We are not beings, we are becomings

We are not beings, we are becomings

This article was published on UNESCO’s IDEAS LAB on 11 March 2022. While the UNESCO report Futures of Education came out with much fanfare and generated much excitement, its most powerful consideration has received surprisingly little attention. It’s not that the authors haven’t put this consideration front and center—on the contrary—yet somehow it has eluded [...]

Interconnected Learning: A Contextual Experience

Interconnected Learning: A Contextual Experience

This article was published on Intrepid Ed News on 1 February 2012. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change—Max Planck, Quantum Theorist and Nobel Laureate This is less a blog than it is a call for us to collaborate on developing this idea of learning as a [...]

The Metaverse will bring school closer to the end of its product life cycle

The Metaverse will bring school closer to the end of its product life cycle

This article was also published on 2 December 2021 in IntrepidEd News. Every once in a while you come across an idea that is so full of possibilities, your imagination runs wild, unleashed. When you share your thoughts with others, you might indulge in fantasizing together about what how future might unfold; or you might [...]

A Curriculum of Kindness

A Curriculum of Kindness

This article was inspired by my conversations with Louka Parry and David Penberg. It was published in IntrepidEd News on 1 October 2021. Sometimes I fixate on a subject or idea and find myself buying a bunch of books and watching videos to feed my curiosity and further my understanding of a single topic. Recently, [...]

A Learning ecosystem that values questions not answers

A Learning ecosystem that values questions not answers

What if instead of an education system based on “show what you know,” which can discourage curiosity and creativity because of the right answer syndrome, what if we built a learning system that conceived achievement as the quality of questions the learner asks, not what they are asked to know? The power of this learning system of questions is in how it would foster curiosity and creativity, because if a learner stops asking questions, they stop learning.

Embracing the Interconnectedness of Learning

Embracing the Interconnectedness of Learning

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” —John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club So much space is taken up rebuking the Industrial Revolutionary model of education that still inspires most schools today. You can hear, watch, and read people questioning why it [...]

What if schools became intergenerational learning spaces?

What if schools became intergenerational learning spaces?

This article was also published on 28 August 2021 in IntrepidEd News. This may sound odd, but I love calling for help when my computer decides to go rogue, not following the plan that I so carefully and naively laid out before class. I fumble a bit with the cursor and click the same icon [...]

Twenty-first century skills: Are they just the same old story?

Twenty-first century skills: Are they just the same old story?

This article was published in a slightly different form in Intrepid News 18 June 2021. There is something insidious about pushing schools to change so they can prepare students for jobs that do not yet exist, for problem-solving to address threats to productivity, or for new business models with geographically and culturally distributed workforces. There [...]

What if we created a Curriculum for the Commons?

What if we created a Curriculum for the Commons?

This article was originally published in Intrepid Ed News on 4 June 2021 under the title "Student Pathways into Curriculum: Chaotic or Empowering?" We justify our need for a set curriculum by invoking our responsibility to prepare students for the future, expose them to ideas that will make them respectable well-rounded citizens, and equip them [...]

How Could Ethics Guide a New Purpose for Education?

How Could Ethics Guide a New Purpose for Education?

This article was originally published on 21 May 2021 in Intrepid Ed News. Every once in a while, a report comes out from a behemoth transnational organization that rings alarm bells, warning us about how the education system is not equipping young minds to meet the challenges of tomorrow. A lengthy document outlines the skills [...]

Will androids replace teachers? Maybe, if we keep focusing purely on content knowledge.

Will androids replace teachers? Maybe, if we keep focusing purely on content knowledge.

This is a satire and a warning. I do not advocate replacing humans with androids… though maybe in some classrooms it would be a good idea. A few months ago I wrote a piece on how a teacher’s job is to teach themselves out of a job. The concept is pretty simple: a teacher should [...]

Trying to measure learning is absurd because there is no dualism between the student and the world

Trying to measure learning is absurd because there is no dualism between the student and the world

"When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value. We are not 'measuring' the world, we are creating it." —Niels Bohr, recipient of the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics and contributor to our understanding of quantum theory. Last week, I led a staff workshop to launch a new [...]

Incubators in Schools to Unleash Potential Creative Energies

Incubators in Schools to Unleash Potential Creative Energies

What if schools were places where learners could explore their interests and produce objects, ideas, and initiatives that made impact in the community? What if schools encouraged learners to build networks of mentors and non-age dependent peers and contribute to writing organic, personalized curricula centered around intent, not content? What if students could evidence their [...]

Our Job is to Teach Ourselves out of a Job

Our Job is to Teach Ourselves out of a Job

My family and I are going through a pretty challenging situation right now. I’ve learned to stay upbeat, be empathetic, and roll with the punches, and the past seven months have brought me a deeper understanding of my role as a parent and educator. While I could tell the narrative of the latest impasse here [...]

Personalization Requires Equity and an Agile Approach

Personalization Requires Equity and an Agile Approach

I am one of the hundreds of millions of people who could not have imagined in August 2019 that their lives would be so shaken fewer than twelve months later. The personal and socio-economic devastation has been catastrophic, though there may be hope that this situation will expose the inadequacies, inequalities, and injustices of a [...]

Lessons from Lockdown: What MasterChef teaches us about exceptionality

Lessons from Lockdown: What MasterChef teaches us about exceptionality

During this period of lockdown, our family, like many other families, has experienced a shift in lifestyle. Saudi Arabia has largely been under 24-hour confinement and we haven’t left our compound in nine weeks. Finding ways to keep our bodies, minds and spirits engaged and buoyant is increasingly challenging. Add to this another common problem: [...]

Flipping the Flipped Classroom

Flipping the Flipped Classroom

I find it puzzling how the “flipped classroom” is so often presented as a new groundbreaking and transformative idea, with the potential to unlock the power of formative assessment and personalized learning. I am not suggesting that exposing students to the material at home and then practicing what they learned in class can’t be useful [...]

Homework May Be the Biggest Impediment to Learning

Homework May Be the Biggest Impediment to Learning

I am feeling quite a bit of anxiety, stress, and confusion as I type these words and my feelings have nothing to do with COVID, well, not directly anyway. I am tense because it is mid-afternoon and my son Nico hasn’t started on his school remote learning modules. He tells me he will and I [...]

This is the Chance for our Kids to Write their Own Curriculum

This is the Chance for our Kids to Write their Own Curriculum

The silver lining around the coronavirus pandemic is that there is sense of coming together amongst people from all parts of the world and this has translated into efforts to support, help, and listen to one another. Social media is full of messages from educators sharing or asking for ideas and resources to meet the [...]

For (Deeper) Learning to Occur, Students Need to Know Why They’re Learning Something

For (Deeper) Learning to Occur, Students Need to Know Why They’re Learning Something

If ever we ask a student "why do you need to know this?" and he doesn't know (or can't come up with anything more than "for the test"), we need to stop and re-think what went wrong, no matter what the child's age. If the student doesn't know why they're "learning" something, they probably can't [...]

If It Doesn’t Lead to Learning, It’s not Worth Teaching

If It Doesn’t Lead to Learning, It’s not Worth Teaching

A couple of weekends ago I surprised my son with a box of Meccano and suggested we build something together. I don’t have a particularly glorious track record in the field of assembly (we won’t discuss the unfortunate table football incident), but I thought that if he and I constructed something together, it would not [...]

How Can We Cultivate Student Leaders Now?

How Can We Cultivate Student Leaders Now?

It doesn’t take very long to scroll through LinkedIn to find a post on what makes an effective leader. Great leaders, we are told, are supposed to be empathetic, humble, inspiring, accountable. They should empower others and lead from the back while finding success in other people’s goals and achievements. Leadership should come from everywhere, [...]

Providing the right environment and challenge for academically advanced learners means making an investment in the prosperity of humankind.

Providing the right environment and challenge for academically advanced learners means making an investment in the prosperity of humankind.

In the world of education, the needs of the very brightest learners can all too often be overlooked because it is assumed that they’re the lucky ones. After all, their intelligence gives them a head start in life, doesn’t it? We may tell ourselves, “These smart kids don’t even need teachers because they can just [...]

Stop Commoditizing Students! Let’s Prepare Students to be Agile Now and Tomorrow.

Stop Commoditizing Students! Let’s Prepare Students to be Agile Now and Tomorrow.

When we define the success of a school based on its test scores, we are doing nothing less than commoditizing students at the expense of learning. Worse, we are perpetuating a system that is already outdated insofar as its entire reason for existence is to prepare students for the future, which it is failing to [...]

Kindness is the Great Leveler

Kindness is the Great Leveler

Kindness is all that matters. While grades hinder learning (and don’t even assess it), kindness stays. Kindness has impact. Kindness is the great leveler, no matter what race, socio-economic background, privilege or challenge, we can all be kind. Perhaps we should think more about cultivating kindness and less about what scores our kids get on [...]