Two months post equinox, the days are noticeably shorter than the decadent northern latitude days of June.  The grass is brown where it’s not been watered.  There are fewer roses in the garden so it’s harder to assemble the shabby-chic Saturday bouquets.   But there are four magnolia blooms the size of soccer balls right off the back deck.

We waited until 5:30am to wander the beach this morning because it was dark and the tide was in.  A dozen boats were trolling in front of the house–crabbing season is slowing but the salmon run has started.  The signs of the seasons suggest that Labor Day is approaching–it’s almost time to go back to school.

We cling to our seasonal calendar in education.  At this point, preparations for the 2010-11 school year are just about complete—schedules, staffing, budgets, and adoptions.  Everything else will wait for the following year.

But learning is a lot messier than our 180 day calendar.  It happens where and when it will.  I thought about a great Stafford poem this morning, Learning, Any Time

Learning, they call it, this anticipated

lightning, this thinking around an event

and bringing it right.  It is hard to tell

if the connection is yours, or the world’s—

it all comes together and you say, “I know.”

In the coming years, I look forward to seeing more approaches to learning that are less agrarian,  less lock step, less compartmentalized; more personal, more portable, and more powerful.  I’d like to see more “anticipated lightning.”

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Tom Vander Ark
Tom Vander Ark is author of Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of 4.0 Schools, eduInnovation, Digital Learning Institute, Imagination Foundation, Charter Board Partners and Bloomboard. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.

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