Our challenges and opportunities are shared and it’s never been easier, or more important to make a difference. From hundreds of school visits and thousands of conversations with students, parents, preachers, policy-makers and the like — difference making has emerged as the most important way for us to transform learning experiences for young people and build a better future for all. We look forward to continuing to share these experiences with you through our blog and our new book, available now for pre-order!

Difference Making at the Heart of Learning

Difference Making at the heart of learning

Your students will change the world!

Today’s learners face a complex future, where multilayered technological and societal issues will require new ways of problem-solving. This inspirational yet practical guide helps educators, counselors, and youth-development leaders build on students’ talents and interests to develop their desire for a better world, entrepreneurial mindset and personal leadership skills―so they can make a difference to their families, their communities, and society. Features include:

  • New learning priorities centered around difference making
  • 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

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New Platform Connects Students To Service Learning, Creates Service Learning Transcript

Although service learning has long been valued in education and the professional world, there has not been a way to document it in the form of a transcript - until now. Introducing Treedom - a service learning platform that empowers high school and college learners to have personalized learning experiences through real world experience.

Readiness Institute at Penn State’s Hope Moonshot Is Inspiring the Global...

The Hope Moonshot project is a powerful tool available to educators to inspire a hopeful mindset for students.
virtual reality for senior citizens

How High-Schoolers Launched a Start-up to Reduce Social Isolation in Seniors

Four teammates in Uncharted Learning’s year-long INCubatoredu entrepreneurship course at Vista Ridge High School in Austin, Texas developed Walkthru, which leverages VR to transport seniors on more than 350 immersive tours around the world.
Maya Ajmera

Maya Ajmera on Social Entrepreneurship and the State of Science

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast, Tom chats with Maya Ajmera about her storied career in international social entrepreneurship, her position at Science News and her career as a children's book author.
personalized international school

WorldOver International Handcrafts Uniques Experiences for Global Learners

WorldOver International is creating a craft learning experience for global learners focused on artisanal courses, social responsibility, advanced technologies, languages, high levels of support and unique learning adventures.
Difference Making at the Heart of Giving

Difference Making at the Heart of Giving

This year, we are focusing our gift guide on people, places and things that encourage contribution, giving and supporting local communities.
thanksgiving and teachers

A Unique Thanksgiving Season: Even More Reasons to Be Grateful for...

By: Erin Gohl & Kristen Thorson. As we approach Thanksgiving, those of us who surround and depend on teachers—from parents of students to school administrators—must note, acknowledge, and convey thanks for all our teachers have done and continue to do for our children, families, and communities.
The Power of Us

David Price on the Power of Us

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast, Tom sits down with David Price OBE to discuss his new book, The Power of Us.

Tom Vander Ark on Difference Making and Schools Alive With Possibility

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast, Rebecca Midles sits down with Tom to discuss his new book Difference Making at the Heart of Learning.
difference making and project-based learning

Portrait of a School Wide Project Launch

Charter Elementary school launches universal school wide project as a means to engage all students and staff in a relevant, personalized, and public purpose.
Difference Making

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

Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, the new book by Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag is out now!
Living In Beta

Living in Beta: New Advisory Program Helps Teens Learn With Purpose

What if high school helped you pursue your passions and live and learn with purpose and intention? A new program, Living in Beta, is working to make this a reality.

Getting Smart Endorses Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Getting Smart has never endorsed a presidential candidate. This year is different. For our team, this election is about so much more than politics, it's about humanity.
It Just Got Really Complicated: It’s Time to Turbocharge Difference Making

It Just Got Really Complicated: It’s Time to Turbocharge Difference Making

These complex times require a new sense of mutuality and, for our youth, serve as an invitation to difference making.
student protests

Rebellion As An Act of Community and Self-Love

Albert Camus’ prescient 1950 essay on how the act of rebellion serves as a good for your community and yourself rings true today.