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How bad is it?

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in General | No Comments

I was thinking about Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs this morning while reading about the latest set of of dire budget projections for the school district of Philadelphia. This on the heels of Tuesday’s SRC meeting to discuss the continuing problem of school violence.

Resources, safety, and security. For all of the hard work put in by teachers, principals, district staff, volunteers and community partners over the years, the system is still struggling to meet its most basic needs.…

The design thinking trend

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in General | No Comments

There has been a growing interest in recent years in the application of “design thinking” to education. For example, IDEO, a design firm that has been a leader in design thinking, has produced media and materials aimed directly at educators.

The basic concept of design thinking is straightforward: conceptualize a problem, brainstorm possible solutions in as open and creative of a way as possible, and tinker/invent/try/fail/evaluate until you get to a solution that solves your problem.…

Teaching Students to Change the World

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in General | No Comments

One of the great joys and challenges of working with young people is they don’t know what they don’t know. Thankfully, this is usually not expressed in arrogance, but rather it is seen in their hopeful idealism. Youth, more so than any other time of life, is a period of idealism.…

We have a new website!

Posted by on Jan 14, 2012 in General | One Comment

At long last, the Sustainability Workshop has a new website!

There are many improvements to note. The Workshop Blog is now fully integrated with the rest of the site. There are links to all recent media about us. You can also read more about our approach to teaching and learning, and some of the amazing projects our students are currently working on.…

A great democrat

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in General | No Comments

There will be many thoughtful and well-written obituaries written today about Christopher Hitchens, who died yesterday. As an educator, what I find myself thinking about today is this:

He was a great democratic (small d) citizen. He cared deeply about human suffering. He held strong views about virtually everything, but above all his moral conviction was to honest, thoughtful engagement with the world in all of its brutality, and sometimes even in all of its beauty.…

Charters and innovation

Posted by on Nov 28, 2011 in General | No Comments

As those who have followed our efforts over the years know, we have for some time entertained the idea of starting a charter school. And if you asked me today how we planned to go from being a program for high school seniors (which is what we are now) to being a full high school, I’d tell you the charter route is still probably the most likely option (though we are open to others).…

Helping kids become “antifragile”

Posted by on Nov 1, 2011 in General | No Comments

I’m reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb again. It is always a bit mind-bending. (And more than a bit uncomfortable since it invariably leads me to wonder whether most education research is simply worthless. But that’s for a different post.)

Taleb’s most recent popular work (his technical work is beyond me) focuses on a concept he calls antifragility.…

Questions for a rainy Thursday

Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in General | No Comments

Things I’ve been thinking a lot about of late, both for the Workshop and more generally:

  1. It is commonly assumed that education is central to economic advancement, especially for those coming from lower income backgrounds, and with good reason. But when and why did it become received wisdom that test scores were a proxy for education within this bigger conversation?

Last day to vote for the Workshop!

Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in General | No Comments

Just a final reminder that this is the last day to vote for us in the Ashoka Changemakers competition. Tell your friends, loved ones, colleagues, sympathetic looking strangers……

For all your free time…

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in General | No Comments

I keep finding articles I want our community to read; I’m going to start posting them here under the tag “for all your free time.”