Finally, an idea worth tackling, along with my students: The 20time Project. Kevin Brookhouser (2015) explains that “…major problems are not solved by making the status quo just a little bit better. It needs to be made dramatically better, if not completely reversed. That’s because the planet needs completely disruptive solutions” (Brookhouser, 2015, p. 54). My goal is to transform this small island into a giant think tank. We may not have all the resources, but that’s why unconventional thinking practices are useful.
Idea #1 – Creating a “NatureWorks” Course
How can I use technology, LBUSD linked-learning/CTE guidelines, along with Catalina Conservancy and Avalon K-12 personnel, to create an inquiry-based elective class with pure hand-on learning practices and no formal assessments?
It’s no secret that CCSS-based teaching and learning practices are limiting the creative thinking students need and love, and traditional summative testing limits the types of feedback we can provide our students. With inquiry-based learning, we can focus on the whole student, celebrate failures and shoot for the moon with hopes of landing among the stars.
- Is there FTE funding for such a class in our school? How many such classes could our school fund?
- Will the LBUSD CTE coordinator recognize NatureWorks as a Linked-Learning pathway program at Avalon K-12? If not, what will be the criteria needed for this to occur?
- What is the most effective social media outlet for collaborating with all personnel? How often should we meet to effectively plan the course?
- Will NatureWorks need supplemental funding for Conservancy field trips? Supplemental staff?
- What would be the most effective format for the NatureWorks class in order to foster the most inquiry-based practices for student learning?
- Should NatureWorks have shareable curriculum documents readily available for students and personnel via a Weebly page?
- Will I be able to earn buy-in from all parents? What measures of success will parents want to see?
- What technology will students need in order to document their learning in the course?
- If I design curriculum in thematic units for the course, can I get it published?
- Would grant support be appropriate to supplement the course materials needed, or would that lead to attached accountability via formal assessments?
Idea #2 – Using Technology to Connect Avalon Organizations
How can I create a sustainable, technological platform for connecting all Avalon businesses and organizations in one virtual location?
Avalon is teeming with nonprofit organizations, various clubs, recreational outlets and local businesses. Many of these entities are vital to the health of the City of Avalon, but sadly, there are several disconnects between them. It is important for these organizations and businesses to promote a sense of community by establishing a shareable network.
- What are the names of all of the businesses, nonprofits, clubs, sports teams, and other entities to be considered in a communal network in Avalon?
- What social networking sites, if any, do each of the named entities utilize regularly?
- Could the social networking sites be linked together efficiently with all blogs fed to one source?
- Is it feasible to create a website for each entity that contains similar layouts?
- Would a Symbaloo-like platform be appropriate for organizing all of the sites?
- Who would oversee the maintenance of the virtual platform, and how much maintenance would be needed to keep the sites updated?
- How could I effectively advertise the platform to all visitors of the island?
- Should/Could students be involved with creating sites for local businesses, clubs, etc.?
- Can the platform be multilingual?
- Can visitors upload photos and/or videos to each site listed in the platform?
Brookhouser, K. (2015). The 20time project: How educators can launch Google's formula for future-ready
innovation. San Bernardino, California: 20time.org.