What Am I Working On Now?

What are you thinking about lately? What are you working on? What are the possibilities and issues that you consider as you fall asleep, travel to and from work, or when you have some free time? What are the themes, questions, challenges, and opportunities that seem to haunt you (possibly in a good way)? People ask me these questions often, so I thought I would put an answer in writing, something that I update periodically.

Fostering a Deep and Large-scale Value for Civil Discourse and Living with Difference -The emphasis upon power over open and candid discourse may be one of our most critical issues in modern public life. How can we model and promote civil discourse, remaining true to our convictions, and living among people with diverse beliefs and values?

What am I doing about it?

I’m learning as much as I can right now. I’m looking for small ways that I can contribute to the cause, and certainly open to connecting with people and organizations who have compelling approaches to addressing this.

Wonder & Awe– What is the role of wonder and awe in learning and personal transformation?

I’m conducting a literature review on wonder and awe. I’m working on a few writing projects, and I’m trying to secure the funding and build a “Wonder Lab” research team at Birdhouse Learning Labs to explore this further. Subscribe here to get updates on this project.

The Future of Credentials in Society – What are the affordances and limitations of current credentials. How do we overcome credentialism? What are promising and potential futures for credentials?

What am I doing about it?

I’m working on a book about this topic called The Lincoln Test. I’m also finishing up a book called Learning Beyond Letter Grades that is more about grading and assessment, but was the starting point for my early exploration of credentials. I do not yet have a publisher for either project.

Methodological and Philosophical Pathways in Schools – The school within a school model is increasingly commonplace, allowing traditional schools to create tracks and sub-communities that have a particular emphasis like project-based learning, performing arts, STEM, classical education, etc. I’m pondering the potential application for higher education as well.

What am I doing about it?

I’m working with a group of people at my University to propose a new model that allows students to identify and select courses on the basis of methodological and philosophical approaches like great texts, experiential learning, and service learning. I’m studying and learning about others who are doing this well. I’m striving to better understand the affordances and limitations of various approaches to this.

As part of this, I am doing early research and trying to secure funding for travel as part of a book that will profile inspiring micro schools around the world.

Advertising Wars in Education – The advertising wars in higher education are more problematic than many realize. How can we reallocate that money to benefit students, and what we can do about it through design thinking, entrepreneurship, policies, or other methods?

What am I doing about it?

I’m not doing much. I have this idea of creating a competition that will offer a cash prize to teams of individuals who offer creative solutions to this problem and demonstrate it with a prototype that meets specific criteria. Subscribe at Birdhouse Learning Labs to stay informed about this.

Education on Mars and Beyond

I’m intrigued by questions about how emerging technologies like AI will transform work, life, and as a result, education.

What am I doing about it?

I’m reading, writing, thinking, and interviewing people. I’m also experimenting with and socializing different community-based models for ongoing and lifelong learning, with this future of work and life frame in mind.

Big Data & Algorithms 

I”m surveying largely unchartered territory. I’m frequently lost, persistently intrigued, and utterly convinced that this is one of the most transformative educational innovations of our generation.