Future of Learning Top Reads for week of Aug 19 2019

This week’s trio of recommended readings form an interlocking triad:

  • When we lead, we create the conditions for people to make new (better) choices…

  • …And when those choices include connecting outside of [departments, divisions, schools, networks, industry] we nurture the conditions for innovation…

  • …And when we navigate—by designthat innovation landscape, we build capacity for growth.

Read on for the details.


“Leadership,” by Seth Godin, on Seth’s Blog

“Leaders create the conditions where people choose new actions.

“The choices are voluntary. They’re made by people who see a new landscape, new opportunities and new options.

“You can’t make people change. But you can create an environment where they choose to.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Metaphors matter: the best leaders aren’t chess masters moving individual pieces or engineers building machinery.

The best leaders are more like gardeners, who cultivate soil, ensure access to sunlight, water, and nutrients, and who weed and prune and eliminate pests.

That is, they create and sustain the conditions under which people will want to make new—and better—choices.

This form of leadership culminates in culture = strategy, because culture is what people choose to do when nobody is telling them what to choose to do (credit: Eric Ries).

…Speaking of investing in the creation of

conditions for others to make new choices…


“Spreading Good Ideas Through the EE Ford Foundation,” by John Gulla, in Independent School Magazine

“We need to establish better connections with each other. Like a 21st century independent school Johnny Appleseed, I find myself distributing Golden Delicious seeds of ‘global citizenship,’ nurtured through projects pursued at urban coastal schools, to rural schools in the Midwest or South pursuing similar goals but via as yet inchoate means, and offering hybrid Honeycrisp/Granny Smiths of project-based programs or inquiry-based curriculum in Deweyan schools in exchange for McIntoshes of ‘entrepreneurialism’ to other ‘outcome-based’ schools. It is this third point—how can we better share our good ideas throughout the independent school world?—that is increasingly a focus for the E.E. Ford board.”

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

New choices can only emerge when we realize that new choices are available.

The EE Ford Foundation, led by Executive Director John Gulla, has systematically invested in identifying, funding, and spreading the word about new choices under investigation by other independent schools.

…So how might your school take advantage of the

wealth of innovations already out there?…


“Working and Learning Out Loud,” by Harold Jarche, on jarche.com

“Working out loud is a way to ensure others know what you are doing and to be conscious of your own work. It is being mindful of your work and how it may influence others. But working out loud is nothing if there is no time taken for reflection. Learning out loud takes you to a different level, one that may seem even more precarious. It’s sharing your half-baked ideas with the world. But these ideas, combined with others over time, can build a resilient web of innovation.”


Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Some people prefer to focus on their work. If their school’s organizational design is grounded in diverse teams and if the organizational culture promotes sharing across departments, good ideas will spread. As Jarche’s model shows, this is the world of “work & projects,” where people “share complex knowledge” while being “deadline driven.” This the English teacher who borrows an assessment model or an approach to discussion from the Math teacher, and so on.

Others prefer to toggle between their work team and “communities of practice” exploring innovations outside of their school. These people want to “test new ideas in a trusted space.” They are often on Twitter engaging with educators from around the world.

Finally, a select few will hunger for a “diversity of ideas, opinions, and perspectives” that require them to look not just outside their organizations, but even outside their industry. They participate in “professional social networks” where, say, an educator might seek to glean ideas from, say, a social entrepreneur.

Does your school have people in each cohort? How fertile is your soil for the circulation of ideas and questions from one group to the next?


Question of the week:

File_001 (4).png


Thank you for reading this post from Basecamp's blog, Ed:Future. Do you know someone who would find the Ed:Future blog worthwhile reading? Please let them know that they can subscribe here.

Christian Talbot