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be you.

just read this post by @mrwejr
he is spot on.
i spent the morning in a fret.
dear friends stewing over time/prep for new year of school.
dear students stewing over time/anxiety for new year of school.
i truly believe that in order to be indispensable today –
kids/adults need one thing..
they need to be able to be
they need to master the art of
and that’s it.
the cool thing is – they can learn this while studying any topic, working on any project, …
so – want engagement?… let them pick.
facilitate/emphasize the process.. so that when they change passion, or switch topics or project…
they know what to do.
this is what the web is allowing… this differentiation to infinity…
and we’re missing it.

About monika hardy

a nother way


16 thoughts on “be you.

  1. It’s funny you bring this up. Just the other day I was talking to one of my kids and she said: “are you the technology teacher, or are you the Spanish teacher?”. I asked her why she thought there needed to be a difference, and she said “there always has been.”

    I realized I haven’t bee good about stressing what you describe above monika. Other than the tech teacher, I’m the only teacher who uses technology to the extent o do in class. It was hard for that student (and I imagine others) to realize you could learn a process (research, design, sharing, social networking) that was supportive of but not tied to a subject.

    I need to have this kind of conversation with my kids more often. Thanks for reminding me.

    Posted by mrsenorhill | August 7, 2010, 9:13 am
  2. So what role does knowledge play? This would help me…to know what you think.

    Love the look here so much.

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | August 10, 2010, 7:51 pm
  3. knowledge of a process – of learning how to learn – connecting to the right people – huge.

    knowledge of any particular content – not so huge – because now you can learn whatever – whenever.

    however.. and i think this is key… the knowledge pool people gain from this process is much more robust than any other.. because it is attained through experience and context and ownership.

    Posted by monika hardy | August 11, 2010, 1:17 am
  4. My wife, Bethany Nowviskie (@nowviskie), introduced me to the idea of useful constraints. What if instead of ignorance we could ignore what doesn’t work in school and set up boundaries that make learning playful and joyous in pursuit of learning that benefits the individual learner and her community? Initiatives like yours, Monika, are so important in validating the learning that goes on free of managerial constraints that are not useful to students’ learning.

    What do you think are the minimum useful constraints for learning today?


    Posted by Chad Sansing | August 11, 2010, 6:37 pm
  5. i think i need help with that question Chad.
    my gut says no constraints.

    however, i think we need a type of detox or rehabilitation period with some constraints,.. to get us back to a more natural state…
    i think most people, {i’ve heard 90% follow rules, 80% aren’t happy}, have been following rules/directions for too long. they need some type of assistance to break that habit. a simple blue print of how to learn…
    is that a constraint?

    Posted by monika hardy | August 13, 2010, 12:22 am
    • Re: a simple blueprint: yes – when I think of constraints in this way, I think of useful scaffolds – like the lines on a playing field that help the players recognize the skills and roles that are useful to playing the game. I don’t mean to bring in the negative connotations of “playing the game of school,” but I think that it’s important to imagine, identify, and design classrooms and schools around the constraints that help learning – even if those constraints are as minimal as protected opportunities for a community to reflect on free play.

      What are the minimum scaffolds that you think are necessary for the kind of learning you want to see? What’s the blueprint?


      Posted by Chad Sansing | August 13, 2010, 6:42 am
  6. like i said – i think we need some scaffolds currently… because of what we’ve become…

    but after that… constraints? …
    the only hard and fast rules i ever give my kids – is that they are not allowed to die.

    Posted by monika hardy | August 14, 2010, 11:01 am
    • Sorry – it’s apparent I’m still not being clear. There are things we know about learning, motivation, and passion. Call them lines on a blue print, call them fog lights, call them constraints – I’m really just after what you think are the minimal, desirable design elements and structures for learning.

      To put it another way, if a student is self-directing learning, what good “constraints” are making that happen and keeping the student from, say, something like “not-learning?” I’m not against free-play or against respecting student down time, but as we’re interested in validating new approaches, what minimal structure/scaffold/constraints validate something as learning? I’m not talking about hard and fast rules, but the best, minimally necessary levers or engines of learning and producing excellent work.

      Does that make any more sense? If the word is “constraint” is objectionable even as described above, let me ask what minimal scaffolds offer the validation we’d like to have in support of promoting democratic, authentic, student-led and mentor-aided education?

      Or, does absolute student freedom trump adults’ need to validate what they’re doing? Can we operate without boundaries?

      Thanks for sticking with the question,

      Posted by Chad Sansing | August 14, 2010, 1:16 pm
  7. you are fine Chad…. you were very clear and sweet.
    i’m the one muddying it up. and i know i’ve not got much company on this one.

    personally – i don’t believe any constraints are necessary. they might make the person making them feel better. they might make what we do easier to manage/visualize. and currently – we certainly feel the powers that be are requesting them for validation.

    i think an expert facilitator/thinker is all about motivation and making connections in order to up the students activity and self-reflection. maybe those are what you’d call constraints.. the only reason i haven’t – is because it’s not pre-planned or pre-determined. it all comes from where the kid takes it. and the only goal is that the kid keeps improving his ability to learn… to be able to learn things he decides he wants to know.

    however. we are no where near that today. and so – i’m thinking what you’re asking about is what we plan to use today. (in fact i looked back at your previous comment and you did say that.. so sorry… i just went to where we hope to be.)

    today.. we do feel the masses need guidance, a model, because we don’t know what to do when we don’t know what to do.
    this is one of the things we are working on with the participatory action research. what basic steps does a self-learner, like James Bach and Noam Kostucki, go through to learn new things.
    so far we’ve settled on 4 steps: notice, ponder, connect and do.
    but we’re still questioning and seeking insight…

    our plan is to automate the site (that last link) … so that in 2 min people can log how they did each of those 4 things to learn something new.
    then to also automate a getpivot type maneuvering around the data we collect. so that it can be easily accessed for any specific purpose and used for that validation piece… but also as a model for others – teachers, pre-teachers, – for anyone wanting to become a self-learner.

    sticking with the question is huge Chad. being open to new insight is huge …
    this is such a responsibility. my gut tells me people are ready for change and that change is going to happen. i know all of us just want it to be the right change.

    Posted by monika hardy | August 14, 2010, 5:43 pm
  8. still in beta – but here’s a visual we are using.. for any age really..
    would love feedback.

    i’m currently reading inquiry as stance. cochran, lytle.
    very surreal, we are doing a lot of the things they are asking about.
    we are doing the participatory action research via Jim Folkestad, CSU, with the students as researchers… but students can be any age… i am one of them doing my digital equity project.

    Posted by monika hardy | August 15, 2010, 9:00 am
  9. I hear two things here: the Buddhist idea that paradoxically, with restraint comes freedom. That human beings are overwhelmed by complete free choice, and that some restriction, “blue lines” can actually help learners begin to scaffold or construct their learning experiences. Practiced learners often already know how to construct their learning–they know something about themselves as learners and they have a lot of pre-existing scaffolding they bring to a problem. Less practiced learners can be overwhelmed. Is that what you are saying Chad? And Monika, you are saying you are against structure of any kind? Philosophically, you are less enthusiastic about restraint? Do I have this right?

    There also seems a developmental component here. Where are learners in their practice, and in which domain? I might be a great learner in understanding the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly and how it is affected by environmental change, and a lot less confident in working on the meaning of Romeo and Juliet in my life today. How does where I am as a learner, and what I like and already know, affect what kind of constraint/retraint is useful to me? Why?

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | August 16, 2010, 7:43 am
  10. sorry i missed this somehow.

    i am for less restraint… but i totally get that we can’t just jump there.

    and i think the self-learning piece does have developmental components.
    but i think the natural beauty of learning is that once you get it… that art of learning how to learn.. i mean really get it… not just a way to practice asking questions or to memorize or produce…
    i think once you get it – that art transcends all topics… so that while some things may seem more difficult to learn than others.. you sill go through a similar process.. very fractalish.. this learning how to learn. and i think we keep missing that.

    Posted by monika hardy | August 18, 2010, 6:01 pm
  11. Monika, I’m a better learner in some areas than others. Are you? I’m pretty aware of that, that I’m not all the same in every domain.

    I’m just asking because I really want to understand your point of view.

    Hugs and good night,


    Posted by Kirsten Olson | August 18, 2010, 10:02 pm
  12. not the same ease or depth or whatever for sure.
    but i think if we focus on the similarities of the process – which i do think is the same (and would love to be fixed by you all if i’m off on that- truly) – rather than “achievement” levels.. the goal of always knowing what to do when we don’t know what to do … will be mastered..

    Posted by monika | August 18, 2010, 10:31 pm
  13. today I was reading Krishnamurti “Letters to Schools” Which I highly recommend. Pretty Brilliant if not mind blowing in so many ways.

    I just wanted to pull some quotes for you, but please check it out if you have a chance I think it would be great.

    I would also recommend Education and the Significance of Life by Krishnamurti

    Okay some quotes!
    Flowering of self

    Narrow Grooves

    school as a place of leisure

    Knowledge and relationship

    more to come!

    Posted by dloitz | August 19, 2010, 12:44 am

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