing, practicing, and mastering community agreements and cultural norms.

 

AWARENESS –» IMPLEMENTED –» PRACTICING –» MASTERY
 

 

 

 

 

Later, we realized there were more distinctions needed within Practicing, as we often have to practice things for a while before mastering them. Thus, we added three levels within Practicing to help mark how well we were doing with each agreement. We made another adaptation based on the needs of the community, rather than just relying on the tool as is.

Originally, the meeting would involve the entire community (all students and facilitators). We would start with all of the items in Awareness and try to come up with solutions to implement, then work our way through the rest of the processes from there (moving effectively implemented items into Practicing, and checking in on how well we were doing with the items already in Practicing).

Recently, at ALC Mosaic (Charlotte, NC) @nancy suggested significant adaptation to the ∆-Up meeting process that I’m particularly excited about for a few different reasons. The shift mostly came out of a need to keep meetings short. As the school continued to grow in size, it made it challenging for everyone to participate without having the meetings drag on way too long. To address this, we started taking the items in Awareness and self-organizing in small groups around our interest/desire to address each of the items. For example: there may be three cards in the Awareness at the beginning of the meeting that say:

  • “I’m aware that there is less conflict and more joy at school when we spend time playing as big group”
  • “I’m aware that there are stickers on fruit scraps being put into the compost bin”
  • “I’m aware there are often groups of people meeting to do a class or workshop in the Quiet Room, which makes it not very quiet”

We read these three items aloud and mark a spot in the room where each discussion will take place. Everyone chooses the topic that is most interesting or important to them. We set a timer and give ourselves ten minutes to come up with solutions that we can implement for the next week to address each of these “awarenesses”.

Then we come back as one group and the facilitator gets a report-back from each small group. The goal is for each group to have a proposed solution to implement. We check each solution with the larger group to make sure there aren’t any major problems with it or significant logistical issues that were overlooked, but the default is to accept each small group’s proposed solution and agree to try it out as a community for the next week. From there, we can alter and iterate it based on our experiences.

Scaling Tools & Practices
Breaking into smaller group discussions during ∆-Up meeting was an awesome example of scaling our tools and practices. We did this once before when we created Spawn Points (small groups of students and a facilitator), which was a change from having the entire school start the day together declaring intentions. Both of these adaptations were meant to meet the needs of a growing community. I’m stoked about the possibility of having an effective ∆-Up meeting with 50 or 60 kids and it still keeping it under 30 minutes.

Scaling Trust
Even more exciting to me than the practical aspect of this adaptation is the fact that it also scales trust. Trust is the most fundamental aspect of the ALC social DNA. Trust is the water we swim in and the soil from which we grow. Our commitment to trust allows us to create an environment where students and facilitators can feel safe, autonomous, and aligned.

TrustGraph-01

By self-organizing around the topical issues we face as a community, we are having to choose the conversation that is of most significance to us. Of course, this choice may be difficult. I may really want to share my thoughts and ideas about every topic being discussed. Within this constraint we have to prioritize and limit our focus, which is consistent with many of the other practices we have in an ALC (Kanban, daily intentions, etc.) and an extremely useful skill to develop early in one’s life.

By choosing to go to the discussion about stickers on fruit scraps in the compost bin, I’m actively trusting my community to effectively address the other topics that also affect me. Of course, in an emergent framework, no decision must be final. The key is that we collectively agree to practice the newly implemented solution so we can actually determine if it is effective or not. Usually there are aspects to our solutions that work and some that don’t. If we see it as a process of refinement that we are all participating in we can all become powerful collaborators and creators of culture.

Power: Democratic VS Agile
For kids to be (and become) self-empowered, they need to actually experience agency in their lives. If we want our children to be able to shape and change the world as adults, they need to be in collaborative communities that respect them as creative and powerful individuals.

A political democracy attempts to construct a system where the individuals and the group can be empowered, however there is a significant limitation within this framework. In a political system, power is viewed is a scarce commodity; if someone has more power then someone else must have less. Of course we all want to be powerful, so within this framework rules are created to limit and distribute the power. The emphasis is placed on adhering to governance and following a process as a way of protecting each other from power, as there is a fear of its accumulation. Essentially, within this type of framework there is a lack of trust.

There may be a “democratic” community that trusts individuals to lead their own lives and make decisions for themselves, but when it comes to the collective, trust is traded for fear. I’m not naively assuming that we can or should expect everyone to agree all of the time, or even most of the time. But, there’s a fundamental difference between being in agreement and being in alignment. Agreements are many and they come and go, whereas alignment speaks to the big-picture trajectory — the direction we are going and the space we are holding. I suppose a group of individuals could be in alignment about their distrust of the collective, but I don’t think that supports collaboration, collective intelligence, or anything truly revolutionary.

In an Agile environment we view power as way of experiencing oneself. Power is abundant. I can have more and you can have more — and, even better, together we can generate more than if we acted alone. The emphasis is placed on what is emerging from the present as a way of understanding who we are and what we need to be even more powerful, both as individuals and a collective.

This may sound obvious, but there is a significant difference in the way a community functions depending on how it views power and whether or not there is a cultural commitment to build trust into its relationships. If there is a commitment to choosing trust over fear and the emphasis is on emergence instead of governance, then we can create a powerful spiral where the individual’s gifts feed the collective, and the the collective continues to feed the individual.

Power grows in the soil of trust.

ALC Membership: Sharing the vision, spreading the model, and supporting startups

When I decided to join @artbrock’s Emerging Leader Labs to develop the culture, vision, and brand of the ALC project, I brought with me a strong motivation to address the various challenges I experienced working in the alternative education world. I’ve written about this before so I won’t go into too much detail – but in order explain the new ALC Membership model, laying some of this context is important.

There are many gaps that the ALC model and vision aims to address, but I want to focus on the following, as they are the ones most directly related to ALC Membership.

  • Most alternative schools choose an identity by clinging to a static, dogmatic, and top-down model.
  • Whether adopting a preexisting model (Waldorf, Montessori, Sudbury(?), etc.) or “making up as we go along” there is a growing number of change-makers generating disparate investments, leaving them disconnected and generally isolated from one another.
  • An incredible amount of wisdom, experience, and practical tools have been acquired through alternative school ventures but very little of it has been used to connect and inform future projects or amplify the voices in this movement towards a new education paradigm.

Don’t Get Montessori’d

To be truly agile means to always be evolving and iterating your tools, practices, and support structures – informed by collective wisdom and most-recent experiences, always with the aim to best serve the people in your group (community, team, family, etc).

Within a school or an organized learning environment this represents the fundamental distinction between a progressive school and self-directed learning community. Progressive schools go as far as they can to use new ideas and concepts to inform the curriculum and teaching practices, but they still hold on to the notion that curriculum (whether content or processes) should be created, curated, and controlled by the teachers. Explicit consent from students (let alone direct collaboration) is almost always missing, which means the actual educational experience and medium is not one of self-creation or self-direction.

From a larger scale, or meta-level (if you will), being agile means the educational model is itself a living thing – it emerges from the direct engagement, experiences, and inventiveness of the facilitators, students, and parents. To be an effective facilitator in an ALC you don’t get trained by learning a bunch of theories of development and static practices to go and apply to your school. Instead, you enter into a cultural experience and a practice of creation and collaboration with others (fellow facilitators, parents, and especially students) – you learn how to cultivate a culture that fosters self-empowerment and collective intelligence. There’s never a single right way to do this, and so this work is inherently creative and cannot be done by a dedication to any one person’s theories or books, whether from 1900 or 2015.

Creative Coherence: Autonomy and Alignment

The number of people choosing to homeschool in the US and around the world continues to increase significantly each year and so does the number of passionate and motivated individuals taking the leap to create a school or co-op for their local community. How many more would do so if there were tools, resources, and experienced people to support them? How many more than that would take the leap if the collective actions of everyone in this movement could be leveraged to help legitimize their choice to do so?

Dissatisfaction with traditional schooling comes in many flavors, but even when you drill down into the world of real learner-led, trust-based approaches you find terms and concepts like unschooling, self-directed learning, democratic education, free school, and many more. From those broad strokes people try to create a brand to distinguish their project and make it appealing enough for people to enroll their children (Insert: “The Green School”, ‘Organic Learning Community”, “ Open Road” and other random names I just made up that are probably actually names of real schools). They also clammer to find a practical approach to developing a healthy culture so that their learning community actually functions as intended. Most of them really struggle with that.

Part of the reason the ALC model has been so well received by this demographic of educators and social change-makers has been the tools we’ve adapted and invented to support healthy culture creation and effective organizational management. As we are beginning to see a quantum leap in growth on the horizon, it’s becoming clear that there is something infectiously attractive about offering folks an opportunity for their efforts toward starting a school or co-op to be directly contributing to a bigger movement. It’s critical that we continue to scale autonomy and alignment equally through this next stage.

ALC Membership

So far, our network has grown out of the work of a handful of facilitators who either co-founded the ALC model or were directly involved in our initial Agile Learning Facilitator (ALF) trainings. More recently, a lot of groups have reached out to us and have begun using our tools and practices in their own learning communities/startup projects – a trend that should only increase now that we’ve shared the first version of our StarterKit. Because the ALC project is rooted in collaboration and the model is evolved by its practitioners, we have to find a way to balance our desire to spread the model wide and far with our need to keep a tight-knit and highly-functioning collaborative facilitator community.

To do so, we’ve structured the new membership model so that our current core team can continue to work on our ALCs, while a few of us provide coaching and support for a whole new layer of engagement. This approach sets us up to support new startup projects that are wanting to begin collaborating with us, access useful resources, and through the process discern if the ALC brand, vision, and network is right for them longterm.

Folks using our tools, ALC Startups, and “Official” ALCs

Through this membership process we are further clarifying the various circles of engagement that exist within the ALC organism – we’re creating some terms that carry these distinctions in their definitions. The terminology and the membranes they represent will certainly change a bit over time, both in our effort to clarify them and in our need to adapt to the continuous growth we expect. For now, we are looking at three different circles of engagement with ALC from the organization/group level as it relates to the new ALC Membership model.

The outer layer is comprised of “folks using our tools”. These may be schools, co-ops, camps, social non-profits, etc. that have their own brand established and a mission or pedagogical approach that may not be fully aligned with ALC, but comes pretty close. These folks have found our practical tools to be useful and have begun implementing some of them in their communities or organizations. The engagement with this layer probably stops there – they’re not on an intentional path to directly collaborate with us, but have established some relationship to ALC and find it useful to have the association made explicit. ALC Members that have self-selected this distinction get added to our map and can still access the same additional resources as other ALC Members.

The next layer is is similar to the one before it, except these organizations are considered ALC Startups because they either want to explore if the ALC model is for them, or they’re already clear that it is and want to start forging a path towards higher levels of engagement. ALC Startups will get a lot of support and attention from a small working group of network holders who have a variety of skills and expertise through online coaching sessions. We also provide ALC Startups with access to ALC.network – our online buddypress platform that hosts individual blogs, schools websites, and connects users through a twitter-like activity stream. Our aim is provide as much support as we can to new startup projects while introducing them to our network in these basic ways – we share our online tools and collective experience with daily facilitation and organizational enterprising.

The goal is to be able to invite a whole new group of ALC Startups into the next layer of engagement after working together in this capacity over the course of the year. We still have some decisions to make about the membranes for “official” ALCs, but it will certainly be built around participation in ALF trainings and group peer-review processes that we’ve already begun implementing. At this point we are preparing ourselves for several ALF Summer programs in multiple locations for 2016.

Last year we started to get a little taste of inter-ALC student trips and exchanges. Another huge part of our vision in having a global network of ALCs is the ability for students, facilitators, and families to travel around the world and spend time in other ALC communities. A relevant education in today’s world has to involve direct exposure to many different cultures and we are stoked to have begun this process with just a handful of ALCs last year.

Learn about ALC Membership here.

Curious? Download our StarterKit for free.

ALF Summer: Designing a New Education System

 

I spend a good bit of my time handling backend administrative logistics for the ALC in NYC and ALC Mosaic in Charlotte, NC. Though there’s a sizable amount of mundane tasks involved in this work, it is exciting to be learning so much about managing a nonprofit business. I’m getting to implement people-centered, agile methodologies across two organizations while employing a lot of my strengths like rational thinking, strategic planning, interpersonal dynamics/communication, and a little bit of math.

Administrative work, managing an organization, and routinely cleaning toilet seats that young boys struggle not to piss all over is absolutely necessary work to maintain the forward progress we have generated thus far. This has been my piece in supporting two of the current ALC communities that we already have up and running.

When I’m not doing this work, I’m usually thinking about ALF Summer, or talking to someone who is interested in attending. I’m stoked on ALF Summer because I see how it encompasses so many things that are essential in our efforts to design a new, relevant, and generative education system. Plus it is just a ton of fun!

From the website:

“ALF Summer is a four-week immersive experience that serves as a co-creative training and incubator for the Agile Learning Centers network.ALC coherence holders and experienced facilitators come together with parents, new facilitators, and startup groups to support the continuous improvement of our work, the ALC model, and the next stage of ALC network growth.”

That’s the most succinct way we could describe it. This blog is an extrapolation of sorts.

ALF Summer accomplishes many, many things for the ALC project and for the individuals who participate — I see it as absolutely necessary in our work to build a new education system based on collaboration.

Last July we piloted the concept with great success. We were able to bring all of the momentum from that first year to birth a living network of ALCs and a connected facilitator community. For three weeks we created our own Agile Learning Center, where we acted as both the teachers and the students — sharing ideas, using and evolving tools, and generating significant results. We even squeezed a peer-review and self-assessment practice in during the final week. This next ALF Summer will be a month long because we saw how valuable another week would be to the process.

A lot of people are reaching out with interest in the ALC model and in attending ALF Summer. Most of them are pointing to the difficulty in making time for a four-week program. I totally understand this, as rearranging your life to be able to spend a month away from home, friends, family, and other responsibilities is no easy feat. Because I’ve heard from so many people who are thirsty for more but can’t make this investment, I’m motivated to start planning an ALC Conference for 2016. But that’s another topic, another project.

ALF Summer is an investment and a significant one at that. No doubt about it and there’s really no other way around it — it has to be. There’s so many theories, pedagogies, curriculums, teaching aids, tools and strategies out there already, but a relevant education system isn’t going to magically emerge from implementing a few new (or more realistically, old) tricks.

 

So why is a four-week intensive necessary and what does it accomplish?

When I first moved to New York City in 2009 to begin working in a self-directed learning community, I was excited, fascinated, and naive — pretty much everything you would expect. My job title was officially known as “staff member”, and though it wasn’t explicit it was implicitly known that my responsibility was to work with the students.

Well, what does that look like? What does “teaching” or being an adult in a self-directed learning environment actually entail? Did anyone know? Not really.

Over the next few years I was able to meet a lot of other people from around the world working in similar independent schools who were also pretty unclear about what the they were supposed to be doing, or what it looked like to be an effective and powerful adult in this kind of learning environment. This makes total sense since it is extremely rare for the adults doing this work to have experienced growing up in a self-directed learning community; there’s been very little modeling of how this works.

How do you create and maintain a healthy and effective culture of self-direction, passion-driven learning, and personal responsibility for kids? It wasn’t until I participated Emerging Leader Labs that I fully realized the answer to that question. You have to do it yourself, first.

 

Relevant training for new facilitators looking to work directly with children in a self-directed learning community.

Those who come to ALF Summer because they want to work with kids in an ALC are getting the only kind of training there is for that. It’s learning by doing. Whatever we want our schools to look like for our students we have to be able to generate for ourselves. “Training” in this context means embodying the cultural distinctions that we hold sacred, engaging directly with tools and practices that support an intentional culture, and experiencing yourself as an autonomous, collaborative, and generative learner.*

*Once you stop consuming curriculum nostrums and pushing them onto children, you have to fill that void with something positive. Who you are — defined mostly by what you do — becomes what you teach. We don’t want kids to just consume content, material, and resources anymore. We want them to act powerfully in awareness of themselves towards a happy, healthy, and engaged life. We want them to be generative for themselves and their community. Being a “teacher” in a self-directed learning community means producing tangible fruit from your work — shareable value.

 

An opportunity for current facilitators to share the value of their experiences.

ALF Summer is all about practicing our collaboration skills and learning to share the value of our time, work, and experiences with others. Part of training new facilitators means having active and experienced facilitators share what they’ve learned from doing the work directly.

What’s possible if the people learning how to do this work were actually sharing their insights with the next wave wanting to learn? I have seen so many passionate people in the alternative education world tirelessly reinventing the wheel because there’s no opportunity to learn deeply from others.

 

Filling the gaps in our skill sets, casting the net wide, and maintaining coherence.

Running a business and managing an organization of interconnected relationships is a whole other part of this game — a part that is often overlooked by those starting a school who are primarily motivated by their passion to work with children. Many of the self-directed learning startups I’ve seen or read about have emerged from subcultures that usually don’t associate with the business world and don’t have much practice with entrepreneurialism.

I’m excited about seeing this shift lately, as this is an intention of the ALC project — to bring together any and all subcultures and lifestyle genres that have shared beliefs regarding the way humans learn, work, and play best. The hippies need to upgrade their tools, and learn about effective organizational management and financial sustainability from the business world. The yuppies need to slow down, and learn about the inherent value of every human and systemic inequality from the social activists. (That’s just one example of this idea contextualized to my personal reference points.)

All across the board we need to do more listening and begin looking for the places in which we have similar goals. Last summer we drafted our “Agile Roots” as a way of building an inclusive and clear foundation for the ALC project — the coherence in which we currently operate within. Because a theory of education cannot exist in isolation, we are looking to play and partner with people from any subculture that is committed to operating from these assumptions:

  1. Learning is natural. It’s happening all the time.
  2. People learn better when they make their own decisions. Children are people.
  3. People learn more from the culture and environment they are immersed in than from the material they are taught.
  4. People develop their strengths and sense of purpose through cycles of intention, creation, reflection, and sharing.

 

 

A practice in true collaboration

Working together in this collaborative context is not just important to kickstart a project like this, it is absolutely necessary to maintain as a consistent practice. An Agile principle that I hold dear is, “people over process”, meaning you should always make sure your process is serving the people, rather than the other way around. (A pull-based approach, rather than a push-based.) Still, you’re always balancing people dynamics since it is impossible to serve everyone within a single organization of purpose and still maintain social coherence.

In an ALC we are iterating our agreements and cultural practices weekly. In the larger project we need to be iterating our tools, practices, and support structures every year. This is the only way to remain relevant and effective and not get stale or institutionalized.

Last summer many of us began as strangers and left connected and committed to continued growth and mutual support. Of course, that’s not always easy and usually there’s some bumps along the way. But that’s just it — there’s something so powerful about strengthening the connections between people who have set out to accomplish the same things before having ever met each other. It is at this intersection that autonomous collaboration can thrive.

The number of people who want to dedicate their life to redesigning (and living!) a new education system continues to grow, but we have to do something productive with all that action potential. So, what’s possible if we get together for more than a weekend of workshops and blah, blah, blah, and actually start inventing, creating, and doing it together?

What if schools were actually collaborative?

 

 

History Lesson 

As far as education goes, we are living in very strange times. School as we know it was officially implemented in the United States about 175 years ago by the very first Secretary of Education, Horace Mann. By 1918 all forty-eight states had made laws requiring children to complete elementary school, a historic shift that began to challenge age-old wisdom about how people learn. Early 20th century schools were designed like early 20th century factories, intending to produce a workforce that would serve the industrial economy of that time.

Since then, and especially in the last forty years, modern advances in technology have created exponential change in virtually every area of our lives, except for education. An honest look at the industries, workplaces, and economic demands of the 21st century reveal the utter irrelevance of an education based on standardization and compliance.

 

The Future of Work 

Here’s a quote from Dr. Tony Wagner the Expert in Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, and author of the books, “The Global Achievement Gap” and “Creating Innovators”.

“Today because knowledge is available on every internet connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate – the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life – and skills like critical thinking, communication, and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge.”

So, in 2014, we’re hearing a lot about autonomy, creativity, and collaboration as some of the most important elements for tackling the biggest problems we face as a society. And, the Social Sciences have confirmed over and over again that cultivating these abilities makes happier and healthier humans.

To learn how to collaborate, I think it is safe to assume that the educational experience needs to be itself, collaborative. So, what if schools were actually collaborative?

 

Collaboration with Students 

Before we can design an education that is collaborative in nature, we need to first make sure we understand what collaboration means. Collaborate: to work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something. Synonyms and related words: co-operate, join forces, work together, co-produce, agreed-upon, mutual.

So, we are seeing the same themes over and over; to be in a collaborative environment implies that the participants have agency and autonomy and that through the process they are creating and learning to be creative.

In a truly collaborative environment, it would be clear that anyone can be a teacher and that we are all students of life — not contained by the walls of a school or artificial social roles.

This is the fundamental problem with our prevailing education system — it cannot and will not teach collaboration as long as the Student-Teacher relationship is built on contention. Education is broken because it neglects consent as a necessary foundation for a healthy relationship. Without consent, you’ll never achieve partnership, co-creativity, and genuine engagement.

In a truly collaborative school, the adults would act from this understanding and would design from this awareness. So then, if the adults aren’t the monolithic “Teacher”, what are they? What do they do?

 

Teacher out, Facilitator in 

In an Agile Learning Center, adults become facilitators of the learning environment, which means they are primarily focused on: “bringing about an outcome such as, learning, productivity, or communication, by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision.” Once we recognize the need for consent as the very first step towards collaboration, we stop asking questions like:

  • How can I get them to pay attention?
  • What tricks can I use to get them to remember this information for a couple of weeks?
  • How can I create the appearance of learning and momentary engagement?

And we start asking questions like:

  • What do you want to do, learn, create, explore, try for the very first time?
  • What are your intentions, goals, visions for yourself?
  • What support do you need from me or your peers to make those things happen?

These would be some of the recurring questions that form the basis of a collaborative relationship with children. After we start asking the right questions, we can begin designing the learning environment to support active engagement in those questions, as a basis for true collaboration.

 

Tools & Practices for Intentional Culture

Our Agile Learning Facilitators are borrowing, inventing, adapting, and evolving a whole bunch of tools and practices to support students without getting in their way.

Each day at an Agile Learning Center, students are practicing identifying their priorities, declaring their intentions, making their work visible and reflecting on their personal process, and using modern tools to support these practices.

One of our lean structures is called “Set-the-Week — a short meeting each Monday morning to plan and sketch out our week. Through Set-the-Week we open up the walls of our schools to collaborate with parents and volunteers from the local community who want to share their passions and skills with us.

These are some of the ways we’ve been able to create a collaborative learning environment for our students and families, but what about the Facilitators? It’s pretty much impossible to do this work alone, especially when there’s no degree or training manual that will have the right answers ten years from now, maybe not even one year from now.

 

Facilitator Collaboration 

After immersing myself in the world of Alternative Education for five years, it became clear to me that though many small, independent schools were collaborating within their communities, collaboration was seriously lacking at all other levels.

What if the people starting and holding the schools were collaborating too? I realized that for our tools and practices to remain relevant and to build critical mass for these ideas — this would have to be the case.

We started a meetup group in NYC in the fall of 2013 to share our vision and some of the tools we were using, and to begin inviting new educators and social entrepreneurs into this project. By the spring we had a partner school and ALC startups forming.

ALF Summer 14
ALF Summer 14

This past summer we held our first Agile Learning Facilitator Intensive as a way of training ourselves through deep collaboration and intentional culture creation. We embodied our own ALC together for 3 weeks — we used and evolved our tools, launched new websites, drafted the first iteration of a training handbook, facilitated a 2-week summer camp for 20 kids, and got clear on foundational assumptions that inform our work.

 

Ongoing Facilitator Collaboration 

We are continuing our collaboration throughout the year with weekly calls, and a few meetups where we all gather for a long weekend to learn and play and improve our craft. Now instead of a couple small, isolated groups of passionate people, we are an expanding connected autonomous network of change-makers.

 

Connected Autonomous Network (CAN)
Connected Autonomous Network (CAN)

 

But the collaboration can’t stop there.

 

A Global & Local, Digitally Connected World

For an education to be fully relevant in 2014 it has to be engaged with digital tools. This is the world we live in and the world that young people are growing up into. What if there was an online social learning network that existed to support the growth and richness of smaller physical learning communities?

We are really excited about having launched the first iteration of that vision on agilelearningcenters.org. Now there’s a blog and fully-functioning website for each student, facilitator, or parent in the network, and activity stream where articles and links can be shared and blog posts are featured. And, groups with discussion forums so that students can collaborate on their latest Minecraft creations or their progress in learning a language, and network-wide discussions can take shape and knowledge can be shared.

 

Online Social Learning Network
Online Social Learning Network

 

To create a better world we need to develop collaborative organizations and businesses. To create a better world we definitely have to design schools that are actually collaborative — which means always having consent and working with kids, rather than working on them.