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December 09, 2007

Blogging Nobel Public Services Innovation Summit (6)

In our session today on Learning 2.0 at the Nobel Week Public Sector Innovation Summit Jean Johnson, CEO of the Inclusion Trust gave a fascinating talk on her marquee project in England known as NotSchool. The program extends important work on challenging the mainstreaming of learning structures and pedagogies by trying to meld and bolt-on traditional schooling with the learning needs of a growing non-traditional student in the Internet age. Rather than trying to make students 'fit' the norm, with or without technology, Jean and her colleagues have established a 7*24*365 learning community for school leavers, students at risk, and non-traditional learners all on-line. The focus on experiential learning and e-mentoring has changed these young people from students, (a label that they reject) into active learners who are taking direct responsibility for their own success. The core goal of creating a literate society with reflective and critical thinking skills is no small undertaking.

In reflection, it seems to me that the there are some parallels to Jean's work with noschool.org and our work in Cleveland/North East Ohio under the leadership of Lawrence School's new head of school, Lou Salza. Lou has pointed out that the small group of educators and leadership in the learning differences world have had a major and disproportionate impact on the mainstream schooling community over the past 30 years. Lou's argument is compelling not only around pedagogy and the administration of schools in America. The learning differences 'movement' (I use the word advisedly)has impacted a wide range of undertaking of learning theory to public policy. As I look at the disruptive potential of notschool.org and support for the learning beyond walls movement, I think that the Inclusion Trust may well be in a position to have a similar impact. Lou reminds us that sometimes when you 'win' you can also 'loose', especially as policy ideologues attempt to appropriate the language of these disruptive movements and mold them into policies that do not always lead to positive outcomes.

The challenge of innovation is to understand that social change is not a spectator sport.

Lev Gonick
Stockholm, December 9, 2007

Posted by lsg8 at December 9, 2007 10:28 AM

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