“A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives, empower all who want to share what they know know to find those who want to learn it from them; and , finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known”
-Illich 1970, p.75
A goal over the last 4 years has been to contribute to the design of a multi-sited and networked project based learning “ecology”. A learning ecology that liberates learners and stakeholders from the administerial and structural barriers in education while enmeshing critical, democratic and ubiquitous learning into educational spaces. This type of learning takes facilitation and human understanding, it is messy, and not neatly packaged into the 80 minute school block or the demands of standardized and nationalized curricular structures so often associated with the traditional school( More on this can be found in myriad posts on my blog….).
Last year I co-designed and facilitated the Global Civ pilot program, a design based research project that took this vision to task. The work was difficult, mired in socio-economic imperatives and took a truly networked community. I found that community as I took some time for my doctoral studies and delved into the study and praxis of design research methods, the sociology of education and networked learning. Along the way I collaborated with many: old mentors in person and spirit (specifically Ed Brazee a 20+ year democratic education practitioner, James Beane and Michael Apple) and new friends (specifically Rob Greco, Leigh Blackall and the undergraduates I facilitated in networked learning). This CoP never ceased to inspire and push me to follow my passions and design. This spring Michael McCabe of the Kornerstone School, Monika Hardy of the Innovation Lab (in of all places the Front Range in Colorado….one of my childhood places), and others have inspired me with their passion, work and collaboration in an amazing ways.
So, inspired by interactions with amazing humans and their projects I can see that networked learning, both face to face and in online spaces is working. I’m happy to be part of the Cooperative Catalyst as another step towards networking with the individuals and learning ecologies that are weaving a mesh of deep learning ventures.
Here’s to our hearts, minds and hands.