Martin Institute- Permeable Schools Challenge

On June 12 and 13, I have the opportunity to facilitate a discussion around the learning that comes from the permeable classroom. In a permeable classroom, schools use their community and beyond to learn by using the resources, inspiration, and environment beyond the walls of the classroom to generate learning experiences that can't be replicated in the school house. This larger space of learning provides opportunities for passion-based learning, systems thinking, and much more. In addition, schools with an ethic surrounding the "permeable school" look for ways for the community to enter their learning space for growth, collaboration, and partnership.

The beginning of this experience for the learners at the Martin Institute will be an active challenge that takes them out of the learning space and onto the campus where the conference is being held. It is truly a different way to learn and experience at a conference. If you are attending the conference, I hope that you choose to join me for either my morning session 10-12 a.m. on Tuesday or my afternoon session from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday. You can also follow and contribute using the hashtag #micon13

Below are the guidelines for the challenge set for the participants.

You are set for a micro-experience of the learning that comes from the permeable classroom. The challenge will last 60 minutes. At the end of 60 minutes, your team will be presenting for three minutes to persuade the group surrounding your wisdom collected over the course of the journey.

This experience is about the concept of sustainability. Defined broadly, sustainability in schools and community is about justice, specifically how we can be more socially just, economically, and environmentally just as citizens, leaders, and stewards.

There are three locations listed in the room. (These will be longitude and latitude.) Each is a location that your team needs to visit to gather information for your presentation. At each location, take ONE index card. The things/ideas/concepts on your three index cards are the contents of your presentation that is due in 60 minutes.

Location One: N 35 degrees 07.465  W 89 Degrees 55.817
Location Two N 35 degrees 07.434  W 89 Degrees 55.826
Location Three N 35 degrees 07.423  W 89 Degrees 55.787

The guiding question for each presentation is this.
How are items listed on your cards related in a way that speaks to an issue of sustainability as defined above?

The contents of your presentation must include at least:
5 photos
1 video
2 named experts beyond your team that have added to your presentation
2 physical artifacts that contribute to your persuasive message

All of us will have an opportunity to listen to the presentations, reflect on the experience, and begin to think about how these types of experiences can be enrich our classrooms and schools in the fall.

Questions for Reflection:
Reflection is a process allows us to "decelerate education." It is one of the processes we use to deliberately slow the pace down so that we are learning and processing deeply, not quickly and shallowly. 

1. What value comes from permeable classrooms?
2. What "glue" does education for sustainability provide for students?
3. How could we have expanded, adapted, or enhanced this experience?
4. How can this connect to best practices that you already using?

In addition, here are some resources for continuing the work after the conference.

Great video from the folks at Triangle Learning about their desire to build an innovative middle school in the research triangle. Could generate great staff conversation.

Should student expect to learn in ways that are exemplified by permeable schools? This video describes the high expectations that students should have for their school.

Connecting kids to their community allows them to realize that school isn't about preparing for life, but it is a space to contribute to the life and community around them. Quest2Matter is an incredible endeavour by friends, innovator, and thinker Angela Maiers. Here are few more details.

Permeable schools are also looking for ways to infuse technology into the learning as it helps to maximize the engagement of all students, but the key is finding the balance between Green Time and Screen Time. (Page 48). See how one school is doing this here.

Finally, permeable schools in a globally connected society are looking for ways to provide students will opportunities to grow beyond the national borders. A fresh idea in this area involved the Global Learning Exchange. This initiative is designed for schools to use the art and passion of students surrounding digital storytelling to produce videos that will enhance the lives of students learning in Central America. This project is looking for schools in the fall to joining them in this mission. Finally, the use of Kiva, a microlending organization, has transformed a number of classroom, so that they can feel the power of permeability in their learning.