Good Work: Connecting Mission & Task

The highlight of producing Smart Cities was interacting with 60 thought leaders who are compelled by a mission and have found or created a way to connect it with work that they enjoy. Each of these contributors understand their unique gifts and the activities that produce flow–those experiences when you are fully absorbed and fully productive–and they have aimed their time and talents at their mission. And these 60 have dedicated their lives to improving the education of young people. They are talented, passionate, and humble–working with people like that is the best part of what I do.
James Taylor said, “The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time.” I’d argue that it is connecting cause and gift, mission and task. When you do that it’s not work, it’s love.
Passionate about LX. Jon Kolko, design lead at MyEdu (now part of Blackboard), wrote a great post on why EdTech design should focus on learner experience design (LDX) more than expediency. Jason Gorman, Six Red Marbles, and I agree and have been writing about this (see 10 Elements of Next-Gen Learner Experience). It’s great to see districts like Danville Schools in Kentucky making powerful learning experiences their number one priority–and combating boredom which may be the number one problem in our secondary schools.  LDX is at heart of the Deeper Learning movement (see 20 school profiles) and what Andy Calkins, NGLC, calls next gen learning. This week I had the chance to talk to folks living LDX:

  • Imagination Foundation has 82,000 schools and clubs signed up for the Cardboard Challenge (based on Caine’s Arcade, pictured, join now!);
  • Teachers using to integrate science, history, and social studiers (we collected their stories here);
  • Jeff and Laura Sandefer, Acton Academy, are scaling up an exciting student-centered elementary school model;
  • Jason Lange at Bloomboard is thinking about great learning experiences for teachers;
  • Carrie Irvin & Simmons Lettre at Charter Board Partners are creating online and coaching resources for board members; and
  • Pat Hoge at Connections Education who thinks deeply about better online experiences for students.

Speaking of Connections, co-founder Steven Guttentag was named president this week following Barb Dreyer’s passing (she is remembered here).
Shout outs. Here’s a couple posts I just had to share on Twitter in the last few days:

Connections is an Advocacy Partner. Tom is a director at Bloomboard, Imagination Foundation and Charter Board Partners.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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