10 Things Educators Should Do

  1. Focus your learning: pick a topic to learn about, build a learning plan, read a few education bloggers every day.
  2. Broaden your learning: pick something new to learn about every year.
  3. Blend your learning: encourage your school to use a platform like Bloomboard to connect you to online professional development opportunities.
  4. Do some hands on learning: sign up for or create a maker experience (see 4 steps from Gayle Allen).
  5. Do some work-based learning: visit and, if possible, work in a couple different work environments particularly places that embrace an innovation mindset.
  6. Reflect on your learning: join online professional learning communities and learn with and from others.  See if you can write 50 probing questions (or read John Hardison’s).
  7. Portfolio your learning: chronicle your professional development (see Vanderbilt  summary)
  8. Share your learning: write a weekly blog about what you are learning, share your portfolio artifacts.
  9. Support peer learning: sign up to mentor a new teacher.
  10. Extend your impact: lead a grade span team, teach a class online, pilot another extended reach strategy (see OpportunityCulture).

10 Things Mayors Should Do Now

  1. Expanding access to high quality early learning experiences.
  2. Help create or appoint a ‘harbormaster’ to coordinate and support metro educational improvement and innovation.
  3. Work with providers to increase broadband access for low income families.
  4. Encourage businesses to provide work-based learning experiences.
  5. Encourage an innovation mindset at city hall and in city partnerships.
  6. Host community conversations about workforce requirements and new learning options.
  7. Encourage providers to use a single application (like New Orleans); encourage colleges to offer dual enrollment courses; encourage expanded access to job training.
  8. Sponsor youth entrepreneurship programs in school, after school, and during the summer.
  9. Sponsor a community leadership development program.
  10. Work with the state to ease barriers to business formation.

10 Things Businesses Leaders Should Do Now

  1. Make learning a priority for your employees.
  2. Encourage employees to make learning a priority for their family; give parents flexibility to be involved in their children’s education.
  3. Help sponsor the transition to next gen learning in your community with a donation, project management support, advocacy, or training.
  4. Sponsor and lead a community leader field trip to innovative schools (see 35 High Schools Worth Visiting and 38 K-8 Schools Worth Visiting).
  5. Provide work-based learning experiences including projects, job shadows and internships.
  6. Help parents and students understand the new world of work by hosting or support community conversations about workforce requirements;
  7. Use your position to advance next gen learning in your community and state.
  8. Mentor and tutor students who need extra help.
  9. Help kids do some hands on learning by sponsoring maker, robotics, coding, DIY, or scouting activities.
  10. Become an advisor for a community college degree program.


Featured image: community leaders in El Paso moving forward together. Tom is a director at Bloomboard. 

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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