four years. and now.

                                    autobiography of sorts, in (and of) perpetual beta – written 2012

[2013 version via links/slidedeck]

(winter 2008-2009) marks a pretty big shift in my life. One from people pleasing and perfectionism, to, finding the thing I can’t not do. Which for now, is freeing up people, particularly in public ed, to find the thing they can’t not do.

You could say it mostly kicked in when I joined Seth Godin’s online Triiibe. It was there I met (along with many other incredible and soon to be life-long mentors/friends) a long lost brother, in Belgium. The passion we shared was how to change up the 7 hours a day, the 12 plus years, and ensuing mindset we currently call school. After 6 months of skyping 24/7 with Steven, I started reading maybe 2-3 books a week. We worked on a manifesto for public ed, that I have since tried to clean up a bit here. My hunger for how to do this, how to redefine how most of us spend our days, was insatiated.

[A 3 min video of the situation crafted almost a year later via help from mentors on Triiibes.]

Having taught math for 20 years, I’m thinking I might have a different angle than many (yeah, people say that all the time, i know), in that I was with youth daily, that had decided they were either good or bad at *math, (which often trickled into their belief of being good or bad at school, and then at being good or bad at life.) [This different angle also came from my past history of doing school perfectly. Perfectionism, became my demise, if internal anguish is taken into account.

*A little aside (or not – perhaps it is the center):

I started to reference math in school as boxed math.. math that is part of the common core, the compulsory math, that we decided, somehow in 1892-ish, everyone needed to be exposed to. You know, the math people are referring to when they ask, what about the basics.

Funny when I look up basics I find this:


And then when I look up essential, I find this:


And reading further I see words like indispensable, can’t be crafted or made up, will just show up..


But when I ask people about their use of school math and when I research use of school math, it appears maybe 90%+ of people don’t use the math we are tested on, ie: rationalizing a denominator; the ability to prove if two algebraic expressions are equal or not; etc. So, we started to distinguish out loud and boldly, what was a most-often-blindly assumed a necessity. We started talking about mathematical thinking, parts that might be a necessity, but that we believed would then, by its own means and in individual ways, show up.

And it did. Often. Throughout the course of this four years, when we were seeking things that mattered, we often talked about the difference between linear and parabolic relationships, and most thrillingly numbing to our quiet revolution, exponential relationships. We often found ourselves, whether we stated it as such or not, looking for the fractal, the story or narrative that kept showing up everywhere. In fact .. that’s what and how we believe we have found something so important to share.. because we believe it is the fractal people have misinterpreted or misunderstood, or never seen quite so clearly. The essential or basic, that we came to believe is natural, essential, ie: it will show up on its own. Just as you learned to walk and talk and eat naturally. No grammar lessons needed, no lessons on rationalizing a denominator essential.

Imagine we learn from a fractal mindset, that in order to see/find/solve things that matter, we just need to clear out the massive amounts of excess knowledge, facts, innovations even. Imagine we get to that essence, that essential. Imagine it being relationships, being known by someone, which would free time up to focus on the start up of the individual. Imagine the narrative (fractal) is setting each individual free, with nothing to prove. We’ve found that people are good, and learning is natural. Imagine that we don’t need to wait for innovations to scale, or for our plans of changing the world to be perfected. Imagine instead that the answers are already everywhere, and we just need to get out of the way (Mitra). To simplify things back to the essence of learning.. relationship and ownership. It’s funny, or not, I started relating algebra to god. Both have heavy pushers in this world, and because of that, both have heavy haters, or worse, people that think they don’t measure up. I’m thinking, because of all the pushing. If either exists, or is essential, they will show up, in much more humane and loving ways. I’m thinking.

I believe this perspective helped get us to an intense wilderness space, to a deeper experimentation and conversation than I ever could have imagined, about changing up school.
And the following three years would only enhance and enlighten this idea of a mental wilderness space, of seeing things that we often miss. We started to see/believe that there is never nothing going on.
I must say, with coaching and teaching and student leadership, et al, I felt I went into this quiet revolution with a pretty good rapport with youth. And yet, it’s taken four years to get to the heart of the matter. We are all so ingrained with the idea of perhaps pleasing others with our words because we want to be nice, or perhaps bulling others with our words because we want to get on and get out, or perhaps defending our words because we’re afraid they are empty.

The essence of connecting seems to be communicating. If George Bernard Shaw is right, and I believe he is, that – The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place, – then changing up how we communicate, via two conversations, seems an incredible narrative, fractal, story.

my main finding: you can teach an old dog new tricks..
up next: swimming in Will Richardson’s – do it for yourself first and Mary Catherine Bateson’s – vulnerability in context.
This tech-fobe would soon be tweeting, blogging, webinaring, junto-ing, hanging out, facebooking, videoing, slidesharing, mac-ing, texting, and even publicly talking to herself daily … all for the sake of connecting. And the prep-queen would eventually give up perfection for the bliss and expertise found while swimming in the moment, the vulnerability of context (Bateson).

I’ve never liked beginnings and ends (esp in regard to the school year), i’ve always preferred the middle, where the rules, perhaps, have dissipated, and you just are, in a space, you know each other.
Little did I know, though I should have perhaps, that my gut was heading me to a more real essence… and yes, bliss is a good descriptor. All is bliss, when I let the (Carol) Dweckian mindset take over. Not only is curiosity hugely neglected (and what I believe will lead us to beyond breathtaking), it’s a shield in a sense, because it completely changes your mindset. Roger Martin’s The Design of Business had an oddly huge impact on me, his cemented in me this idea of respectful boldness, perhaps just the awareness he shared of a world filled with reliability-oriented people. Not good or bad, just it is what it is. That helped me a ton with conserving energy.

(fall 2009) I had requested permission to listen to youth without an agenda, couched in the guise of, might I facilitate a self-directed math (pre ap alg 2) class. Spring 2009, I had offered it to 120-some students already enrolled for the pre-ap algebra 2 course the next school year. The disclaimer letter to parents/students – this would be self-directed, parents would in essence be signing their children off to a perpetual field trip, … only those interested in accepting full responsibility for whatever may come, should apply. Also – if students didn’t have access to a laptop, they got to spend time with me that summer to write a grant letter. The resulting letter. The resulting laptops, et al. And we were off, with 30 bold, brave, lovely, students (and parents).

What a whirlwind. We learned, and of special emphasis and note, we prototyped thinking, from: Weimen & Mazur – esp in regard to expert individual tutors; Gatto, Christensen, November, & Richardson – about owning the learning; Cormier, Downes, Siemens & Drexler – about community as curriculum, networks, connectivism; Godin – being indispensable; McWilliam – being usefully ignorant; Feynman – the pleasure of finding things out; Robinson – finding your art/element, Dweck – about a growth mindset, Papert – following the curriculum from within each child… et al.
We started the year via Michael Wesch’s editable syllabus – [here is the start of our syllabus – notice Wesch’s to the right], among many many other things, like netvibes.
Basically, from all my years of NCTM (from 1989 conference) and working on and tweaking curriculum maps for math, believing I was helping teachers and students to do the things they needed to do to be successful, I was able at the beginning of the year, to hand them, online, the math map for what they would need to know at the end of the year. Then I pretty much told them, good luck, I’m here if you need me (Mitra).
As many who have tried similar things can attest, this is hard for many people. We’re used to being told what to do. But with persistence, and collaboration, the students created this clever device – a self-directed, cyclic grid, through the standards of alg 2 math. This jing capture navigates a bit through that grid, and also showcases a bit – where we platformed ourselves, on a ning site called talk-ed. [The year prior, students had crafted a pretty incredible moodle site. It’s gone now, like the talk-ed site, but with not even a screen capture to share. We had it rigged, per Michael Wesch-ian style, to give kids points per hits on the sites and resources they suggested others use to study algebra 2 concepts.]
More on how the open-sourced/flipped classroom/et al worked for us here.

[A 2 min video reflecting on the math pilot, again via the help of Triiibes mentors.]

We did a call out for expert individual tutors, many of which came from Triiibes. We crafted me videos in order to potentially create more serendipitous connections.
We did find, that while virtual is amazing, face to face is and will always be vital. See this in our findings from failings, but it also played a big factor in settling in on the idea of interdependence, being known by someone.

Highlights of the year included meeting up, on our ning site, with a gathering of lovelies from Croatia, a gathering of lovelies from Uganda. Our ning was an incredible space. It was a thrill to go on the site and see kids on there all hours, talking to friends from all over the globe, and talking to each other. It was also fun to go on the site, with none of us locals on, but people from africa and london meeting up, saying it was just the easiest place to gather. It helped us start to see the importance of equity and of a narrative that we could start anywhere and follow it everywhere – Myron Rogers.

A couple times this winter, we (Gus and I) met up with the likes of Noam Kostucki, Kosta Grammatis, Gregory Hill, to work on a site or platform or ? that would be stand alone – ish for anyone wanting to become a self-starter, a self-directed learner. We eventually ended up with this, but in our meetings, our intentions were more toward our current vision of a

I believe my first ever podcast was this one, where Howard Rheingold was being informally interviewed by Dean Shareski and Alec Couros. It was during their conversation that I 1) became aware of how much I loved the ability to lurk in on incredible minds thinking aloud 2) i got exposed to the idea of networked individualism and 3) i became aware of a vital question, asked by Dean toward the end about 30 min in, what’s the value of being together in a room?

Author’s that resonated and re-enforced beliefs we were forming:

  • Jason Fried, Rework – work (school) is where we get the least done
  • Lisa Gansky, The Mesh – the future of business is sharing
  • Seth Godin, Linchpin, Tribes, the dip, et al – find your art, the thing you can’t not do, become indispensable
  • Carol Dweck, Mindset – growth mindset geeks out at assumed roadblock – cool, what can I learn from that
  • Ellen Langer, Mindfulness – if we focus on outcomes perhaps we become more mindless, also – prejudice decreases as discrimination increases
  • James Bach, Buccaneer-Scholar – how to direct your own learning/life
  • Jacqueline Novogratz, The Blue Sweater – how to empower people vs help them
  • Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus – we have all we need, it’s in people
  • Roger Martin, The Design of Business – how to respectfully, yet boldly, question everything
  • Sir Ken Robinson, The Element – unleashing the genius in everyone
  • Benjamin & Rosamund Stone Zander, The Art of Possibility – the art of possibility
  • Kevin Kelly, What Tech Wants – to help us become us
  • Krishnamurti, The Significance of Life – partial freedom is no freedom
  • Yaacov Hecht, Democratic Education – education cities, when I read this, I felt like we had written it. ie: talking to family about son who just wanted to play soccer, et al.
  • Jane McGonigal, Reality is Broken – our propensity is not toward laziness, we crave hard work, but work that matters
  • Anya Kamenetz, DIY U – options abound
  • Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code – deep practice makes all the difference, myelin sheath abounds
  • Mary Catherine Bates, Peripheral Visions – life is perpetual beta, put yourself in the vulnerability of context
  • Meg Wheatley & Deborah Frieze, Walk Out Walk On – start anywhere take it everywhere

Again, find a longer list here. And TED’s that started driving us crazy. What blew me away was that in the incredible conversations I was having with kids, without reading any of these authors themselves, they were in essence, quoting them. We knew something breathtaking was brewing. While falling in love with TEDs, i got introduced to Saul Kaplan’s BIF stories/conversations. Loved that many were just that, conversations. Geeked out on the improv/vulnerability involved in a live conversation, watching other people think, rather than just present.

At the end of this year, we had crafted ideas (and wetpaint wiki sites) for the Innovation Lab, for Your School Design It and for Your PD Design It, where the Lab was really just a starting point to prod your school and your pd, which were both efforts toward self-directed learning for both students and teachers respectively. The main focus of our quiet revolution was people, a people agenda. A networked people, which changes the game completely.
We also were able to focus/channel a bit into this full version video (with the help of those amazing Triiibes mentors, Bernd and Kes in particular) – that we then broke it into this video set.  The kool beans part, was absolutely student voice and students in action. Our motivation that year, and ongoing, .. each other (Gus).

At the beginning of 2010, after a weekend conference our district hosted with David Warlick, I went home and wrote up my dream job description, which resulted in facilitating the first year of the Lab. Find the more orderly b&w version here. It was at this conference I was first, briefly, introduced to Jim Folkestad, professor at CSU, who would soon become a dear friend and fellow, local, colleague, as we began to research the potential of self-directed learning, with the focus being, a process of learning to learn.

June 2010, ISTE conference is in Denver, kids present at Steve Hargadon’s unconference/edublogger on the lab, (add video clip). Steve also sneaks me into a dinner with Howard Rheingold, Adora Svitak, and Angela Meiers. I get to meet and hang out with Gregory Hill, and many others. This is my first interaction with people who I first met virtually, on twitter.
The commuting was amazing as well, I had the pleasure of conversing with Toni Theisen, who has a lovely take on life, competition and clumping in particular.  (add links to that)
And equity, she’s the first person that got me to really understand equity. And I have to say, that is the one thing that is killing me today. Public ed should be equitable, not equal. We have no idea the inequity we promote daily, with our labels, our imposed mindsets of what is normal, yeah… inequity is killing me, and it’s my drive.

Toni got me rolling on equity, and Gregory got me going on wifi. So as the kids started talking about projects, I decided this I would have as my mission – equity. I wrote about the evolution of a bloodless revolution here, and about what we were doing in regard to digital equity here.

I believe it was this day (oct 2010) that Jim and I were meeting at our district building, to talk about noticing, dreaming, connecting, and doing, when Jim said, there’s something missing. From then on, and as the foundation, we added be, the essence of self-directedness, to a full and happy life, to our detox.
At the end of this year, we submitted this proposal to do the lab the following school year, on the tails of this doc. Lucas went before the curriculum committee requesting that students have the option to write up their own curriculum for the year.

Our amazing district curriculum director has been a huge support. When I decided to resign from teaching math, she helped to create a part time position for me, Learning Innovation TOSA (teacher on special assignment), and told me, just keep doing what you’re doing. Those words were huge. They made me realize, I really was modeling, experiencing, prototyping, this space/mindset of permission, with nothing to prove. I was learning first hand how empowering and freeing, and yes even essential, it was/is, if we’re wanting to find the thing an individual can’t not do. The thing they will get themselves up for every morning, putting in the 10,000 hours of deep practice – of expertise, to become indispensable.

More shipments if you’re so inclined. We did add a site on, stayed at the top of the list for over a year. Presented for different global webinars, and in person at ISTE and co-learning…

our main finding: not enough kids are passionate about school math to self-direct their own learning.
up next: so we got permission (lucas did) for kids to write their own curriculum for the following year.

(fall 2010) we got to experience a year of incubated prototyping out of a physical space connected to the highschool I had been at. The TVHS tech building became the first home of the TSD Innovation Lab. We had youth (youth to whatever degree you decide) learning/teaching game design, hebrew, chess, opera, programming, storm chasing, dog training, sign language, soccer, homelessness, human trafficking, physical training, robotics… we gathered info per people here (tumblr- the lab), and wrote about all we were learning and doing via the slidedeck series here (slideshare – awakening indispensable people) .

The year started with a skype call to James Bach, asking him how to cure homelessness. The beginning of some intense and insightful conversations, immersed with ongoing thinking/doing/questioning. James visited the lab. That opened our eyes even more and set us on a journey toward interdependence.

As per usual, I wanted to swim in what the kids were doing. My project, my passion, equity. So along those lines, I was heavily invested in what Kosta was up to. When he was launching ‘s buy a satellite, I crafted this video. I love it. The song was one Gregory Hill shared with me about a year earlier. Very fitting. Keri Smith, Ethan Zuckerman, Langhorne Slim, Gregory, Kosta, so many good people. Writing this today, all I can think about is JR, here, about 5 min in saying, don’t tell me there aren’t enough people in the world who want peace. And, enough is enough.
The story was starting to resonate more with people, but as it did, people usually tried to categorize it/us. Were we modeling Sudbury, Montessori, Summerhill? Shouldn’t we become a charter? Our vision was always that nothing was bad, just that nothing was for everyone. If people disliked something, we found just as many that liked it. We weren’t trying to get rid of anything, just inform people of the many options outside of our current vision of school or public ed. We were intent on a narrative that would bring people together, rather than splinter them apart. (the dandelion effect)
I kept hearing George Siemens saying, there were innovations everywhere, we were just missing the glue to scale them across. (my paraphrase) – We were looking for that glue, that narrative.

Locally, I was on the strategic planning committee, part of an ongoing tech support training. I meet up with some amazing unschooling parents. I learn the importance of not measuring, of just valuing people, without any strings attached, of deliberately not teaching. I learn what it means to strew.

I attended my first bif conference. Saul Kaplan, founder, allowed me to slip past the entrance fee, and the district paid my airfare and lodging. It was an incredible experience to say the least. We were calling ourselves a connected adjacency, and this came from Saul (link) soon to be written up in his book bmif. I met Katherine Von Jan, and had no idea what that connections might mean in the future. I sat next to Ben of seeclickfix, met John Hagel, and Jason Fried, Tony Hsieh and the happiness bus,…

Meet up with one amazing Jeff Brazil…  very surreal as he’s bringing into reality – mentors I have studied under, and prototyped their thinking, for the last couple of years. Jeff has opened so many doors for us, can’t even begin to list them. One in particular, he amped up our dreaming boldly, believing that indeed, this is not ridiculous. Whimsy does matter.
It was such a strange intro, it felt much like a dream, here’s Jeff asking if we might like to blog with dml, intro-ing me to the people involved, letting us see if we are interested in the connections, when, indeed, these are the people that we have followed and learned from. The digital media project with the MacArthur foundation caught our eye early on, as you can see in our slidedecks and first global ed presentations. We loved that they were looking after (school) hours, to see what kids were doing, what they were learning, on their own, rather than trying to find a way to make what already goes on in school better. ie: We had already fallen in love with youmedia (was in our documentation for city as school, each highschool becoming one as we reconstruct), Ethan Zuckerman – as a disrupter of imaginary cosmopolitanism, danah boyd – as a seeker of truth and equity esp in regard to safety, Howard Rheingold – from my first podcast – what does it mean to be mindful of your days, … One I hadn’t known about yet but soon fell in love with Mimi Ito, who seemed to be speaking our hearts every time she talked, as well as Connie Yowell, oh my. We had actually fallen in love with Joi Ito’s story – spring 2011 – as he was appointed director of the MIT media lab, with no college degree.

Somewhere in here meet up with Jodhbir Singh, who got me to reread Dennis LIttky’s work. [I had fallen in love with what he was doing, but then researched local big picture schools and was disappointed to find math remediation, et al. But per Jodhbir, who said, Dennis’ book is what changed him, I read it, and realized 1) how incredible the work of the met is 2) how easy it is for things to change/compromise as we try to scale them.]

At the end of this year (2010-2011 school year), find our proposal for the ongoing lab, written up here. Our vision was that the Lab would become a mindset, rather than any designated space. We were graced with the opportunity to do just that two weeks before school started fall 2011, when an incredible space for experimenting with setting a person free was offered to us.

Some policy troubles — even though some kids learned from and were tested by amazing experts, we were only able to label their credit “leadership,” because these experts weren’t teacher in our school. ie: some kids taught themselves sign and were tested by our local university sign prof, who said they easily had two year’s worth of sign.

our main finding: even when kids craft their own curriculum, the fact that it’s a 9 month commitment is compromising to the way the human brain works best.
up next: we asked permission for kids to just sign up for independent study, then at the end of the year they declare what they learned and whether or not they want credit.

(fall 2011) we fall into an amazing space two weeks before school. Our goal is to be downtown, we’re hoping to be able to live more in the city, walk to apprenticeships even. We end up with a beautiful house built in 1910. It allowed us to prototype transparency, interdependency, the allure of the eclectic. Perhaps even, our redefinition of NCLB (no child left behind), a home that most people might crave, one where you have nothing to prove, because you are valued right now, you are loved, just as you are. A space where you are known by at least one person, so that your curiosities are known and facilitated, strewn before you the next day. Out of the be you house, came several full-time lab students.

I attended my second bif conference, this time out of pocket. but with support, two lab kids were able to attend as well… Sierra got to meet Malika Chopra. We met up with Dennis Littky and Dale Stephens.

Then in november, three kids and i journeyed across the country to ny for the contact.con conference, headed by Rushkoff and Miemis. We stayed with Katherine Von Jan, who is working with Dale Stephens on Radmatter

Somewhere in here, per Jeff’s push, started penning a be you book. With the help of incredible connections (from twitter): Mary Ann Reilly, Thomas Steele-Maley, Rob Greco, Amanda Judd. Will need to write more on this sometime…

Because of Jeff Brazil, again, Stephen Brown enters our lives. He visits Loveland with the intent to film the lab for part of a PBS special. That was a delight and an ordeal and an incredible learning experience all rolled into one. I think he ended up coming to Loveland three times. The special is expected to air the first of 2013, titled – is school enough, and the main focus will be Sierra, and, what happens when you set an individual free.

Got to attend the dml conference in San Francisco. Got to attend it with Jim.

Spending more time back in the district 2nd semester… we started to feel Deborah Frieze’s two-loop theory, hospice in particular. Locally and globally we could feel the tension. We started to realize/think that this four year plan could be shrunk down to 3, (so just one year left), if we did get some – no strings attached – funding. We imagined the same amount that Gates was donating to the state of colorado for the race to the top initiative would be a good starting place. So we crafted this vision doc and this budget of sorts, imagining what 20 million might represent/demonstrate:

  • what a city might look like financially if govt funding was per census and crowdsourced per the community/city/district
  • how rich a city might feel, with or without the literal money, when we start practicing time/talent share, the mesh
  • the transformation that might take place in just a short year, in a city with a new/emerging mindset: people set free, taking care of one another

We really do have all we need, we’re just not being clever enough about (or using our heads/hearts) how we share/use things.

In May, three lab kids got to speak at our first tedxfrontrange here.

Started talking with Eli and Saul about BIF becoming a funnel for no strings attached funding.

We got local principals to donate sub time in order for Brett Goldstein to help craft this video set.
We also got a lot of support and expertise from

Over the years, have been in conversation with many people I shouldn’t have been. But things are falling together. Monica Anderson, Bill Mathis, Zappos, add more on these….
Carol Black, Manish Jain, Yaacov HechtHamza and Paul, Arjana,

our main finding: we think we’re onto something with this whole.. spaces of permission, where people have nothing to prove.

but …we don’t have enough players.
up next: we are seeking to set a whole city free.

(fall 2012) our focus is a means to ground the chaos of a city set free, with nothing to prove.

Public ed is now hailed as the #2 market at 1.7 trillion. Standardized testing industry – 20-50 billion. However, research abounds, that the way we are doing things, is not boding us well. In particular, Yong Zhao‘s research on the PISA, (one of the major tests we use to compare countries), that those doing well at math are less happy, less creative, less entrepreneurial.

We believe, rather than this ongoing attempt to innovate and then scale innovations (of which we have many in ed), we focus on scaling the individual. We believe this is the means to equity, especially in a more timely manner, as individual scaling will exponentiate at a much faster and qualitative rate.

In order for this to happen, we are suggesting the removal of compulsion from our current definition of public education.

When that happens, chaos is sure to abound.

We’re wanting to create and prototype an app to facilitate that chaos.


The more expertise we can throw toward this effort, the sooner we will see a more equitable public education, the sooner we will see the capabilities of the human spirit.


Am working on my own prototype of what the app could do, leave as a trail, here.

aug 10 2012:
so .. just found this yesterday. read through their download plans et al. so resonating w/the app idea – already to go.
many of their advisors are part of our research over the years.. [jane mcgonigal, simon sinek, belsky, whitney johnson, dale stephens..] their founder, Francis – is also part of a start up disrupt ed.. i don’t see much going on there.. but that tells me where his heart is.
imagine we convince them.. dreaming isn’t just for after hours or after you graduate.. then they won’t have to write mounds on how to get money for this.. how to sustain it… how to get people…

i’m thinking this is a matchup that could turn all the vision we are seeking in ed, on a dime. the shift in culture. to where we find we already have all we need.

again – our (updated 2013) vision of an app – to ground the chaos as we redefine ed.
i see tweaking the everest app, or perhaps some small offshoot to just prototype, that is more about the networked individualism piece.. the mesh the app creates, so that the dreaming, connecting and doing become more self-directed, and actually, more invisible, the more you talk into the app.

Imagine all the time we spend on defense, on seeking applause, on protesting, on complaining. Imagine, rather than a world focused on proof, we become a world focused on one, perhaps standard, question: what does it mean to be human and alive. Imagine during the course of a day we are just doing and being, because we have become our own start ups, we have set ourselves free, in spaces of permission with nothing to prove. Imagine us using/programming tech to do what it wants, help us get back to us, by aggregating our thinking for good. Using our thinking as data to connect us and to leave a trail of us, for the intention economy, one built on trust and transparency, community.

People ask us how we’ll measure success and I like to say things like “I’d love everyone in the country to have the chance to be part of ‘a good thing’ together with four or five other people”.
via we will gather

Over the years people have encouraged us to apply for grants, and we have applied for some, they have encouraged us to become chartered, but our people agenda vision was to be about no strings attached and about people being set free. And about equity.
We looked into becoming a non-profit, $8000 and a 6-12 month wait. While we could do that, it doesn’t seem like an equitable trail for others.
So we started talking more intentionally with Lisa Gansky and Eli and Saul at bif, we are working on a funnel for no strings attached moneys to flow through, for us to begin, but then available globally.  again for these ideas

you..perhaps.. join us as we kickstart an app, that might help as we attempt to set a city free.

my brain

cliff notes:

Our findings (each yr):

[udated 2013 – see storyboard]
1)2009-2010: Pilot self-directed math.
Not enough in love with school math to self-direct. Also – while virtual is unleashing this, local is
2) 2010-2011: Lab kids submit their own curriculum for year.
Even writing own curriculum compromises true curiosity.
3) 2011-2012: be you house kids sign up as independent study,
declare learnings at end of year.
Getting there, but not enough players.
4) 2012-2013: Collaboratory frees up others in community.
Chaos to abound – how to ground that.

Our findings (overall):
1) Ed/school could be about finding & facilitating the genius in each person.
2) Self-reflection/assessment appears to get at #1.
3) Publicly prescribed curriculum & standardized tests appear to keep most from 1 & 2

things i still need to add:

  • importance of lurking/shadows
  • junto – miemis & bernd
  • venessa and dave – teaching me lurking without knowing i’m lurking.. meet up as surreal – add ted of guitar meet up
  • contactcon & bif
  • jodhbir – and dennis littky
  • anya – million bucks dropped on head
  • thomas and illich
  • isaac and yaacov
  • edna and hebrew
  • lucy and anne
  • be you book – thomas/maryann/rob/amanda
  • video of corey – me talking mesh – and now instigators collective
  • james bach
  • gyrations of detox [me videos, google doc, video doc, app]
  • csu stem group – weren’t ready for our craziness
  • black sheep and hospice gyrations
  • the kids: ben, gus, lucas, lauren, molly, aimee, maddie, cristian, peter, courtney, bret, sierra, satori, karina, jordan, alex – quiet revolution, stuco,

other versions of the story:

redefine school (collection of multiple versions on tumblr, bottom-most post as earliest version)

be you book (slideshare of five elements)

a quiet revolution unfolds (5 vision videos)

be you site (wordpress site of detox – process of learning to learn)

awakening indispensable people – aka – drafting bold dreams (mother deck of multi slideshare set)


my brain – what we see as future trailings from app

birds eye view

interviews via dave – on rhizomatic learning

my detox?


our story from other kids.. what timing – school as is is great.. but it’s become one node to a kid in their network of learning


vision via 3 TEDs:

We’re working on the emergence of a community that begs/believes that there is

And in order to facilitate that, we envision using

and open our eyes to each other in a collaboratory space [people experiment] modeled after Deb Roy’s home, with an app to jolt us back into us.

So that credentialing might come through

if we even talk credentialing in the future.