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a collaboration from around the world. dedicated to you.

we and it

copyaway Š 2013 share. reproduce. remix. we did.

Our county is 6th in the nation in suicide rate. Every 9 days someone takes their life. Globally, the rate is one every 40 seconds. is the 2nd leading cause of death in 11-24 year olds.

The measure we are currently using to prove/define , the actions we are currently using to fix problems, even to determine which problems are problems, aren’t boding us well.

unwanted stress

your time is limited. don’t waste it living someone else’s life. stay hungry. stay foolish. steve jobs

Perhaps what matters most is figuring out what matters most.

understand by intuition/empathy; merge/blend with it, become it

What we have…

What we need…

1. people who want their days to

1. people (perhaps you) who believe they own the mattering of their days [most don’t believe it’s legal/possible to think for themselves]

2. tech that can aggregate/organiz e large amounts of data, et al

2. a means (perhaps tech) to connect people in a more timely/serendipitous manner [ie: to ground chaos & hasten connections if everyone is thinking for themselves]

3. space - where we are now

3. an ecosystem (perhaps a city) full of eclectic spaces/people/ resources [and very few rules - a huge sandbox]

4. time – now

4. time (perhaps the day), not tacked on to the already busy day, this can’t be after hours [well it can, but not if we’re seeking #1]


Until the nuanced story is clear, truthful, and told by and large by those who are experiencing the greatest suffering (ie: young people), the solutions generated will not be the ones our city needs.-

This quiet revolution has been remixed, activated, voiced, prototyped, and is now being unleashed - by youth.

We’re experimenting with a [new/old] narrative. One that questions the essence of what it means to be human and alive. Are we doing what matters with the hours of our days? Perhaps a means to finding what matters is based in just two things:

attachment – being known by someone. co-creating. being us. authenticity – finding the thing you can’t not do. talking to yourself. being you . If people are doing/being things that don’t matter to them, there’s little sustainability/thrivability/betterness/health. What you do and who you are needs to matter to you. Perhaps what matters most is figuring out what matters most. People need to do/be that. Such time and space begs to be free of management. It begs whimsy/perceived chaos. Perhaps we’ll find such spaces of permission, where people have nothing to prove, at the intersection of city and school. Perhaps there, we’ll find/see each individual genius/artist. Perhaps, we’ll get tech to connect people in a more timely and serendipitous manner.


Perhaps betterness rests simply in each mind. Perhaps it rests in a decision - to take charge of how we spend the hours of our days. Perhaps we decide that it’s legal to think for ourselves, to be ourselves. Perhaps we focus our energy on ways to


We believe, what’s not yet been tried is a city-wide, during-the-day experiment. 1. city-wide, space - so that it’s playing out within a crossgenerational, eclectic community of people and resources. [ie: not just getting better within a 3rd grade classroom, a school, a business, the health sector, ..the city as entire ecosystem] 2. during-the-day, tacked onto the day, not just after hours]

time - so that it is the day. [ie: not just

Perhaps with all the gambles in life we keep taking, we should give this one a go? If this works like we’re anticipating, in even just one city, [ of - US], it could be enough evidence for people to start believing betterness is possible anywhere, today. [For more see




Perhaps we prune out the busyness of a day, and streamline our focus to what matters most to the human spirit. [attachment & authenticity]

[a typical district has 500+ policies.]

Without the fulfillment healthy attachment provides, we often seek unhealthy means to fill the void. [ie: pleasing people, accolades/diplomas/degrees/money]. Too often, our hunger/search for this (lacking) attachment trumps authenticity. We trade in our true selves to gain approval in some way. Only that way, is never enough. And the list grows and grows. We end up with 500 policies/rules for living each day. We end up getting little that matters done. We end up in unrest. paraphrase



What the world needs most, is for you to be you. What you need most, is for you to be you. Ridiculously simple? Indeed. Doable? Absolutely. The craziest thing, would be to not give it a try. Imagine the energy if every person in the world was waking up everyday, intent on and able to be themselves.

come too, perhaps.


redefine – as Perhaps redefining public ed matters [verses re-imagining or ? ..]. because equity matters. Many people are re-imagining public ed in incredibly cool ways. Yet - those ways aren’t accessible to everyone right now. Some depend on where you live, on what teacher you get, what space you get, what resources you have. Some depend on your financial ability to choose. Most depend on assumed basics to be learned. If we redefine public ed, to be about people, about relationships, about curiosity, then everyone gets a go. If we redefine public ed to be something that requires no prep, no training, very little policy, then everyone gets a go today. If we redefine public ed, to eliminate all the time/money/people we spend on proving things, on classroom management, we find we have all we need. Equitably.


Imagine…in our district of 15,000 ish kids, perhaps about a 1 to 8 ratio. So in the life of a day.. you would meet up for one hour (or 30 min – whatever people decide) with this group. Five days a week. You could have a set place [in redesigned school buildings, public libraries, coffee houses, parks ...] or change it up each time, up to you. You just would need to come together. No agenda for the time spent, just sharing space, with a goal of eventually getting to know each other. Imagine NCLB (No Child Left Behind) becomes, . without an to some adult. Many in public ed have experienced this idea, we’ve called it many things, ie: advisory. Often you’d start the day with this group. A problem we created, it was an add-on to the day. It wasn’t . Many didn’t count it as legit because their day was so full already. [Groups that seem to be working this time out fairly well: The Met; Patchwork; Mission Hill; City Neighbors HS, ...] So imagine, meeting up in a small group one hour a day, as playing out of #1 in the redefinition of public ed. Imagine everyone - being known by someone.


[1 of 2 – redefinition of public education]

Imagine …we believed it was legal to talk to ourselves. Too many of us try to micro-manage people, to mimic people, to make sure we meet up/down to some standard. We spend a lot of our time seeking applause, credentials, proof - to secure a future. Today. Right

As is.

When we doubt that our value/gift is in simply being alive, we forfeit our greatest potential. We end up too busy to do/be the things that matter. Too busy to be ourselves, our art. Too busy/afraid/tired for . Perhaps ...

as each of us listening deeply, to ourselves.

is as

Many already do this. Perhaps many more would, if they felt freed from their current busy-ness and/or bureaucratic restrictions. So imagine, everyone talking themselves everyday as a playing out of #2 in the redefinition of public ed. Imagine everyone – being themselves. [2 of 2 – redefinition of public education]


be you. why Setting people free, to be themselves. how Creating (physical & mental) spaces of permission, where people have nothing to prove. what Soul peace unleashes brilliant minds/art.

be us. why Setting communities free, to share themselves. how Creating (physical & mental) spaces of trust, where people listen without an agenda. what World peace allows for gatherings that matter.

Imagine dominos. The first one is a mindset. It may take awhile for us to believe it’s this simple. But once we do.. change/equity/betterness will . [Blow us away. Fly off the chart.]


Perhaps it depends on who is

We live in a reliability-oriented world… so we end up doing things that we assume can be measured/proven, rather than things that matter. Our beliefs get shuffled to the back end of the day… (or the low end of our validity monitor). , paraphrase, The Design of Business Imagine we can change things up…

Imagine Martin’s acknowledgement is all we need to start respectfully calling into question how we spend our days. Imagine the stuff that currently fills our days starts to diminish, freeing us up time/energy to do what matters most.


example(s) of grokking moments y; path m e n/ t uitio come i t n i e by t, b tand d with i s r e und e/blen g mer

attribution It’s so difficult to attribute people, when so many influence you daily. If you hear your words, as many of you will, know we admire your art, your vision, to set people free. Free to be, to notice, to dream, to connect, and to do what matters most. A book is unattributable. -Deleuz & Guattari

A response from a famous woman, after she was once again applauded for her ideas... How much more it would mean to me if rather than thanking me and telling me how great my ideas are, people would live them out. We like that. We are living out your ideas.


A bit of insight into the book layout:

Thomas, who introduced us to Ivan Illich, starts us off with a compelling foreward. Amanda focuses us on story. Our table of contents was crying out to be non-linear, so we let it.

structure & design

The rhizomatic model, that Mary Ann shares so beautifully, reflecting her son’s learning, and Leslie portrays so poignantly, reflecting her own heart’s song, and Dave continues to healthily blur for us, describe the essence of what we have been prototyping. [online version only] We end each chapter with a short summary, a perspective from youth, and one from parents. The five chapters represent five elements we believe could scale this experiment across for anyone anywhere. Next, a glossary-type communication effort, hoping to paint a clearer picture of what we’re experimenting with. . [online version only]

This plan is encompassing and obscure by design. It can be difficult to take in. It may appear too simple, or too complex. The goal of these printed words is to share a short, zoom out version. By doing so, we hope that it’s easier to see how each part is connected and vital. Pictures, videos, and links are added for further understanding. We tried to write so that they are not needed, link into them only as your curiosity begs. [qr code graphics are also linked] We don’t think any of this is new or necessarily insightful, but perhaps the combination is. Perhaps just doing it is. We hope you find this as intriguing and invigorating as we have. We hope you believe, or begin to believe, with each concept that might seem ridiculous or risky, that the greater risk is an ever perpetuating assumption, that we are playing it safe.

structure & design/23

foreward This book is a catalyst for mutative change in our educational system. To this end, be you is a living artifact of sorts that represents the oral histories, deep narratives, research and ongoing movement of real humans; their hopes, dreams, disruptions and unshackled praxis. Be you dares to look critically at modern education in form and function while also offering resilient working examples of resilient learning ecologies. / Thomas Steele-Maley We are seeking the brilliance of the human mind through freedom of the human spirit. We’re respectfully calling into question our current (seemingly blind, deaf, and mute) allegiance to our system of education based on publicly prescribed learning. This prescribed learning was not crafted with ill intent, but has undoubtedly sustained a crippling dependency, an addiction, at a global level. Social change can and will happen if we but question the existence of the prescription itself rather than continue our efforts to simply improve its deliverance.


It is impossible to impose anything. The freedom to self-determine is intrinsic to all life.

A common complaint about schools, one that is reflected for example, in the recent report of the Carnegie Commission: In school, registered students submit to certified teachers in order to obtain certificates of their own; both are frustrated and both blame insufficient resources money, time, or building - for their mutual frustration. I believe that the contemporary crisis of education demands that we review the very idea of publicly prescribed learning rather than the methods used in its enforcement. , Deschooling Society, 1972

possible translation Rather than trying to motivate youth to learn our common core curriculum through shiny things, like gaming, or fancy technology, or the latest tools, or project based learning, etc, let’s call into question our presumption that we must teach certain things. Let’s allow for just in time learning. Rather than scale innovations for specific learnings, perhaps we scale the individual.


story Amanda on the importance of story, our story: rhizome is what the hero brings to us. it is a way of learning that allows us to get out of our rows of chairs. the beginning middle and end is our hero's journey from disenchantment, lost faith, to the seed of possibility that is sprouting.



the beginning is setting the scene. familiarizing us with the old story. the roots of education. the listless classroom. (we want to move from here)

Once upon a time there was a boy. The boy was very curious. The boy’s curiosity took him everywhere. The boy was happy. Then people decided to teach the boy how to be happier. The boy obliged. And obliged. And obliged. Parts of the boy started to die. the middle is the awakening. the detoxing. passion connecting to passion. (the hero's challenge. what we overcome. our bravery. our strength.) The world was very noisy, and very busy, and very stressed. The world couldn’t see that the boy was dying. One day, a man heard the boy crying and asked what was wrong. The boy told the man that he had lost himself, somewhere. The man leaned in. He hugged the boy. the end is connecting. integrating. (bringing it from the singular to the we. the community as classroom. our inspiration. our why.)

Once connected by their embrace, the man noticed the boy. This made the man weep. He longed to be the boy, himself, again. He wondered if he could. And the wondering, woke him up. He began being. He became himself. The man was very curious. The man’s curiosity took him everywhere. And the man was happy. peter reading the story & online book


Unmet needs of the story: People feeling free enough to be themselves, to practice and share their unique art/gift/genius.

How to help set people free: Create physical and mental spaces of permission, where people can be themselves, where they can find and craft their art, where they don’t have to prove themselves, where they are driven by wanted stress & structure, where they can gather with others, per choice, to do things that matter.


People finding their people in a timely manner. It’s not that any of us has a bent toward laziness. People crave hard work/play, but hard work/play that matters. Most often, once we find the thing we can’t not do, we can’t seem to find our people, our tribe, to do the work/play with. We end up in some sort of waiting mode.


Equity. Everyone gets to play. Everyone gets a go at


No one left behind.

imagine an ideal home situation. Quite possibly an unschooled home, where the parents trust that learning is natural and non-linear. The natural part implies that life is rich enough to suffice a curriculum. The non-linear part implies that no pre-scribed basics are needed. This frees them up to focus on knowing their child. This knowledge allows them to facilitate the unique curiosity (curriculum) from inside. This child has access to any resources needed, is known by someone, believes he has nothing to prove, and is free to be curious, to be himself. We’re thinking this is a more sane, equitable, and humane definition or rendering of

[a q u i e t r e v o l u t i o n]


imagine a turtle.

[a q u i

A turtle is protected by its shell. If someone took all the turtle’s shells away from them, that would be deadly. Perhaps some turtles would be strong enough to get their shell back. But for those not strong enough, returning their shells to them would be returning them to their natural state. It would be a setting free of sorts. Free from the bondage the stolen shells created. Back in its natural environment, the turtle is then, ready to be. We’re seeing public ed as a stripping away of a kids’ shell in a sense. Their culture, their natural state of curiosity, has perhaps been stolen. We’re thinking this setting free, is simply restoring to each person, their shell. We’re not telling them who to be or how to be or what to be, we’re just creating that free space, once again. That space of permission, that many haven’t seen since they were five. Perhaps. e t Again, r e v we o lsee u this t i ospace n] of permission, this shell, as a new way to look at what it might mean when we say the words, no child left behind.


table of contents 2. rhizomatic resourcing

1. rh

a tangle o f tu constantly bers with no app are changes s hape, app nt beginning or en point wit h every o ears to be d, ther poin connecte t d at ever y

y 3. rhizomatic communit

o ic r ab

g, f n i e be t th ' r te bu nd n i ' s, be, . . a g . in o th b 't and en v er . . e . tw the nd e b s 'a e, ose on, l d id imp ncti e m ee nju h r t n o. t is co i ys ezz e a m alw term hizo in e r th


4. rhizomatic expertise

32/thin table of contents

hizomatic learning wn. new connections will be gro break it anywhere ... o knowledge construction...n r fo al nti te po d ite lim un organization fixed points…no particular

5. rhizomatic curren c


thin table of contents/33

2. rhizomatic resourcing

1. rh

city as school

community-owned spaces use what we have


y 3. rhizomatic communit cy interdependen by someone

n being know ers imsy matt h /w e ic o sm h c individuali d e k r o tw e n


34/thick table of contents

4. rhizomatic expertise gs i d e n o l a r o t me n n agenda

a listen w/o ch ly not tea deliberate pedagogy s a y it s io r cu

hizomatic learning you] e [b y it ic t n e h t au ction self-refle rn g to lea in n r a of le

be. notice. dream. connect. do.


process detox:

5. rhizomatic curren c


attachment [be us] social vs monetary currency culture of trust story/relationship vs policy



thick table of contents/35

36/ch 1

7 billion people free to figure out what matters most. in the city. as the day.

ch 1/37

38/ch 1

What might happen if every individual decided/believed it was legal for them to think for themselves, to talk to themselves? What if each one of us realized that the only thing we can do better than anyone else, consistently, for all the rest of our days, is be ourselves? What if everyone felt they were given permission and time and space, to just be?

ch 1/39

Like a root, perhaps learning has no beginning, no end, is connected at all points, and in constant perpetual beta. Perhaps we stop measuring learning, and instead start trusting the learner. Perhaps we start believing that there is never nothing going on. Perhaps we start trusting curiosity to be rich enough. Perhaps our measure of success is our . How are those around me doing? Perhaps learning/being is less about answers, and more about – falling in the love with the questions.

Tenets of Learning ~

40/ch 1

•Learning is Natural - The human brain is designed to learn. It needs a constant flow of knowledge in order to be fulfilled. •What Needs to be Learned is Learned - Nothing needs to be forcefully taught. One of the great aspects of the human mind (and how it has survived for over 10,000 years) is that it is very good at figuring out what it needs to learn. •Learning is Constant – Every human brain — every brain, in fact — is constantly developing and making connections. Even while we sleep this process is taking place. To designate times for learning and times for playing is unnatrual. Playing is learning. Living is learning.

The web can help us get back to us, by modeling a more natural, rhizomatic structure. A non-linear, chaordic (chaos & order) mesh network. It models messiness, whimsy, real life. David Weinberger captures this beautifully in Too Big To Know, he says the difference between a pyramid and a network, is that a network has no foundation. We can jump in anywhere, and follow it everywhere.

ch 1/41

So the question becomes the focus, rather than some assumed right answer. What’s the question within you? What matters to you, what are you curious about? Perhaps we address that – daily. Perhaps the only skill anyone really needs today is what Erica McWilliam has penned being usefully ignorant. Do you know what to do when you don’t know what to do? that’s it.

self-reflection. it's not really healthy self-reflection if i'm talking to myself about what you told me to do.. that's more of a time consumption..

42/ch 1

Content (prescribed curriculum, ie: math, science) has been assumed for so long, that many believe it’s or essential. One problem is, that list of essentials keeps getting longer and longer. ie: information was doubling every two years in 2006, every three days in 2010. Schools teach but a billionth of a percent of the knowledge in the world, yet we quibble endlessly about which billionth of a percent is important, and the order in which is should be presented. Seymour Papert Another problem is, that our mandates and assumptions most often hold us back. They often keep us as we follow the directives, and do as we’re told. Perhaps it’s time to recognize a likely culprit: our insistence on obedience. If learning is indeed non-linear, can’t we start anywhere? Can’t we start with curiosity, per choice? [Isn’t that how we learned the most sophisticated arts of walking and talking?] If we are tapping into an individual’s interest, the resulting deliberate or deep practice requires no external incentives, and will most likely blow us away. We need to start grasping what the power of choice means. There’s no right or wrong in a decision, it’s about owning it. Owning is what makes things happen. What changes things. For good. We end up knowing what to do when we don’t know what to do.

ch 1/43

Perhaps we hasten/accelerate self disruption by experimenting with..



44/ch 1

Informal/natural learning – perhaps it’s what the artist inside each one of us is craving. If we could only be still long enough to notice it. Perhaps being still is key to the research. [Jim and Antero, both leaning in (listening deeply) to informal learning.] research with ypar, detox, how to be.. et al.

how to measure such things?

ch 1/45

Our vision of was to remix/capture a user-friendly process of learning that might jump start people back to a natural state of curiosity. We believe people are good, and they don’t need to be micro managed, they just need to be set free. The idea and name - detox, came out of an acknowledgment of the severity of our current state. Many of us have become indoctrinated by a compulsory curriculum, by mandated learnings, by proof of competency. Many have become codependent on an outside structure, that appears safe and efficient, but most often is leading us toward mindlessness, toward both figurative and literal homelessness. If you find yourself continually waiting/wanting for instruction, for a map, for knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do, wondering if it is legit or legal even, to think for yourself, we’re hoping this process, will help you interrupt/ , back to your authentic self. A peeling off of the toxins that suffocate us, making many of us, both figuratively and literally, sick.

Perhaps detox acts as a temporary template/

- if needed.

And perhaps, initially, we’ll need some manufactured help from technology. Perhaps a means for technology to help us get back to us, by grounding inevitable chaos. Perhaps an that could: 1. encourage daily talking to self 2. crowdsource/connect people to their people in a timely manner, like everyday 3. create and archive, a trail of sorts, a non-linear portfolio

46/ch 1

detox: process of learning to learn be. notice. dream. connect. do.


Rid your mind of chatter that has previously determined who you are. We have become so used to pleasing others, to listening to other voices. It’s not as much about finding good to do, but about finding that which you can’t not do. Focus on outcomes can lead to mindlessness. Step out of the routine. Notice the unlikely. Mindfulness isn’t an alternative when you are awake. Noticing alone could change the world. Imagine yourself doing, solving, becoming, creating, and making. Today, even in public ed, you really can choose what, when, where, how and with whom you want to connect. That choice facilitates and enlivens a person’s curiosity, getting at a deep, intellectual, just in time learning. Connections, our new currency. The criteria youth have determined for doing: does it matter? and is it awesome? Both beg to whom, which is exactly the mindset we believe is vital to this paradigm shift (change in basic assumptions.)

ch 1/47

There is no normal when the assessment is a self-assessment. So perhaps we stop all the math and science madness, and we start falling in love with questions again, like when we were five. Perhaps success comes from, rides in on, our individual curiosities. Perhaps we encourage chaos and whimsy as a means to prep people for... uncertainty. Perhaps the energy we save from not trying to be other people, from not playing defense, or trying to prove ourselves, is all we need. Imagine - it’s more than we need.

imagine everyone talking to themself. everyday. and that talking becomes data, info, to finding your people. we hasten the time from a brewing curiosity to a gathering of people that matters.. to get the job done. imagine doing this everyday, as your day. not after hours, not afterschool, not tacked on to your already busy schedule. imagine doing this city-wide, so that people all over the city are free to do, and are doing this authenticity bit. more people to find your people within. imagine tech helping us find each other. like a placebo, tearing down walls we’ve built up over the last couple hundred years. aggregating everyone’s talking to self - as data - pointing us to each other.

48/ch 1

ch 1/49

summing it up for ch 1:

conversing w/self authenticity – be you (rhizomatic learning): A temporary means to: 1. get people back to a natural state of learning, being, and doing, the wonder and intellectual curiosities most of us had at least until the age of 4 or 5. 2. come together as a people to eradicate the standardization of public ed as we know it, freeing people up to spaces of permission to be. grokking matters.

50/ch 1

via young people:

be: Be yourself. Find yourself. Not what others want. Your true you. notice: Start noticing things, notice things that seem impossible. Notice what you normally don’t like in your life. Try to go to the things that everyone says not to. dream: Dream big. You should never stop dreaming. When you dream big you’re going to do big things. Dreaming what everyone told you you couldn’t do. The sky is the limit. connect: Connect with people. We need each other, so it helps everyone. Connecting with ones you are passionate about but also the ones right next to you that you don’t notice. do: The doing, just start. Just go out and do things. Doing your own passion, your potential is untouchable.

via parents:

be: Who is your child? Who is your child when nobody is telling her what she should be doing? Who is your child after the boredom has been exhausted? notice: To what kinds of things, to what experiences is your child attracted? What kinds of things are noticed when space is given to notice? dream: When left to her own devices, to what place does her mind travel? Is she dreaming of singing? Dancing? Gardening? Baking cookies? Riding on the space shuttle? connect: Facilitate times for her to connect with others who dream of singing. Others who dream of dancing. Or gardening. Bake cookies with her if that's her dream. Bring space to her in whatever way within your means. do: Give her the tools to sing, dance, garden, bake, and travel to the moon. Give her the space to do those things.

ch 1/51

52/ch 2

53/ch 2

Imagine community/ , with the entire city as the floorplan. High school buildings & coffee shops join libraries as resource centers & meet up spaces. There is a city-wide art hall, engineering hall, forensics hall. The town acts more like a university campus.. where all people are walking & biking to and from buildings through the course of a day. In the US, when you say real life people tend to define it as: outside of school-

54/ch 2

Perhaps the time, money, and people we currently spend on classroom management, proof and policy would no longer be needed if we offer exposure over compulsion and facilitate connections (virtual and local) to gatherings that matter. This doesn’t mean if you like things the way they are you could be out of luck. The beauty of all of this it isn’t an either/or, but rather, an incredible and. The focus here is on everyone. The people who love lectures, chemistry, school math, want to be a doctor,.. they will benefit from this freedom as well. ie: The people gathered with them in their space, will all be there per choice. Perhaps choice is our cure.

ch 2/55

As we let go of our overwhelming mandates/policies for how/what/where/when to learn, we find we don’t need more . So much of what we seek, is right in front of us. When we start talking/listening in our community, perhaps we find a lady down the street who has been translating Japanese for years, a man two blocks over is a lawyer on the board for a homeless safe house, a woman across town is a local university researcher, looking into the Antarctic ozone layer. We find resources and spaces sitting idly by, tucked away in pockets, and people eager for an exchange/share. When we take notice of what we already have, we find more of what we need. Working intensely on equity via recycling used devices, et al‌

56/ch 2

’s The Mesh models this mentality of sharing. Not only are spaces shared, but they are always morphing in as the city/community gatherings that matter via ongoing conversation. Think

gone wild. in the city. as the day.

ch 2/57

[Photos link: Ewan___________ Manish________Sam_________Gever__________Dale_______Bobbi_______ Youmedia center in Chicago]

We’re imagining crowded/stressed school buildings start emptying out as people realize options available to pursue interests . As buildings empty, restructure existing buildings to facilitate this useful notion of – not defined by previous stated age groups – buildings could be combinations of – or whatever. [the reoccurring is to remind – that the particularity of the examples aren’t as important as the , so that all cities are free to choose/be] highschool bldgs:



middle school bldgs: elementary bldgs: higher ed:

- ish

- ish and - ish


- ish

Again, nothing amazing enough about specific ideas. They are happening all over. Rather than getting hung up on which examples, let's get hyped up about making choice equitable, by

We’d like to restructure at least one elementary, one middle and one high school over the next year and craft a youth hostel for the uni experience. The whole idea of community owned spaces. [note: Using city to represent space of eclectic people/resources – not intended as a - versus country or wilderness et al.]

58/ch 2

Today, people are learning online, on boats, in buses, in classrooms, in schools of all sorts, in other countries, at home, in the city, ‌ this is great. What we are suggesting is that we no longer pigeon-hole learners to any of these spaces. You want to learn on a boat. Great. But let’s not say now, that you are a boat learner only. Maybe tomorrow another space will behoove you. Change is good. .

Once we understand that learning can and should occur outside the classroom, it will become commonplace to see students engaged in learning activities throughout the community .

ch 2/59

The safety zone has moved. Conformity no longer leads to comfort.

ch 2/60

C. Aldrich

Perhaps we recapture play of a child, in the city, in the country, in the wild. Perhaps we invite wilderness back into our spaces, our people.

61/ch 2

Icarus Deception

summing it up for ch 2:

sharing resources city as school

(rhizomatic resourcing):

Finding and utilizing shared (mesh) spaces/resources. The city as one great big resource center for its people. Using what we have. Community owned/shared. City as school/university. City alive.

[note: Using city to represent space of eclectic people/resources – not intended as a - versus country or wilderness et al.]

noticing (what we have) matters.

62/ch 2

via young people:

I can go anywhere that I’m living and get help. The high school, the house, soccer field. The whole community together, helping each other. It’s all connected.

via parents: It was Toni Morrison who said, "You really need the whole village [to raise a child]." Why should a child learn about life from books, stuck behind a desk, when life is out there, waiting to be lived? Let us make this a community where the love of learning is shared by all, everywhere. A community of trust and unlimited learning opportunity.

ch 2/63

64/ch 3

hastening communities of practice via curiosity. in the city. as the day.

Ch 3/65

The term interdependency came as we were researching laws for homeless teens. While some states allow 14 year-olds to declare independence, often resulting in homelessness, some are trying to restate that to a declaration of interdependence, where each teen is matched up with an adult. If we want to create spaces of permission, where learning is accomplished through living, we feel interdependency will provide stability in potential/encouraged chaos. This connection can provide needed support, safety, accountability. The belief that you are known by someone is a most liberating feeling. Trust is a vital piece to freeing your mind up to being, to whimsy, to becoming you. It's important to remember that nothing living lives alone. Life always and only organizes as systems of interdependency.

66/ch 3


Imagine, an 80 year old, who most likely takes too many meds, his family/friends rarely visit, so he spends much of his time watching TV. Imagine a 12 year old, who most likely takes too many meds, spends a lot of time playing videos games, yet who dreams of being and doing something similar to what the 80 year old has done/been. Imagine these two connecting per passion/choice, rather than per kindness. Soon, neither can wait to get up in the morning. And at night, well the 80 year old now has wifi, and is stretching his expertise to no end, from the curiosity/energy flowing over from the 12 year old, and vice versa.

This surpasses the issue of school, of achievement gaps, even of learning. This takes on the matter of what it means to be human and alive. A declaration of interdependence, being known by someone, could be more vital to a person than food, water, or shelter. Imagine if we were to focus on feeding the soul, rather than on our current (often unquestioned) dependencies, ie: feeding the test scores, the number crunch. Perhaps we’ve not imagined ourselves doing this before, because it seemed too big… to know/do. The web is showing us – it’s even bigger than we could imagine. It’s showing us - what a network is, what linking is all about, how alluring rabbit-holing can be. We now have the means for the universe to be following their whimsy. And now, well, we now know too much to not crowdsource that. Perhaps the more we allow the differences (as specific as each thumbprint) to surface/speak/sing/dance, the less we’ll have to defend/manage/fight over.

ch 3/67

Perhaps we first declare interdependence as a safety net. [ie: Everyone is free as long as they are known by at least someone, like the buddy system.] Beyond/within that, we outsource learning and life to the city/community. [ie: Each individual crowdsources/searches their local/global communities, for mentors/gatherings that matter to them.] Imagine a world where we boldly redefine the 16,000 hrs – ish, currently occupied in a person by public ed. Perhaps we look at an original definition – : concerning all the people. Perhaps we soak in the people around us, while focusing on one thing -- learning how to learn. We become experts at embracing uncertainty, and that’s it. Imagine if everyone was an expert at thinking for themselves. Ridiculous? We’ve felt a sense of security in pushing a specific math and science (STEM, et al) to that end, and even that, even our most lofty definitions of success are changing before our eyes. Imagine we redefine better, to be breathtaking.

68/ch 3

empowers. People choosing/creating their network energizes/prunes/focuses. Not only are connections perhaps the richest form of economy/currency, they are in abundance. We no longer need to spend time & money to prep youth for jobs that may or may not exist, or for credentialing that may or may not matter. Instead, we spend our days doing/being. Prepping for the only certainty in our future - uncertainty. In the sharing/connection economy -- everyone is their own entrepreneur. And each one then creates (or co-creates) their own networked individualism (Barry Wellman via Howard Rheingold). Doc Searls writes of this in The Intention Economy, [especially resonating ch 21.] Perhaps this networked individualism, or personal data (vs big data) taps into the local public/community/crowd,[ ] in order to encourage more and create more gatherings - that matter.

ch 3/69

In Selling Schools Out, Lee Fang discloses an incredible disservice to our children, to us, to freedom. Perhaps it’s a keen vision of blinding/numbing us. We offer choices to parents who want the best for their kids, but really those choices aren’t full and most of them are incredibly risky, and even more harmful than no choice. It’s like paying for the more credentialed baby-sitter, (rather than the teen down the street who knows you in and out and would literally die for your child), who, once you’ve left for the evening, really has no eye/heart on your child. We need to wake up to what is best for all of us. To make a system healthier, we simply need to connect it more to itself.

- Meg Wheatley

Fold over on and connect to self. Fold over on and connect to others. concerning all the people..

70/ch 3

having internal connections between the parts..

Perhaps we try some public matchmaking that matters to people.

one person

four people

Again, in Net Smart, Howard Rheingold refers to this as networked individualism, via Barry Wellman. Rather than relying on a single community for social capital, individuals often must actively seek out a variety of appropriate people and resources for diff situations - the person has become the portal.

and then perhaps tech helps connect us

into gatherings that matter

Not only would everyone be learning whatever they wanted, but they’d be learning/practicing how to learn whatever they wanted.

ch 3/71

We’d free up and allow and foster and dance with ‌ more art-ists.

72/ch 3

James Paul Gee’s research shows kids who are, at age 7, masters at a card game called Yugioh. Gee says that the rules written for the game, are at a PHD level language. It works, he says, because every piece of it is married to a physical action in the game, and completely explicated in the movies, it’s lucidly functional, and it’s per choice. Gee suggests that for success, you have to have grit (passion plus persistence).

He says, no one is putting in 10,000 hours of practice (what research says makes one an expert) to something, unless they have a passion, an intense internal drive toward it. Tory calls this a . It’s not that people are waking up every day hoping to find ways to be lazy, to just lay on the couch, to avoid stress.

Live a full life, and call that our content. Those with grit will persevere because they believe they have no choice, not if they wish to be who they are. – , links to page on Icarus Deception

ch 3/73

Brain research tells us that people learn when they choose to. Choice wakes us up. It causes us to do/be. Eric Mazur’s research at Harvard looks at what learners are truly taking in. Physics students who hadn’t taken high school AP classes, (one of our current signs of rigor), were doing better than those who had. Eric says that knowing how to learn can prove much more valuable than spending time collecting (or appearing to collect) specific content. Especially if the content isn’t coming from an internal drive. Denise Pope’s research at Stanford shows 95% of students admitting to cheating. They, however, see it as survival, rather than cheating. Yong Zhao’s research at U of O finds students with high PISA [global test we use to compare countries] scores in math, to be low in creativity, entrepreneurship, and happiness. MIT has a Lifelong Kindergarten Lab, realizing our need to tap into the thinking/curiosities of a 5 year old, again. Cathy Davidson at Duke asks the question, if there were no standards, would there be any learning disabilities. Perhaps an alternative to college/uni brochures… matters.

[a q u i e t r e v o l u t i o n] 74/ch 3

PBS special Is School Enough featuring Sierra to air April 2013


Again, nothing amazing enough about specific ideas. They are happening all over. Rather than getting hung up on which examples, let's get hyped up about making choice equitable, by


is our cure.

ch 3/75

summing it up for ch. 3:

connecting per choice interdependency (rhizomatic community): Your support system. Your people. The essence of humanity - connecting. Creating serendipity. Being known by someone. Finding and meeting up (locally and virtually) with your people, your community of practice. Networked individualism – your individual network, per choice. whimsy matters.

76/ch 3

via young people:

We all need to interact with other humans, that’s how we were made. We plan to connect everyone with at least one person.

via parents:

This is a means to ground someone in a safe block. They are connected to someone. Like the buddy system. So in all the chaos of this freedom, they are not lost.

Ch 3/77

78/ch 4

Ch 4/79

The word assessment is derived from the Latin verb, assidere, which means, quite literally, to sit beside. If you are lucky enough to be connected to someone per passion, or be known by some youth, one key element toward facilitating self-directed learning, is to deliberately not teach. We live in a world that is so used to directions, so used to being told how and what to do, it’s hard for many of us to function on our own. In most learning situations and opportunities, we seek out the perceived expert, sit in their path, and wait to be filled. This mindset disables and disengages the indispensable person from within. This pattern/tradition/training encourages mindlessness. If the goal is self-directed learning, if the desire is youth who know what to do when they don’t know what to do, if the aim is for youth to fall in love with learning, then the mentor, needs to be positioned, physically and mentally, alongside. Alongside, doing their own thing, modeling what it is to learn, what it is to be.

80/ch 4

Useful ignorance, then, becomes a space of pedagogical possibility rather than a base that needs to be covered. ‘Not knowing’ needs to be put to work without shame or bluster. Educators will need to spend less time explaining through instruction and more time in experimental and error-welcoming modes of engagement. This is supported by findings from neuro-science about the way in which the brain is ‘changed’ (see Zull, 2004) through hands on, minds on experimentation and how it is not changed by instruction-led pedagogy.

Most of us are convinced that learning only comes from teaching. That thinking can create an unhealthy dependency. Dependency on someone else teaching us and/or someone else praising us. See linked TED talks (via graphics below) for important research on this – often - foreign mindset. ie: The ability to say, And to embrace both

maybe I’m wrong.



Ch 4/81

As good mentors, we listen without an agenda, demonstrating and communicate genuine patience and caring. We encourage the expression of ideas, even (and especially) if they are different than our own. We won’t be alarmed by anything said, but try to honestly understand the underlying sentiment, in order to more fully understand. For an effective mentor, “I don't know” is always an okay answer. “I don't know” is an opportunity to access and use resources together. When we don't know, we brainstorm together with youth. We write down our shared ideas and reflect upon them. We do not develop an inflated view of our roles; there are mentors all around us. The key element is to deliberately not teach, as constant instruction encourages mindlessness. Don’t do activities for the youth; encourage independence. Youth need time for self-discovery. Time to be. We must trust that learning will happen. No, we must know that learning is happening. As good mentors, we are available to youth, modeling what it is to learn, what it is to be, doing our own thing, exploring our passion, discovering ourselves. We need to forget the old adage “Do as I say, not as I do!” We simply support, compliment and model positive behavior. And sometimes that means saying no. As mentors, we should underscore the importance of learning and working for oneself and one's own selfimprovement. The youth should understand that they alone assess their progress, without outside influence. We also need to recognize the effect of inappropriate praise. Praise shackles youth to a course of pleasing others, rather than themselves.

unschooling mom

82/ch 4

Observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence. pdf download of Ed & the Significance of Life by Krishnamurti

Sensitivity can never be awakened through compulsion. One may compel a child to be outwardly quiet, but one has not come face to face with that which is making him obstinate, imprudent, and so on. Compulsion breeds antagonism and fear. Reward and punishment in any form only make the mind subservient and dull; and if this is what we desire, then education through compulsion is an excellent way to proceed.

Perhaps google 20% isn’t blowing us away in ed, because youth begs for ongoing experimentation. Perhaps we give a try.

If you want to prosper in life: find something that fascinates you and jump all over it. Don't wait for someone to teach you; your enthusiasm will attract teachers to you. Don't worry about diplomas or degrees; just get so good that no one can ignore you.

Ch 4/83

Natural, self-induced feedback loops help encourage self-directed learning by focusing on hard work and effort as opposed to talent and/or momentary success. Youth need to be doing/being with people that are doing/being. Perhaps we redefine No Child Left Behind to be this vast exposure to resources and connections via mentors (& tech) who listen without an agenda. Perhaps authentic basics show up in these spaces, no need to conjure up non-essentials to practice rigor. It is impossible to change others, harvest invisible intelligence. - Meg Wheatley, current A person cannot teach another person directly; a person can only facilitate another's learning. - Carl Rogers, 1951 Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind. -Plato, BC

Perhaps we use tech to help us get back to us. Perhaps we use it as a placebo or a template, to guide us back to a natural state of attachment, of family, of community. Where people know people enough to facilitate/crowdsource/strew/rabbit hole – their curiosities. The beauty of being known by someone perhaps, is that you’re at their beckon call, on stand-by. And that standing-by-ness facilitates a more timely manner of facilitation.

84/ch 4

So – what if we get tech to help us with timeliness, at least least initially, as a jumpstart. Perhaps we program tech to hasten the time period between: • us finding our art, the thing we can’t not do, our insatiable curiosity • us finding our people, our tribe, for gatherings that matter to us Perhaps tech can do this for/with us, teaching us, what it means to listen without an agenda. And perhaps we find an incredibly alluring way to gather the data tech would need to connect us, leave a trail of us, with no judgment. And in a way that people themselves are then sharing authentically, not to please others, or for money, or for a grade, or for popularity, etc. [Plenty of other people/apps are already connecting people like this. Perhaps we just need to experiment with it if we want to make such a stir as to invoke/hasten equity.]

Ch 4/85

Perhaps an incredibly alluring way.. involves redefining public ed to be twofold: 1. everyone is known by someone 2. everyone talks to themself daily That could maybe take 1 hour a day. The rest of the day, up to you. [And the 1 hour, truly for you.] Perhaps, if people believed/trusted they had this time and space, that 498 of 500+ policies running their day had been lifted, perhaps they’d find talking to themselves a simple/freeing habit as well. So imagine we take the data of people talking to themselves everyday and ongoingly create a mesh of their thinking/doing/connecting via their talking, a networked individualism * *brain – a storage place, like a resume, it models connections – and how they never end.. and are embedded in each other, but i don’t think it’s functional. it’s like a documentation. it doesn’t play with others -

So again, the talking to self (ch 1), goes into this app. The talking becomes data for the technology.

86/ch 4

A web starts forming, with the person at the center and the nodes – their curiosities/ wonderings/connections. So the app/tech makes a brain, a non-linear portfolio, networked individualism. (ch 3)

Other people are doing the same (part of the allure) and so their networks are data for the tech as well.

This happens daily, so people don’t feel bad about connections that don’t work out, they get another go tomorrow. They also start noting how important their verbiage is to a good match up.

The tech/app notices similar nodes from people in your city/community.

And connects you/them.

Ch 4/87

An app


#1 Julia & Vicki & Tom Julia, age 12, uses a donated/recycled laptop & wifi (wifi bank), to voice record the following before she goes to bed:

I noticed a lot of my friends’ parents have cancer. They keep talking about early detection. I asked my mom and she said if you find out early on, the cancer can usually be cured, but that not enough people find out early. I also watched a video of a 17-year-old that wrote a recipe to cure cancer and is now working at Stanford. I’m dreaming about finding ways to improve early detection. I want to connect to people who are experts at this and see what I can learn from them.

Vicki, age 25, uses her iphone and texts while waiting at the doctor’s office:

I just found out my mom has cancer. They told her they didn’t find it soon enough and that it’s spreading too fast. I’ve got to research myself, find out some other answers for her.

Tom, age 7, uses his mom’s ipad and his family’s wifi access, to record the following:

My mom has been doing this healing stuff my whole life. I’ve never believed in it before. But she started doing it with me, because I have/had asthma, and now I don’t have it anymore. I’m really interested in seeing if it can help people with cancer.

88/ch 4

The app connects them. A mesh network created for each of these could have one small node representing their intense curiosity and that’s it. Or, it could be the start of an offshoot node, as they advance into the study of health and medicine. Either way, this cancer node could be detected by the app in a couple weeks by someone else talking to themselves about the same things and then they all receive notification of another potential connection.

Ch 4/89

How do I have to be in order for you to be free‌ - Orland Bishop Perhaps for the learner to be free, the mentor must also be. Are mentors free to deliberately not teach? Are they free to do this same self-directed learning, following their fancy, deep practicing, we’re wishing for youth? Are they modeling useful ignorance, being vulnerable in context, so others can see what to do when they don’t know what to do, what to do in the face of uncertainty? And as they are freely swimming in this space of permission themselves, are they listening deeply in order to facilitate the curiosity within each person they are coming to know? We will be absolutely blown away by brilliance only when we offer support and create these types of spaces. Spaces where the very heart of the matter, the only agenda, is the curiosity, the curriculum if you must, residing within each person. A rhizomatic space/community where there is no hierarchy. A space where everyone is practicing to be a better learner, mentor, expert. To foster optimized self-directed learning, mentor alongside.

no doubt there are plenty of really cool things going on, if we can just call them the day. abandon the obedience we have to days we aren't choosing.

90/ch 4

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity .


awaken indispensable people

summing it up for ch 4:

facilitating curiosities mentor alongside

(rhizomatic expertise):

A means to realize and utilize the expertise in everyone by deliberately not teaching. Harvesting/waking up expertise by listening without an agenda (mentors & tech as listeners). Curiosity as guide/pedagogy. listening matters.

92/ch 4

via young people:

Neither the mentor or the student is greater, they are feeding off of each other.

via parents:

Often I learn more from my child than I can take in, if I’m listening. ie: I asked my two and a half year old what came first, the chicken or the egg. He said, the nest.

Ch 4/93

94/ch 5

in a public, an ecosystem of eclectic people. in the city. as the day.

Ch 5/95

tells a story of ten day care centers in Israel in his book, Cognitive Surplus. The story really gets at this culture we believe is vital to change. Here’s the short version: These ten centers had no late fee for picking up children and very few parents came late and not by very much. Then they imposed approximately a three dollar fine on 7 of the 10 centers. The number of late parents increased, and stayed elevated even after the fine was dropped. Shirky explains, the parents saw the day care workers as participants in a market transaction rather than as people who’s needs should be respected. Parents viewed workers time as a commodity. They assume the fine represents full price of the inconvenience they were causing. He goes on to explain the difficulty, once a new mindset for the relationship has occurred, to go back to the culture of trust and humanity. Dealing with one another as a market can fundamentally alter relationships. Have we turned relationships into marketing transactions, that now require such a large overhead that we have lost the art of living? Are we trusting and valuing people.. or are we trusting and valuing paperwork that basically represents mistrust? And that takes billions a year to run in public/higher ed alone. Are we trusting in obedience and compliance to keep us efficiently safe?

96/ch 5

reputation: But that said, as more and more of a person’s life becomes available online, the need for certification will diminish, as people acquire reputations of their own. A person’s standing in a community can be recognized by members of that community, and is acquired through months and years of participation in the work of that community. Where certification is granted, people presenting certification without having acquired a reputation for work in the community will be viewed with suspicion. If we want to awaken indispensable people, let’s try trusting them, trusting ourselves. Let’s imagine that life is full and rich. Let’s imagine that learning is natural. Most of us focus more on proof than on being, on outcomes than mindfulness. Imagine having time to be you. Imagine not having to prove yourself, not having to document yourself proving yourself. What if adolescence through mid-life crisis is actually a direct result of our publicly prescribed curriculum… Imagine having time to do your art. And then loving it so much that you can’t not give it away. If it’s your art, you’ll do anything to give it away. – Linchpin The connection economy demands grit; it demands that things be out of true; it demands the art of imperfection because perfect is boring, not remarkable, and because defect free often means interest free. We don’t need more stuff; we need more humanity. - Icarus Deception

Ch 5/97


98/ch 5

Perhaps we come together to listen without an agenda. Perhaps we seek the common good of our cities/communities. Perhaps we model/live an intention economy. Perhaps we let tech help us find each other, listen to each other’s hearts, tell each other’s stories. Imagine the potential of the human spirit, of human capital if we decided that what matters most is how the people around us are doing.

Ch 5/99

Perhaps we listen better. Perhaps we realize..

100/ch 5


Perhaps peace comes when we


Ch 5/101

summing it up for ch 5:

conversing w/others attachment – be us

(rhizomatic currency):

Our foundation is people. We value each person right now, each thumbprint. There is no need to prove, compete, judge, validate, separate. Worth is in our connections, our community, how much we give. Freedom of mind and space to do our art. Together. It is there we discover brilliance, beauty, breathtaking balance, peace. people matter.

102/ch 5

via young people:

Money isn’t as important as humans. You shouldn’t be trying to thrive from money, but trying to seek other human beings.

via parents:

This is a People Agenda. People are valuable. Treat them as such. Facilitate trust.

Ch 5/103

Our findings (each yr) :

Our findings (overall) :

1.2009-2010: Pilot self-directed math. Not enough in love with school math to self-direct.

1.Ed/school could be about finding & facilitating the genius in each person.

2.2010-2011: Lab kids submit own curriculum for year. Even writing own curriculum compromises true curiosity.

2.Self-reflection appears to get at #1.

3.2011-2012: be you house - kids sign up as independent study, declare learnings at end of year. Getting there, but not enough players.

3.Publicly prescribed curriculum & tests appear to keep most from 1 & 2 .

4.2012-2013: How to free up others in a community ?

elevator pitch?‌ 104/



be you. converse with self. be us. converse with others. listen. deeply. daydream. pay attention. whimsy matters. breathing matters. people. people matter. 107/

Th a t’s

wh at

i t’s

all ab

out .


be us.

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a story about people grokking what matters

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a story about people grokking what matters

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