Difference Making: What Needs to Be At the Heart of Learning

Difference Making

We are thrilled to announce that today Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, the new book by Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag, is OUT! After thousands of school visits and co-authoring The Power of Place, Tom and Emily noticed that schools that make purpose and community the core of learning tend to have exceptional results. These learners feel empowered, curious and full of agency.


Today’s learners know they face a complex future. They yearn to live in a world where people are working with purpose, leading with character and making a difference. Learning to identify problems and use smart tools to develop meaningful solutions will help them make a difference in their families, their communities and for society.

They need your help. This inspirational, yet practical guide shows educators how to build on students’ own talents and interests to develop their desire for a better world, entrepreneurial mindset and personal leadership skills. Features include:

  • New learning priorities centered around making a difference
  • A framework based on the 25 most important issues of our time
  • Examples and case studies from a diverse range of projects, people and places

Students learn more when they feel a sense of purpose. With adults like you to guide them, they’ll be ready to make a difference—and shape the world to come.

How can you join the #DifferenceMaking movement?

Join the Conversation: Follow #DifferenceMaking on Twitter to learn more about purpose-based learning and connect to a network of leaders and learners passionate about purpose and community.

Speaking Engagements: Want to bring the power of place to your next event? The Getting Smart team is available to keynote your next event about contribution and community.

Getting Smart is also available to facilitate a discussion on contribution and community and discuss the ways in which purpose-based education contributes to equity, student-agency and a better world.

Workshops: Planning out your summer professional development? Invite Tom to lead a workshop with your school, community or organization on how to make purpose-based education a priority.

Visit our Difference Making Campaign Page: Access all of our Difference Making blogs, podcasts and other resources to start your learning here

If you’re interested in any of the above opportunities contact us!

For more, see:

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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