Students need to learn how to create their own knowledge.  We can’t graduate students who have spent 12 years listening passively and then think that they’re going to be the leaders of tomorrow.  It takes initiative to be a leader, to solve the problems that we are having in society today.  So, how do we the design experiences for students to learn how to have initiative in their own learning process and discovery?

What Kids Can Do

What Kids Can Do offers a wide variety of materials, examples, literature and initiatives related to youth empowerment.  They champion “powerful learning with public purpose” and feature articles on topics such as:

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Community service and action
Global youth voices
Kids on the Wire annual highlights
Media and arts
School reform
Small schools
Science, environment, and technology
Straight talk and first-person accounts
Written and spoken word
Youth and politics

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Edutopia offers hundreds of videos, blogs and materials from schools all around the United States, intended to spread the adoption of key progressive education principles including:

Comprehensive Assessment

Integrated Studies

Project-Based Learning

Social and Emotional Learning

Teacher Development

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Learning from Children

(from Adora Svitak in this case)

It is a brave thing, to trust that the curiosity of young people can lead them to rigorous learning, and to create the structures to support this.  It flies in the face of traditional schooling, and also of an idea that western culture seems to have that children/people are inherently lazy and must be compelled to learn.  While Adora Svitak is a prodigy in her own right, her points in this TED talk can be extrapolated to all youth – she asks us to trust them and learn from them, and one thing I took away was the idea that youth know how to learn, and we can discover the best ways to teach them by allowing them more leadership in their education.


“Everyday, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet.  We should tread lightly.”

Learning is not linear, and students are not assembly parts.  Sir Ken Robinson talks about the need to revalue individual gifts and passions, personalizing the educational experience and revolutionizing schools.  ”Human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it’s an organic process, and you cannot predict the outcome of human development all you can do is created the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.”



More to come…  Feel free to write us with suggestions of practices, organizations, and schools to feature here!