• the next game changer is you
    My best friend and I had just finished off a tasty dinner at one of our favorite taquerias. We paid the bill and walked out into the parking lot. I was admiring the perfect Los Angeles night – high 60s, not a single star in the orange sky above the strip mall’s neon glow – when my pal dropped a turd in our conversational punch bowl.  “So,” he said, “What do you think? AI, right? Nah, AI isn’t it. But if it’s not AI, what do you think is the next game changer?” I wanted to answer my friend’s question, but… Read more: the next game changer is you
  • meet a jewel
    If you are observant, and more than a little lucky, every once in a while you get to meet a person whose skill and dedication empowers them to channel their life experience into art. Introducing Yves Kamonier. Yves comes from generations of jewelers. He has designed for Tiffany & Co. in New York and Chaumet in Paris (jeweler to Napoleon and Josephine). Armani designed a suit to complement Yves’ award-winning De Beers diamond handkerchief. All of that name-dropping becomes meaningless when you meet the person. Yves’ art is an expression of his personality and the way he looks at the… Read more: meet a jewel
  • unfinished symphony
    Social media is full of signaling. “Look what I cooked!” “Look what I ate!” I’ve done my fair share of posting when I’m proud of my accomplishments. Last year around this time I posted about how I finished my first Ironman triathlon. But if we’re being honest, life brings more disappointment than success. Since our culture celebrates winners, we don’t share nearly as many stories about disappointment. So we often miss opportunities to learn from failure. Sports and business magazines celebrate the winners; I can’t remember too many articles in Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Inc, or Fast Company that cover the… Read more: unfinished symphony
  • OSL Road Show: Dent 2023
    In September I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico to share Open-Source Learning with the Dent Conference. Rather than describe the experience, I thought I’d show it to you. Feel free to dive deeper by checking the time-stamped annotated notes below. Enjoy! NOTES 00:01 Consciously reflecting on and understanding our reasons for taking action helps us focuses our attention and do everything better. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation 00:10 The concept of fun is vastly underrated in our culture. Systems of formal learning and work emphasize… well, work. Which is ironic, since research suggests that fun accelerates our acquisition of new information, and learning… Read more: OSL Road Show: Dent 2023
  • Hurricane in the desert
    The first time I brought my family to the Coachella Valley, temperatures soared over 120 degrees. We used lots of sun block, drank lots of water, got up early and stayed inside during the hottest part of the afternoon. We adapted. And we loved it so much that we moved here. The desert can be harsh and unforgiving, and I knew we’d have to make concessions. I planned for heat, and drought, and earthquakes. But I never imagined that living here would put us in the path of a hurricane. Disruption I like to get stuff done. Most days I’m… Read more: Hurricane in the desert
  • A good walk spoiled
    It’s been almost thirty years since I played golf. I don’t have that kind of time or money. So I got a little nervous last week when my friend Eric invited me to his country club in Los Angeles. I found myself looking for an out even though there was every reason to say yes – he’s helping me network for business, he’s picking up the tab, and my parents live nearby so I’ll be able to visit them on my way home. But saying yes means I have to relearn the game. In two weeks. Winston Churchill once said,… Read more: A good walk spoiled
  • Physical fitness is for lead learners too
    As a Lead Learner, I try to find, analyze, evaluate, and use the best information out there. Here’s an example from a blog post I shared with an Open-Source Learning network at a California high school during the pandemic. ______________________ This page provides some basic information about physical fitness, one of the five fitnesses of Open-Source Learning. It also comes with a story. If you want to skip the story and get right to the practices, scroll down for a no-gear workout plan, and (coming soon) information on nutrition and sleep. In Open-Source Learning, the lead learner paves the way… Read more: Physical fitness is for lead learners too
  • the wisdom of weeds
    Looking closely was both the problem and the solution. I walk through my front yard at least a couple times a day but I don’t really see it. When I get the newspaper in the morning, or pull the car in and lock the gate at night, I notice the cactus and the ocotillo, framed by San Jacinto Peak in the background. I see the birds fly into the olive tree. I may even catch the moment at dusk when the lights come on next to the path from the driveway to the front door. These are big picture views.… Read more: the wisdom of weeds
  • too many cooks
    Building a successful team is an art. 25 years ago I worked with the best coaches in the world to build a program that creates championship teams. What better place to savor success and learn bitter lessons than the kitchen? Participants in Too Many Cooks learn the processes and practices of successful teams. Then they apply what they learn in the kitchen under the guidance of our executive chef. The immediate result is a gourmet meal. The lasting impact is a sustainable network of relationships that achieve increasingly high levels of performance. Teams are appealing, but they’re not for everyone.… Read more: too many cooks
  • Declare your digital interdependence
    Going online these days is like walking through a trade show in an office building full of corporate lobbies. While you’re trying to decide where to do your business – Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon – banner ads and pop ups constantly compete for your attention. You can’t read two paragraphs before something blocks your view and you have to find the tiny icon to close the window but then the phone glitches or the video moves and now you’re on another URL which shifts your search history algorithm… I’ve heard it said that the internet is basically a series of… Read more: Declare your digital interdependence
  • Enter the 5PH1NX
    Note: I originally wrote this post as a draft for 5PH1NX: 5tudent Peer Heuristic for 1Nformation Xchange (A slightly transmedia use case in peeragogical assessment.) David Preston, Ph.D. _________________________________________________________________ Over the last several decades technology has driven massive shifts in the way we communicate and collaborate.  Information technology, socioeconomic trends, an increasingly complex and uncertain future, and school’s failed brand are contributing factors in an emerging discourse that seeks to align learning with our rapidly changing culture.  Open Source Learning and Peeragogy, two emerging theoretical frameworks in this discourse, leverage end-to-end user principles of communication technology to facilitate peers learning… Read more: Enter the 5PH1NX
  • a tale of two vessels
    VESSEL ONE Five people paid $250,000 apiece to die next to the Titanic. James Cameron (blockbuster film director, est. net worth >$700M) explained the “catastrophic implosion” of the OceanGate submersible to Anderson Cooper (Vanderbilt heir, est. net worth >$100M) on CNN: “The only scenario that I could come up with in my mind that could account for that was an implosion,” he told Cooper. “A shockwave event so powerful that it actually took out a secondary system that has its own pressure vessel and its own battery power supply which is the transponder that the ship uses to track where… Read more: a tale of two vessels
  • welcome aboard the digital kon-tiki
    Everyone who participates in Open-Source Learning proves that it works. Sometimes the results are observably extraordinary, like when a high school student learns to fly a plane or leads an entire learning community for a long weekend of interdisciplinary wonder in Yosemite. Often, Open-Source Learning creates more subtle results. We shift our thinking in ways that would be invisible to others if we don’t curate them somewhere for people to see – like what I’m doing right now on this blog. In the old days, students would work as assigned by a teacher. The only artifact would be a piece… Read more: welcome aboard the digital kon-tiki
  • Summer reading: the 7 elements of open-source learning
     This is the first in a series of summer reading articles about how we can reimagine learning for next year and beyond. To get the next article delivered automatically to your inbox, click HERE. ____________ You made it through another school year. It’s time for your summer reading pleasure. Cue Alice Cooper. It’s time to forget about school. To paraphrase Alice: “No more learning management systems, no more surveillance software…” Enjoy the season. Enjoy your life. And, as you relax and remember how it feels to experience your thoughts on your own terms, enjoy LEARNING. This is the perfect time… Read more: Summer reading: the 7 elements of open-source learning
  • How to be a better person than A.I.
    I hear it all the time: “AI is going to take our jobs!” “AI is going to make schoolwork obsolete!” Oh please. AI is not taking anything from us that we aren’t already trying desperately to avoid and give away. In fact, AI is literally nothing without us. It can’t build itself, train itself, or use itself. Not yet, anyway. But this is a really good time to get back in touch with what we humans do uniquely well. We use our imagination to describe and communicate about abstract concepts. We make decisions and form relationships using both reason and… Read more: How to be a better person than A.I.
  • the wisdom of weeds
    Looking closely was both the problem and the solution. I walk through my front yard at least a couple times a day but I don’t really see it. When I get the newspaper in the morning, or pull the car in and lock the gate at night, I notice the cactus and the ocotillo, framed by San Jacinto Peak in the background. I see the birds fly into the olive tree. I may even catch the moment at dusk when the lights come on next to the path from the driveway to the front door. These are big picture views.… Read more: the wisdom of weeds
  • the unbearable lightness of innovation
    The most beautiful, compelling aspect of learning is its predictable unpredictability. Sure, we have schematic neural architecture that enables us to organize and make sense of large data sets like language. And that facial expression our significant other is making as we type this. But unlike the artificial neural networks that power machine learning and AI, our brains love to slip the leash and do their own thing. Playful creativity is the ultimate Turing Test. Original, abstract thinking is the defining characteristic of homo sapiens. It’s our unfair sustainable competitive advantage. Tragically, we kill our most curious cats early on.… Read more: the unbearable lightness of innovation
  • shaken to the core
    My daughter is nearly 14 years old. I am transfixed by the image of Mesut Hancer holding his 15-year-old daughter’s hand after this week’s earthquake. My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by this disaster. The people in the region are some of the most vulnerable in the world. Here is a list of ways you can help them.  
  • school ain’t your business
    Comparing school with business is bad business. There are huge differences between school and business: Learning is personal Learning is messy Learning is abstract   Learning Is Personal One of the most chilling moments in The Godfather is when Michael reveals his talent for strategy and his cold objectivity when it comes to the political pros and cons of killing in revenge: “It’s not personal, Sonny, it’s strictly business.” Education is the exact opposite. Learning isn’t business, Sonny. It’s personal. Learning Is Messy We need to preserve the humanity in education. Being human is sometimes messy. That’s not only OK,… Read more: school ain’t your business
  • trigger warning (redacted)
    I wrote a 1500+ word post for this week that was motivated by the news of the six-year-old who shot his teacher. It’s a good piece and I think you’ll like it. But it’s also edgy. My family depends on the consulting income I earn from schools and I can’t afford to get canceled this week. So here is my offer to you, dear reader: Ask and ye shall receive. If you’d like me to personally deliver a camera-ready draft of this week’s blog post to your Inbox, please email me: david [at] davidpreston [dot] net If you’re feeling efficient… Read more: trigger warning (redacted)
  • I deserve an A
    I was clearing out my Zoom cloud when I ran across this conversation from April 2021. We teach and learn a lot in school that has nothing to do with the course content.
  • new year’s resolution to finish what I star
    I constantly look for new beginnings. Every culture has rituals and traditions for ending and beginning chapters, and I celebrate them all. But we don’t really need a calendar reminder to be our better selves. Today* (*whatever day you’re reading this) is the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself. Do that thing or practice that quality you always admired. Be that person. Start a habit. Stop a habit. I grew up around people who made New Year’s Resolutions. The results were mixed. It turns out that setting and achieving goals can be a complicated thing for people who don’t take the… Read more: new year’s resolution to finish what I star
  • writing is dead long live writting
    Over the last few days I received notes from friends and colleagues expressing concern that ChatGPT will be the end of writing. These are intelligent, caring people. I can’t imagine any of them ever outsourcing their expressions of thoughts and feelings to an AI Chat Bot. Each considered the issues and wrote to start a conversation with me. That’s the main reason I read their emails. I want to reassure these fine folks, and you, dear reader, that ChatGPT will have about the same impact on writing as sex toys have on sex. It’s an interesting novelty and potentially a… Read more: writing is dead long live writting
  • do or do not do. there is no essay.
    Before the pandemic I asked 150 high school juniors in four separate classes to think of a word they associate with writing essays. After giving them a couple minutes to think, I stood at the board and wrote down the words they called out. Here are the lists: As you can see, the students’ feelings about writing essays were overwhelmingly negative.  I was struck by the patterns. “Stress” is on every list.  “Anger,” “crying,” and “dropout” showed up multiple times. I tried to imagine what writing must be like for the student who contributed “shaking.” Shaking?  When I showed one of the lists to… Read more: do or do not do. there is no essay.
  • The OSL Making of an Ironman
    The meaning of life is to give life meaning. Viktor Frankl Everything I do means something to me. At 3:45 on Sunday morning I pulled into the parking lot of the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens and did something I’d never done before. I wrote a prayer. I wasn’t asking for anything. I just had a strong, clear sense of gratitude that I wanted to remember word for word. None of us really does anything alone, but in today’s world it’s easy to feel alone. That’s why I included Civic Fitness (how we operate in the context of social systems) and… Read more: The OSL Making of an Ironman
  • “I never learned to read!”
    About 15 years ago one of my brightest, most articulate students told me that she hated to read. I was shocked. She went on to describe reading as a painful chore she associated with school, something she was forced to do on threat of punishment. I looked at the assignments and assessments through her eyes and I saw her point. So I decided to change things up. I invented different ways to assess reading skills. Recently I sat with some students who somehow managed to make it nearly all the way through high school without learning to read – or… Read more: “I never learned to read!”
  • thank you
    The Thanksgiving holiday has a troubled history that remains our troubled present. Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation was a patriarchal, overtly religious, plagiarized lie intended to distract Americans from genocide, slavery, and race rioting. Here we are, 159 years later, still dealing with some of the very same issues. Today I am putting all that aside to make room for gratitude. I want to celebrate Thanksgiving just because I love feeling thankful. When I taught high school English, I would end every year’s blog with a post that said something like this: As I think about it, I want to thank… Read more: thank you
  • the right tool for the job
    I originally wrote this 10+ years ago on a course blog for high school students – it applies now more than ever. -dp ______________________________ In the words of Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish philosopher whose work influenced prominent writers and thinkers from Charles Dickens to Ralph Waldo Emerson: Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. It’s easy to mistake the use of the internet in learning as a simple way to make the same ol’ same ol’ seem a little more entertaining. What we’re doing now goes way beyond that. Today you have… Read more: the right tool for the job
  • ferocious joy
    Fun is underrated. Joy is the truest measure of success in learning. You know that feeling when you finally solve the mystery, remember the idea, see the solution, hear the music? Oh, that is so good! What if we made that feeling our priority in helping each other understand concepts and master skills? Take a moment and imagine the most serious cause you care most about. Is it the environment, reproductive rights, economic inequality, education? Who are the experts you admire for their successes in the field? Imagine what would happen if these champions were also role-models of having a… Read more: ferocious joy
  • ain’t no mountain high enough
    Listen, baby… Chapter 1: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough The Cactus to Clouds hike up San Jacinto Peak is the 5th hardest day hike in America. A couple weekends ago I hiked the South Lykken and Skyline sections, which ascend 8400 feet from the Coachella Valley Floor trailhead at the end of Ramon Road to Long Valley and the upper mountain station of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. I felt great. I’m a champion of putting one foot in front of the other. As the sun rose during the first few thousand feet, I turned every once in a while… Read more: ain’t no mountain high enough
  • technology that brings learning back to the living
    Every reference I can find for the etymology of the word technology has to do with, “art, skill, or craft.” Technique comes from the same root. Any system of making or doing requires qualities such as dedication, skill, and patience. Technique/technology is all about purpose and cleverness. Tools and computers are sometimes included, but not required. But whenever I hear people talk about education technology they focus on the latest software that promises to accelerate learning. Halloween Tech In this way, most edtech is a lot like Halloween: false, passé, and occasionally dangerous. On Halloween people dress up as something… Read more: technology that brings learning back to the living
  • a wall of wind and dust
    Anyone who thinks that Southern California doesn’t have seasons either hasn’t spent enough time here or just isn’t paying attention. The difference in the fall air is palpable. It feels thinner, crisper. The morning after a rain, Los Angeles shines in dazzling technicolor. But these days even subtle, routine climate changes carry dangerous implications. Last Thursday I was in the middle of complimenting October on the fine job it had done to that point. Temperatures in the Coachella Valley had cooled to balmy 80s and 90s, and the mind-numbingly loud cicadas in my mesquite tree had moved on. Then the… Read more: a wall of wind and dust
  • i see you: retrospective on visual storytelling with dan bennett
    I’m always fascinated by the ways in which people tell stories, especially when they use an art form to connect with their audience. A few months back I was lucky enough to meet Dan Bennett, the Antipreneur. Dan’s background is in engineering (!) and video production, and he is a master at helping people translate their ideas into visual media. Dan was generous enough to chat with me online and share some of his magic. Here is the recording, followed by a timeline with links and notes. I hope you find a rabbit hole worth exploring further. If you’d like… Read more: i see you: retrospective on visual storytelling with dan bennett
  • the feed
    How exactly do we become us? “Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.” – Vince Lombardi We don’t do it alone. Other people give us models, ideas, and direct feedback that validates and challenges our thinking and behavior. Think back on a time when you were a kid, and someone said something that really got to you – it might have been a compliment, or it might have been a criticism, or… Read more: the feed
  • a tale of two teachers
    This is a description of last week in the life of two teachers. The second teacher is the one to remember. The first teacher is me Last week I accepted Ash Kaluarachchi‘s kind annual invitation to serve as a “shark” for startup founders at EdTech Week in New York City. It’s always great to see so many bright, dedicated people trying to solve problems and improve learning with innovative ideas. As usual, among all of the entrepreneurs, executives, consultants, creatives, advisors, and investors, I was the only currently practicing teacher. I listened to founders’ pitches and I helped them understand… Read more: a tale of two teachers
  • we belong
    The clerk at the 7-11 on Pacific Coast Highway smiled as I brought the coffee to the counter. “Where are you going at three o’ clock in the morning?” To my very first triathlon. I signed up for the Malibu Triathlon (1.5k ocean swim, 40k bike ride, and 10k run) as my first training event to prepare for the Indian Wells 70.3 Ironman in December. I pulled into the parking lot at Zuma Beach on Saturday at 4:14am. I asked around and found the check-in tent. Then I got my timing chip and race bib and made my way to… Read more: we belong
  • madeleine moment
    An average guy is having an average — no, make it a mediocre, even crappy day. He comes home and his mother gives him a little cake and tea. The experience blows his mind. In his words: “One day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been moulded in the… Read more: madeleine moment
  • make change
    Open-Source Learning represents a significant change in education. Gone are the syllabi. Gone are the textbooks. Gone are the days when teachers had to act like all-knowing content experts and sergeants-at-arms. Heraclitus, I believe, says that all things pass and nothing stays, and comparing existing things to the flow of a river, he says you could not step twice into the same river. -Plato One of my favorite things about working as a management consultant was that it gave me professional license to act like a five-year-old. No matter what a client said or did, I always got to ask:… Read more: make change
  • it’s too hot and this kitchen sucks
    You’ve probably heard the old saying: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” That idea was popularized by Harry S. Truman, who may have gotten it from a general or a judge. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect a president, general, or judge to say. It’s a challenge. A dare to rise to the occasion. Toughen up. That’s what it means to be an American. A man. An adult. It’s easy to see why the saying has endured. It’s a brief, powerful metaphor that effectively conveys assumptions about shared values and expected behaviors. BUT… What… Read more: it’s too hot and this kitchen sucks
  • mistaks were maid
    Last Tuesday, like most Tuesdays, I wrote my “Taste of Tuesday” email newsletter. I mentioned the attack on Salman Rushdie, whose book The Satanic Verses was published during my senior year of high school. Reading Rushdie’s work over the years made an impression on me. The attack made an even bigger impression. I don’t like the fact that America is an intolerant and violent country. When I wrote about Rushdie I made a mistake. I typed the year of Rushdie’s publication (and my own high school graduation) as 1998 (NINETY eight), instead of 1988 (EIGHTY eight). It was a minor… Read more: mistaks were maid
  • civil liberty
    Recently a teenager told me that he wanted to skip college and work as a journeyman electrician. His reason: “I just want to live my life and not have to answer to anyone.” I get it. But at some point he’ll realize, as Bob Dylan put it, that “You gotta serve somebody.” Or maybe he’ll see it more like Bill Withers: “We all need somebody to lean on.” 400 years ago John Donne said it best in a poem (from which Ernest Hemingway borrowed a line for a book title): “No man is an island.” We don’t operate well in… Read more: civil liberty
  • learning about longevity
    Open-Source Learning leverages the idea that we learn best from an expansive network of resources beyond the classroom. It’s a straightforward principle: If you want to fly, find a pilot and a plane. Open-Source Learning also helps us meet a variety of needs through learning. In order to make the most of this life, we must optimize our mental, physical, civic, spiritual, and technical fitness. Living a good life is about more than mastering subjects or getting good grades. Without Open-Source Learning, school is a tough place to build a quality of life that will sustain us for the long… Read more: learning about longevity
  • calling all teaching wolves by your name
    Last week I wrote about interdependence over independence, and this week I am launching the online Open-Source Learning community. Join the online Open-Source Learning community HERE. More than ever, I want everyone to understand that Open-Source Learning is a “we” thing – it is definitely not a “me” thing. I gave the name Open-Source Learning to a framework of ideas, strategies, and tactics that many, many people have used over thousands of years to help each other learn. WHAT’S IN A NAME? As Juliet points out in Act II, “It is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor… Read more: calling all teaching wolves by your name
  • happy interdependence day
    Happy Fourth of July. Independence Day. What a scam. I’m all for a party – I’m American! – but what exactly are we celebrating? The liberation of a few white colonists from King George? Freedom? No woman I know is celebrating being told what to do with her uterus. Equality? Prosperity? I’m going to celebrate Interdependence Day. I will light the grill and enjoy fireworks – I want to feed people I love and say “ooh” and “aah” with a bunch of people I don’t know. I will be grateful for everyone upon whom I depend, and for everyone who… Read more: happy interdependence day
  • Have the time of your life
    A Dissertation Turns 25 Twenty-five years ago this month I finished my doctoral dissertation and walked off the UCLA graduation stage with a Ph.D. To my knowledge, exactly no one – including me – has read that dissertation since. Today, on the 2022 Summer solstice, I’m opening the research time capsule. It turns out that the issues I raised are at least as important now as they were when I started my research. My focus was on how individuals perceive time, and how our perceptions of time contribute to both individual and organizational performance. I became interested in time when… Read more: Have the time of your life
  • What’s your why?
    Viktor Frankl‘s expertise as a psychiatrist and experience as a Holocaust survivor led him to this conclusion: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any how.” Today will bring you all sorts of unpleasant gifts. On a personal level, you will encounter people who are lazy, negative, and seemingly eager to drag you down with them. On a big picture level, you will doom scroll through the same headlines as yesterday: climate? check. coronavirus? check. poverty? check. racism? check. And so on. It’s a lot. We’ve all gone through a lot. Oy, have we gone through… Read more: What’s your why?
  • Giving learners the business
    Is promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in education a good thing?  Encouraging young people to develop and share their ideas seems like a good starting point for learning communities. But not every new idea is a good idea, and not every good idea should be monetized or made into a business.  Open-Source Learning champions passionate curiosity and putting ideas out into the world in ways that create value.  That is real entrepreneurship.   ________________________ GIVING LEARNERS THE BUSINESS My good friend and hero Jesse teaches collaborative special education programs for California high school students. Together they do things like build hi-tech gardens… Read more: Giving learners the business
  • today there was a shooting at a school
    [UPDATE 28MAY2022: 1. I took the picture above. My daughter Tara is holding the cello while friend/mentor/professional cellist Laura Ritchie makes music real for Tara’s classmates. It was a beautiful moment. Now we all have to live with the possibility that a moment just like this can be destroyed in a sudden hail of gunfire. 2. Every Tuesday I email a newsletter with a hodgepodge of ideas, resources, and a link to my weekly blog post. Last week, when we all were confronted with the news from Texas, it didn’t feel right to send out the newsletter, or even a… Read more: today there was a shooting at a school
  • Learning language from an expert
    It’s important to learn from the experts. My fourth grade teacher once gave us an essay assignment. His ended his instructions by telling us to write, “in your own words.” His phrasing threw me off. I remember thinking something along the lines of, Yeah, right. How about you select words that more precisely convey what you mean? Because if you really mean that I can actually choose my own words, you’re going to have to learn a whole new language. It would be another few years before my best friend would discover his dad’s copy of George Carlin’s A Place… Read more: Learning language from an expert
  • the fifth fitness
    Sunday night the sky was different. The moon was full and then it wasn’t. It got smaller and smaller, right before our eyes. Yours, mine, and everyone else’s – in that moment, everyone on the planet (who could see and chose to look) shared the experience. Our planet moved into the path of the sun’s light on the moon like a giant shadow puppet. As the sky darkened, the shadow turned the moon red – a “blood moon.” The result looked like an Isaac Asimov cover. Astronomical Empathy I’ve known all about eclipses since I was eight. I won my… Read more: the fifth fitness
  • to scratch or not to scratch
    I begin Open-Source Learning Academy meetings with mindfulness. I started the practice when I taught in the classroom, and I’ve used it online ever since. At the beginning of each new term, learners explore research about how mindfulness can support comprehension, concentration, and memory. Then we experiment. I set a timer for 60 seconds. We sit quietly and listen to our breath. Then we share our experience. Every time, almost everyone reports positive effects, which they describe with words like: lighter, calmer, more relaxed, mellow, focused, etc. Each time we do this experiment I am reminded of two things: Most… Read more: to scratch or not to scratch
  • Make me
    Teachers teach what they teach the way they teach because that’s how they’re trained. Teachers are hired to fulfill a specific job description, and they’re routinely threatened with dismissal and abuse if they deviate from the script. So why do parents and politicians so often complain and attempt to change what teachers do and say? A better question to ask is, Why can’t we all remember that what we do is only partly a function of free will, and mostly the result of what we think will get us the results we want? School and Story School is where we… Read more: Make me
  • take a hike
    Classroom management is a billion-dollar business. Books, consultants, conferences – oh my! Today’s marketing rhetoric about classroom management includes phrases like “building students up instead of breaking them down,” but the reality remains the same. According to one popular website that I refuse to link, “Many teachers today are asking for help, they want to know how to quiet a noisy classroom.” Management is the practice of manipulating individuals to behave in ways that support organizational goals. In the classroom, management means subjugating individual students for the purpose of maintaining the illusion of control. Learning is a highly individualized experience.… Read more: take a hike
  • because i said so
    We’ve all heard it from at least one parent or teacher: “Because I said so.” On one hand, “because I said so” is an epic fail, a signal that an authority figure is lazy or bankrupt. That’s all you got? When I was a kid I didn’t respect adults who couldn’t provide reasons to support their claims. Flip the script. Can you imagine accepting “because I said so” as sufficient evidence from a learner? It would be the end of the essay: The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock in The Great Gatsby symbolizes money, (lost) opportunity, and… Read more: because i said so
  • Physical fitness is for lead learners too
    Part of my job as a Lead Learner is to model how we can find, analyze, evaluate, and use the best information out there. Here’s an example: a post about physical fitness that I shared with students during the pandemic. ______________________ This page provides some basic information about physical fitness, one of the five fitnesses of Open-Source Learning. It also comes with a story. If you want to skip the story and get right to the practices, scroll down for a no-gear workout plan, and (coming soon) information on nutrition and sleep. In Open-Source Learning, the teacher, trainer, or organizational… Read more: Physical fitness is for lead learners too
  • Giving school the finger
    School can be a cruel, abusive place. We greatly underestimate the commitment and care with which students try to navigate school in order to succeed. This week on Twitter friends pinged me about the trials they endured to graduate and get on with their learning lives: Yes, I do. Here’s one. More than 5,000 students attended the high school where I taught in Los Angeles. There were hundreds of suspensions, expulsions, and arrests each year.  The Los Angeles Police Department ran a substation on campus. There was a child care center for the students’ children. The 12-foot chain link fences were… Read more: Giving school the finger
  • the osl white paper
    Hee is  the white paper I wrote for my school district in March 2020. Please feel free to discuss it with your learning community.          
  • Successful failure to disrupt with webinar guest Justin Reich
    Many thanks to Justin Reich for taking time to talk with me about his book Failure to Disrupt, his research in education technology, and his views on where we go from here. Watch the video and scroll/click through the links below. Enjoy!   00:02 Open-Source Learning 00:49 Justin Reich 00:58 Failure to Disrupt 02:56 Clay Shirky 02:58 Sal Khan 03:28 Clayton Christensen 03:35 disruptive innovation 07:07 Inscription at UCLA’s Royce Hall: Education is learning to use the tools which the race has found indispensable. 07:33 Morgan Ames on charismatic technology 07:53 Tinkering Toward Utopia by David Tyack and Larry Cuban… Read more: Successful failure to disrupt with webinar guest Justin Reich
  • there is a better breakfast burrito
    I am a recovering perfectionist. When I click “Publish” and this post goes live on the blog that bears my name, I will not be happy with it. “It could have been so much better,” I’ll think, “If only I’d spent more time and energy making it so.” But I will still click “Publish.”  We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Our fears of judgement, criticism, and ridicule can’t prevent us from sharing our ideas and creations out in the open. That is how we can improve and refine our thinking. Because, if we’re lucky, some… Read more: there is a better breakfast burrito
  • The Five Fitnesses of Open-Source Learning
    Today’s post is a grateful response to those of you who have recently asked about the Five Fitnesses of Open-Source Learning. A couple years ago I recorded a brief explainer video – here it is! If you’d like more information please Contact Me.
  • We are all born learners
    You were born to do this. Our awareness of the world and our place in it is fueled by a natural sense of inquisitiveness and curiosity. When we encourage this motivation we discover that our capabilities extend far beyond the limits of school and work. School does many things well, but it wasn’t built for today’s culture or technology. No one is at fault, but all of us are responsible. The one-to-many, textbook-based classroom broadcast is over. It’s our job to create new, innovative opportunities. Learners must solve problems, identify opportunities, and create value even as they face an increasingly… Read more: We are all born learners
  • goals are for giving
    It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of America, or soccer, or American soccer – this was a great goal, and the reaction is EPIC: It all makes no sense. Dudes: you just won. You’ve been running around all day. Isn’t this a good time to relax and kick back? Soccer players run more in a game than you do in a month. These players finally win, the game is over, and what do they do? Catch their breath? Nope. They freak out! Run around, arms in the air, jumping all over each other. I can feel it. Watching that… Read more: goals are for giving
  • Baby you can drive my car
    Parents: Do you love your children? Teachers: Do you want to help your students? Of course you do. So stop trying to protect them. Give them the tools and autonomy that will empower them to protect themselves. The threats are real: misinformation, racism/sexism/ismism, predatory economics and politics. We can’t control the forces that seek to divide our communities. We can only control our response. This is personal. My daughter is nearly 13. Soon enough she’ll be driving, dating, going off to college. When she learns to drive, I will not be able to clear the road or remove the threat… Read more: Baby you can drive my car
  • 5 reasons the world needs the lit af podcast
    There are approximately a bazillion podcasts out there, so it’s fair to wonder whether the world needs another one. I say it does. Here’s why: Toni Morrison was right. Literature deserves better. We deserve better. Sushi and country music. Learning and Web3. 1. Toni Morrison was right Toni Morrison observed, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Technically, Morrison’s use of the word must is a modal verb. It’s an indication of an obligation and not exactly a command. But I can’t shake the idea. To me it’s… Read more: 5 reasons the world needs the lit af podcast
  • Webinar retrospective: chris carfi on Web3
    When I think lifelong learning, I think Chris Carfi (@ccarfi). Chris and I have been friends for more than a decade – and I learn something new every time we talk. (Among many other things, Chris is the man who taught me that there’s a word for that lovely, earthy smell after it rains: petrichor.) Chris has a superpower that is all the more valuable because it seems so scarce in Silicon Valley. Even though he has decades of experience (both hands-on and executive) in tech, Chris knows what he doesn’t know. Last fall Chris called me with an idea:… Read more: Webinar retrospective: chris carfi on Web3
  • webinar guest: chris carfi
    Last fall, my good friend Chris Carfi came up with a terrific idea. “David,” he said, “I have a Web3 idea that I’d like to turn into an Open-Source Learning journey.” Over the next few months, Chris did a deep dive into: NFTs DAOs Ways in which Web3 might be able to transcend the “rich-get-richer” legacies of 1.0 and 2.0. The jury is still out and the question matters more than ever. Next Tuesday at noon (Pacific Standard Time), Chris – who is now Head of Marketing at Unlock Protocol – will join me for a webinar to share what… Read more: webinar guest: chris carfi
  • You can’t win if you don’t learn to read
    Re/Connecting People, the Written Word, and the Delight of Discovery. Everyone must learn to read. You can’t get anywhere in this world if you can’t read. Whatever else you do in life, you will have to navigate a world of contracts, warranties, and user agreements. Reading is essential to surviving and thriving in today’s world. “Learn to read” is different than “go to school” or “do your homework.” To read well, you have to love to read.  To do anything really well, you have to love it at least enough to keep going when it gets difficult. This is why… Read more: You can’t win if you don’t learn to read
  • What’s your big question?
    This week I’m dipping into the archives. When I taught, I took time with each new class to discuss the power of asking questions, so that learners could identify their own Big Question and launch an original interdisciplinary exploration. The following post was originally published at Dr. Preston’s English Literature & Composition 2013-2014. The original is still there, and it’s worth a click to read the students’ Big Questions in the comments. Enjoy. And please feel free to Contact Me with questions of your own. -dp The single most powerful motivator for learning is an open question.  What’s yours? Traditional… Read more: What’s your big question?
  • Making the cut
    “You Don’t Get It” The single biggest problem in America today is our lack of understanding. We are not going to solve the environment, the economy, the government, or anything else unless we can comprehend, communicate, analyze, evaluate, and act on big ideas. A lot of ink has been spilled about empathy – there’s even a section about it in this very post – but the bigger issue is our inability to think. We are way too focused on feeling, and believing, and our capacity for abstraction is painfully underdeveloped. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than… Read more: Making the cut
  • Learning on web3
    Happy New Year! 2022 promises to be a(nother) dynamic year in education. Our environment, our culture, and the coronavirus continue to evolve, and we must adapt. Open-Source Learning is based on systemic interaction between us as individuals, our immediate network, and our surroundings – what is happening out there that may enrich our experience? Learners are creating more value than ever. As the Open-Source Learning Academy launches its spring season, I’m looking at Web3. Blockchains and distributed ledgers have been on my mind for a while. In 2018 I traveled (oh, those were the days!) to M.I.T. and spoke at… Read more: Learning on web3
  • IF only
    This is a time of year for looking back and looking ahead. So, as we reflect and predict, let’s look at learning through a different lens. Educational institutions love acronyms, so here’s one: IF. Imagination. Faith. What IF, just for a moment, we forgot everything we thought we knew about education research, and instead based everything students do in school on imagination and faith? “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” -George Bernard Shaw It’s not an unreasonable question. Rather than quantifying or coding data in an effort… Read more: IF only
  • You’ve got mail (until we take it away)
    THE PROBLEM I receive an email. I open it and keep it in my Inbox for future reference. It’s mine, right? Wrong. A REAL-TIME EXAMPLE Last Thursday, I opened Microsoft Outlook email. I use that account to collaborate with administrators in a school district where I advise an Open-Source Learning Academy program. But instead of my Inbox, I was greeted with this: I tried other devices and other browsers. No luck. I was locked out. I texted a friend in the school district’s IT department for help. He couldn’t figure it out. So I called and emailed another former colleague… Read more: You’ve got mail (until we take it away)
  • Two dogs & the nature of story
    The most important conflict narrative to understand is the one within ourselves. The idea of discipline as it’s presented in school is a perversion, a cruel joke designed to reinforce hierarchical authority and power. Discipline isn’t what others do to you.  Discipline is what you develop in yourself as a driving force that guides your decisions and actions.  Open-Source Learning provides learners the space, time, and opportunity to develop their own sense of discipline.  Given the opportunity, some students immediately take the reins and perform better than ever.  Some fall on their faces in full view of their colleagues.  Either… Read more: Two dogs & the nature of story
  • Teaching human subjects
    Schools promote ideas like “lifelong learning” and “the whole child.” But most courses still focus on content. As a result, students graduate without learning about: the economy the internet their own minds We are raising veal for the rodeo. We need to teach people, not subjects. Students are passive. Learners are active. Successful participants in a global economy are badass. You can’t win if you don’t play. So stop raising your hand and get in the game. Grow your capacity through Open-Source Learning’s five categories of fitness: Mental Physical Civic Spiritual Technological I recorded this brief explainer in June, 2020.… Read more: Teaching human subjects
  • How’s that sound?
    Previously, I wrote about how terroir affects our learning and what we can do to improve the physical design of our learning spaces. In those posts I considered our visual and tactile experience of learning spaces. What about acoustic design? Learning is challenging enough when you can hear what’s being said. But when the course material you’re trying to understand sounds like a mumbled recording of a garbled drive-through speaker played over an airport public address system, the experience is simply painful. The Problem We often personalize sub-optimal situations in learning. Instead of properly locating the issue, we blame each… Read more: How’s that sound?
  • Re(des)ign of terroir (part two): 7 ways to hack your headspace
    You would think that school spaces would be designed to optimize learning. You would be wrong. School spaces are most often lessons in how not to design for learning. I once taught a course on organizational team building for grad students in the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. We were scheduled in an austere room in the Math Sciences building, where the desks faced the front of the room in rows. Someone had bolted them to the floor. Students couldn’t turn to face each other. I couldn’t move more than a few steps without the students twisting in their… Read more: Re(des)ign of terroir (part two): 7 ways to hack your headspace
  • Reign of terroir (part one)
    There are green chiles, and then there are Hatch, New Mexico green chiles. There are tomatoes, there are Roma tomatoes, there are San Marzano tomatoes, and then there are the Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino from the Sarno Valley. If you cannot tell the difference, you are not allowed to make a Vera Pizza Napolitana. Ask anyone who is certified by the Associazione: the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius impart a taste, no… a feel… I actually don’t know what it is. But those tomatoes are the bomb. If you ever want to wind someone up and… Read more: Reign of terroir (part one)
  • A few bad apples
    The classroom conversation took place in 2014 but I remember it like it was yesterday: “OMG Dr. Preston that’s so cliché…” Huh? I looked up from my desk to see one of my most successful seniors – who gained admission to Princeton, University of Michigan, UCSD, and UCSB, and earned a full ride at Ohio Wesleyan – staring at the apple next to my laptop. I laughed and said, “You have got to be kidding me. Are you seriously profiling that apple because I’m a teacher? Can you imagine walking up to a member of any other group and talking… Read more: A few bad apples
  • EdTech of the dead
    Every reference I can find for the etymology of the word technology has to do with, “art, skill, or craft.” Technique comes from the same root. Any system of making or doing requires qualities such as dedication, skill, and patience. Technique/technology may or may not involve tools. But whenever I hear people talk about education technology, they focus on the latest software that promises to accelerate learning. Halloween Tech In this way, EdTech is a lot like Halloween Tech. On Halloween, people dress up as something they’re not and demand treats for their effort. We act as if the ritual… Read more: EdTech of the dead
  • Declare your digital interdependence (O…SLAP!)
    Going online these days is like walking through a trade show in an office building full of corporate lobbies. While you’re trying to decide where to do your business – Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon – banner ads and pop ups constantly compete for your attention. You can’t read two paragraphs before something blocks your view and you have to find the tiny icon to close the window but then the phone glitches or the video moves and now you’re on another URL which shifts your search history algorithm… I’ve heard it said that the internet is basically a series of… Read more: Declare your digital interdependence (O…SLAP!)
  • A language lesson from the dead
    Headline-Induced Whiplash Last week this headline hijacked my attention: “Southlake school leader tells teachers to balance Holocaust books with ‘opposing’ views.” What? No. HELL, NO. Apart from the stunning ignorance, and the moral and ethical problems with the statement, the fact that this mandate came from a school district director of curriculum – who was not immediately fired for saying it – reveals a critical feature/bug in the hierarchical power structure of education. Open-Source Learning shifts the balance and brings learning relationships out into the sunlight. In Open-Source Learning, the learner is at the top of the org chart. Teachers… Read more: A language lesson from the dead
  • Turn into the skid
    On a rainy winter night in 1987, when I was a senior in high school, I drove my parents’ Oldsmobile sedan “over the hill” from the San Fernando Valley to visit my girlfriend at her UCLA dorm room. On my way home I totaled the family car. More on that in a few paragraphs. There Is No Back to Normal I cringe when I hear people talk about “getting back to normal” after the pandemic. There is no undoing change. You can change again, but you can’t change back. Associating yesterday’s familiarity with safety and security is understandable – it’s… Read more: Turn into the skid
  • We eat social media for breakfast
    How we engage with social media continues to increase influence our economy, our social and political culture, and our personal lives.   Open-Source Learning invites us to consider and reconsider how we engage with our devices, platforms, and software. Self-awareness has become more important than ever. An entire generation is growing up on the screen. Where is the parental guidance or any authoritative expertise that might mitigate the effects of addiction or gullibility.  Whatever else you think is responsible for the Presidential election of 2016, the impact of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter on our democracy is undeniable. … Read more: We eat social media for breakfast
  • Your phone is not a book
    Thinking about data Last Wednesday I was preparing to meet with the Open-Source Learning Academy online. I wanted to get everyone thinking about data, and I had a question to start the conversation: Is a song the same song whether it’s performed live, played on vinyl (78, 45, 33 1/3), 8-track tape, cassette tape, CD, or streamed as an .mp3 or other digital format? Is it the same song when it’s played aloud in shared company, or experienced alone in a car, or a shower, or on headphones or earbuds? In other words: Does the medium change the message? Is… Read more: Your phone is not a book
  • (Endless) Summer Reading: 5 ways you can choose better learning software
    This is part of a series of articles about how we can reimagine learning for next year and beyond. To get the next article delivered automatically to your inbox, click HERE. Software defined I searched the term “software definition” on duckduckgo and here’s what came up: “The programs, routines, and symbolic languages that control the functioning of the hardware and direct its operation.” By that definition, our opinions, habits, morning routines, and the language we use are all software. These mental maps influence our decisions, drive our actions and behaviors, and create patterns – which in turn reinforce our mental… Read more: (Endless) Summer Reading: 5 ways you can choose better learning software
  • Back to School Not
    I’m not going back to school. No one should. At least, not back to the way school used to be. We need to move forward. We need to do better than whatever we thought school was before the pandemic. In 2004, I started leading traditional high school and university courses as Open-Source Learning networks. Participants co-created interdisciplinary experiences in which they integrated the information, people, and tools they needed to succeed. It was challenging in all the best ways. The Open-Source Learning experience is very different than the school experience. OSL participants consider their identities, their roles in the learning… Read more: Back to School Not
  • Hack to School Night
    THE IDEA Back to School Night usually sucks. It’s the product of conversations [“Hola mijo, how was your day at school?” “Fine.” “What did you do?” “Nothing.” “Who did you eat lunch with?” “No one.” “What did you learn?” “Nothing.”] that can turn parents into detectives and teachers into tattletales. Rather than speak for passive students, I want to help active learners speak for themselves. I’ve been facilitating student-led conferences since 2004. The basic idea is for students to prepare answers to specific questions about their learning. Then they provide those answers in response to the people who care about… Read more: Hack to School Night
  • Learning without a ceiling
    A high school student turned her classmates loose in the wild to teach us all about nature, engineering, and ourselves. This is one of my favorite Open-Source Learning memories, from a post I originally published on a course blog. dp Over Memorial Day Weekend 2014 my daughter and I joined the Steller Family Science Expedition in Yosemite National Park.  Melissa Steller, her father Mark, family friend Josh, 26 colleagues in learning, and a talented, dedicated team of NatureBridge educators created an experience I’ll never forget.  Educators/chaperones/teenagers–>human beings–> members of a network–> teammates. The Call to Adventure We aim high. But… Read more: Learning without a ceiling
  • 2021-22 OSLA pre-launch
    Every once in a while, I pause and think to myself: “This moment. The moment I’m in. It’s the most recent, most modern moment in my life. This is the moment all the other moments have led me to.” In this moment, I am creating the menu for the first few weeks of the 2021-22 Open-Source Learning Academy. I don’t know yet which learners will be there, or what Big Questions they will ask, or what Key Interests they will pursue… but I do know that our conversations and choices will lead us to discoveries, experiences, and skills that will… Read more: 2021-22 OSLA pre-launch
  • “I Watch the Watchmen” Ignite Talk from CLS
    Today I participated in the grand finale of the 2021 Connected Learning Summit virtual conference. What an amazing experience! The ignite talks were the same speakers and topics that kicked off the conference at the beginning of July. But: they weren’t the same at all. After learning my way through the month-long CLS experience, the information was much richer. Each presenter is doing powerful work and I’m grateful to learn about it. Since my camera didn’t cooperate today, participants got to see my slides but not me. So, this afternoon I created a “home-brew” version. Now you can watch me… Read more: “I Watch the Watchmen” Ignite Talk from CLS
  • Virtual Talk for Connected Learning Summit
    Here is a timeline of annotated notes, images, and links for the “Build Your Own Open-Source Learning Network” talk I gave at the 2021 Connected Learning Summit. You watch/listen to the recording and scroll to items of interest, or you can skip the video and read the notes by themselves. If you have questions, comments, or you’d like more information about anything you see here, please let me know. 00:00:02 Clowdr 00:00:17 Open-Source Learning Network sample 00:01:05 “Spaces between the notes” 00:01:39 ACADEMY OF ONE 00:01:53 Contact me for a discount on the book or to arrange book clubs and… Read more: Virtual Talk for Connected Learning Summit
  • Summer reading: the 7 elements of open-source learning
    This is the first in a series of summer reading articles about how we can reimagine learning for next year and beyond. To get the next article delivered automatically to your inbox, click HERE. ____________ We made it through the Pandemic School Year. It’s time for your summer reading pleasure. Cue Alice Cooper. It’s time to forget about school and enjoy the summer. To paraphrase Alice: “No more learning management systems, no more surveillance software…” This is the perfect time to learn from our experiences and consider how we’d like to see learning happen next year. Spring semester may be… Read more: Summer reading: the 7 elements of open-source learning
  • what if you could see an audio recording?
    Recently I co-hosted a few Open-Source Learning chats on Clubhouse with my good friend Chris Carfi. At our last chat, we were visited by Raven, a very talented visual note taker. Here is how Raven heard/ saw/ imagined the exchange:
  • Retrospective: Jamy Ian Swiss on critical thinking, scientific skepticism, and the magic of learning
    It’s one thing to spend time in the company of an artist, a master craftsman, and an uncompromising intellectual; in this conversation, Jamy takes things to a whole ‘nother level. The man is a mensch. Thanks once again to Jamy, acclaimed magician and author of The Conjurer’s Conundrum, for taking time to share his perspectives on critical thinking, scientific skepticism, and the magic of learning/ learning of magic.  We were joined by learners who work with me, Jamy’s publishers, attendees from Japan, Canada, New York, Ireland, and – in a historic first – my son’s room down the hall. Here… Read more: Retrospective: Jamy Ian Swiss on critical thinking, scientific skepticism, and the magic of learning
  • Jamy Ian Swiss on critical thinking, scientific skepticism, and the magic of learning
    I’m excited to present an opportunity to learn from Jamy Ian Swiss, author of The Conjurer’s Conundrum. On May 18 at 2:00pm PDT, Jamy will join me for a webinar featuring empathy, honest deception, critical thinking, and scientific skepticism. There is space for 100 attendees, and you can register by clicking HERE. You can also read more about the event and Jamy below. If you’d like to contribute questions in advance, please send them along, and if you have a schedule conflict, don’t worry – let me know and I’ll send you a link in coming weeks with the recording… Read more: Jamy Ian Swiss on critical thinking, scientific skepticism, and the magic of learning
  • Meet the 5PH1NX
    [NOTE:  This is one from the archives. I originally wrote this on December 27, 2012 as a draft of a chapter for the Peeragogy Handbook. Today I dusted it off when a colleague asked for ideas. Cracks me up to remember that everyone who interviewed me in the early days of Open-Source Learning worried that I might get fired for encouraging students to use the public internet. Enjoy. dp]       5PH1NX: 5tudent Peer Heuristic for 1Nformation eXchange   (A slightly transmedia use case in peeragogical assessment.)     David Preston, Ph.D. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Over the last several decades,… Read more: Meet the 5PH1NX
  • The fern & the volcano
    Sometimes our environment seems harsh. We fear that the new ideas we plant in this organization/economy/culture – and especially in schools – aren’t likely to survive. And yet, every day, a seemingly unlikely innovation seems to take root and gather momentum. How does this happen? We’re told that success follows a special quality of the idea, or the founder, but the real magic is in the conditions that make growth possible. Good news: optimal growth conditions aren’t unique to someone else. We’re living in the same environment. If you know where to look, you can find the information, the people,… Read more: The fern & the volcano
  • Retrospective: the ungrading webinar
    Wow. Thank you to Aaron Blackwelder, Laura Gibbs, and Jesse Stommel, extraordinary educators and contributing authors of Ungrading, for taking time to think out loud about learning. 115 people registered for the event, and most – including learners who work with me – showed up, representing 28 states as well as Canada, Ireland, and South Africa. Over two hours of conversation and presentation, we explored many topics, and attendees enriched the experience by contributing to the chat.  Special thanks to David Buck for his contributions and ongoing advocacy for #ungrading! Together, everyone created a wonderful dialogue and a library of… Read more: Retrospective: the ungrading webinar
  • Ungrading: the webinar
    I’m excited to present an opportunity to learn from three outstanding educators and contributing authors of the book UNGRADING. Next Wednesday, February 3, at 10:30A, Laura Gibbs, Aaron Blackwelder, and Jesse Stommel will join for a webinar featuring a panel discussion and brief presentations of strategies we all can use. There is space for 100 attendees, and you can register by clicking HERE. You can also read more about the event and Laura, Aaron, and Jesse below. If you teach or have a schedule conflict, don’t worry – let me know and I’ll send you a link in coming weeks… Read more: Ungrading: the webinar
  • ACADEMY OF ONE is available for purchase
    I’m proud to announce that ACADEMY OF ONE is available for purchase from publisher Rowman & Littlefield or wherever you like to buy your books. I hope that the book inspires you – we need Open-Source Learning innovation now more than ever, and I’m excited to start the conversation! Please feel free to contact me to discuss further.