XQ Quantum Connected Learning Team Invite

November 11, 2015

Dear friends and colleagues,

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller

We need your thinking to create a “Quantum-Connected” learning team.

Laurene Jobs has committed $50 million to support at least  5 designs that reimagine and redesign the next American high school.”  It’s been dubbed “XQ: The Super School Project”.

http://xqsuperschool.org/challenge

If you know me, you know that I am passionate about learning.

I’m reaching out to you today because whether or not you are directly involved in the world of education, I know you share a passion for helping cause learning as well.

So what does this have to do with Laurene Jobs, $50 million and your thinking?

We’re putting together a proposal to submit for the XQ.  But it won’t be for the design of a super, wonderful high school.  If we try to innovate and create the very best school possible, we would end up with ... a school -- maybe even a great school; but a school.

If we try to create the best way for any learner, anywhere to learn and achieve at the highest possible levels at anytime, I think we will discover something spectacular and mind-expanding— but it won’t be a geographically situated school that operates for a certain number of hours or days or months with a certain number of students allowed to participate.

There are many, many ways that a “Quantum-Connected” initiative might begin to function for learners ready for high school work.  Here are a few we’ve listed, but there are many more:

This quantum, connected learning environment could help 

  • A single student in a single school who wanted to improve understanding around a single concept in the core curriculum by connecting him/her to a resource like Khan Academy
  • A single student who is denied a learning opportunity because of geography (e.g. in Chicago, we have a very large Polish population, (52 churches have Polish language worship services) but very, very few opportunities to pursue Polish language studies in school. If you wish to learn or continue an African language, such as Oromo, you are out of luck - CPS, the 3rd largest school system in the country offers NO African languages for study)
  • A teacher who wanted to be able to capture the learning progress of a group of accelerated  students who are capable of tackling 2 semesters of work in a single semester during a single class period.
  • A diverse group of students who come together from across a state for an intense summer learning experience.  Quantum learning could provide a means to assess and credential their learning.  Example: Kentucky’s Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs
  • World language learners who are on a 3-4 week overseas trip.  Quantum learning could help them identify language learning targets or learning targets in other disciplines that could be augmented, chronicled and recognized using standards-based badges.  
  • Students who live in locations that limit their opportunity to participate in learning that is well suited to their passions and talents.  An example of this was pioneered in the NASA grant to the Council of Chief State School Officers:  Virtual Learning Magnet (link to project report).
  • Students who are identified as “at risk” for any number of factors.  These students may tap into quantum-based learning as part of their regular school experience but use the extended network of teachers, mentors, coaches and resources to chart a unique path to success.

You may be familiar with my thinking about the need for a quantum, rather than a Newtonian approach to looking at things.  It’s time to stop thinking in terms of perfecting isolated “boxes” of super schools, and instead imagine a learning system that crosses every traditional border that we’ve used to box in kids and teachers, parents and administrators.

It's with that goal in mind that we’re asking you to help in the ideation for a new learning design.

At this point, all we’re interested in is your willingness to think, to create, to dream and to imagine.  You would do this as part of our team.  

So, here’s what I’m asking you to do.  Please go to the XQ website and sign up as part of the Quantum-Connected Learning Team.  You should be able to find it by that name or by doing a name search for me. If you have difficulty navigating their website, let me know and I can send you a direct invite.  Once you’ve signed in as a team member, you will be able to see what we are putting together, including what the idea looks like so far and how it might be used to cause learning to occur for high school age or ready learners.

There is immediate work to be done on formulating a Mission Statement and a set of Guiding Principles.  

This Sunday, November 15 is the deadline for submitting our idea to have its eligibility assessed.  I’m asking that by this Friday, you respond to the team membership opportunity.   And if you know others (according to the rules they must be over age 13 and a US citizen) whose thinking would be valuable, please urge them to join us and sign on as a team member.  If you sign up as a team member, you will have access to see everything that will be submitted on the 15th. If for some reason, you didn’t want to support this particular entry, you can easily remove yourself from the team before I submit it.  I will do my best to have all the initial parts completed by the 14th so you have time on the 15th for a final review.  Remember, November 15th is just the initial entry for eligibility feedback — our plans will, no doubt, change as we continue on our journey to submission by February 1st, 2016.

Although I’ve read the eligibility requirements carefully and think we can enter without a brick and mortar idea, we still may not qualify.  If not, then we’ll just continue to think together and shop the idea until we find a way to take a next step — even if it’s one we aren’t imagining now.

Please respond so that together we may think this into reality.

Have a great day, and always learn a lot!

Tom

* A note about my choice of the 1st person plural pronoun — although I’m sending out this email, I am rejecting the hierarchical notion that so often comes with Newtonian thinking.  Instead, I see myself as part of our quantum field, so I really do mean, “our” and “we”.  

“To live in an evolutionary spirit means to engage with full ambition and without any reserve in the structure of the present, and yet to let go and flow into a new structure when the right time has come.” -- Erich Jantsch