Tom Vander Ark on Difference Making and Schools Alive With Possibility

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast Rebecca Midles speaks with Tom Vander Ark about a new book he co-authored with Dr. Emily Liebtag: Difference Making at the Heart of Learning: Schools Alive With Possibility. This book stemmed from our multi-year Future of Work campaign when our team realized that one of the hallmarks of the future of work is purposeful work contributing to communities. Through hundreds of school visits and powerful conversations with inspirational organizations across the globe, we observed changemakers in action and learners who were more ready than ever to make a difference in the world.

Difference Making at the Heart of Learning is an inspirational, yet practical guide to help 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.

We know that students learn more when they feel a sense of purpose. With adults to help guide them, they’ll be ready to make a difference and shape the world to come.

The book is organized in three sections:

1. A New Mutuality:

2. We Thrive by Contributing

3. Earth Owner’s Manual

“Difference making is helping students figure out what they’re good at, what they’re interested in, and how and where they can contribute. It is a means of spotting opportunity and delivering of value.” – Tom Vander Ark

Mentioned in This Episode:


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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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