If you were to create a space where learning would happen the way it does on the Internet, what would it look like? That’s what Monika Hardy has been thinking about and doing for the last four years. And now she is working with a group of people to produce a book about their work at the Innovation Lab.
Monika has begun to co-host Teachers Teaching Teachers over the past several weeks. She has modeled listening without an agenda and welcomed many new, inspiring voices to the show. On this episode Monika and her colleagues, Amy Lewark (with her son) and Jodhbir Singh have a conversation about the topics they are writing bout in their “quiet revolution.” Please take some time to read the text. They would love comments.
This is what Monika wrote recently on her own learning about learning on Lab Connections:
Previous to the last few years, I have been tinkering with teaching math within the public school system. Alongside, I have been listening to people, kids in particular, but all ages. A common thread, most people often share a sense of stress. They talk about being anxious for the end of the school/work day, or the end of the school/work week, or summer, or graduation, etc.
About 4 years ago, because of my reading so much of Seth Godin, I joined his online Triiibe. It was there that I met up with a small group discussing school. From that group I connected with one person in particular. We spent the next 6 months skyping, practically 24/7. We had so many similar ideas about life, school, stress. It felt like I learned more in that 6 months than I had in the previous years of my life. Whether or not it was more, it was most definitelydifferent. I think I can describe it best as a learning from my soul. It was something I couldn’t not do. I was hungry, craving to know more and more. How could we change up the way we spend the hours in our days?
That relationship/learning spurred in me three things in particular, that has been ongoing for the last four years now: a reading frenzy; a revolution of thinking facilitated by twitter; and an intense listening to youth.
Two years ago, kids crafted/designed a four year plan of disruption, while piloting a self-directed math course. [If you’re so inclined, see a bird’s eye viewof that unfolding, and/or more specifics to that first pilot year of self-directed math.]
We just finished year one of the four year plan (2010-2011). The Innovation Lab was a space within a public highschool, where 50 kids from the district (all ages, but mostly highschool, and mostly the highschool where we were located) came for one or more classes to practice/experiment with self-directed learning per passion, rather than curriculum/standards. We dabbled in game design, portugese, permaculture, homelessness, human trafficking, sign language, hebrew, dog training, neuroscience, pedagogy.