New Beginnings

6 Feb

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Now that we have entered into 2012, it has been exactly a year since I embarked upon this amazing “Eduventurist” journey. What started as simply a semester off to explore alternative education for myself, as well as to profile individuals who had taken nontraditional paths to their own learning, has turned into a permanent path and in and of itself, a learning curriculum and project. I spent 4 months in Europe (read and look at the Flickr album!), participating in numerous conferences and conducting interviews with people from many countries about the state of the world and what is needed to prepare ourselves for the future.

I returned to the US with a much clearer picture of what was needed for a new generation of learners, as well as for myself. Although it was difficult to make the decision, I have decided to not return to my original college but instead  to continue to build my own educational curriculum and program and to travel further on the unfolding path that I’m finding myself on. 

One of the most exciting aspects about this “build the road as you travel” journey has been discovering and tapping into a global community of fellow enthusiastic learners who were themselves searching for other ways of creating and learning. A few of these individuals are already well on their way designing and creating alternative learning initiatives. I also began to discover programs that I had never come across in my college search as a senior in high school. Most of these programs are not officially accredited, but offer tremendous flexibility for experiential, project-based, self-designed learning. A good number of these programs were also very focused on educating and training students to not only be able to creatively market themselves and secure jobs in a rapidly changing marketplace, but to make a positive contribution and impact on our society and planet.

Getting to know other participants at a conference in London

At one point recently, while talking to a mentor of mine, I said “I’m thinking about applying to Knowmads School in Amsterdam.” I discussed with him how I didn’t see many of these programs yet in existence, particularly in the United States, and how my home base in the Bay Area would be a perfect spot for such a program to be created. He responded, “How about you create it then? And you can learn the skills the program would teach participants as you are creating it.” Hmm. I had actually thought of this in the past but had at that time been daunted by the thought of creating a program myself. The voice in my head would shout, “I’m only 19!”  But after this past year, I have developed a lot more confidence. So now, as he raised the idea, it wasn’t so daunting.

Fast forward to now. After various conversations with others, mostly people I know through the Hub (a network of co-working spaces for social entrepreneurs and cultural creatives), I am working to try to bring more of these programs into existence, and to equip people (such as myself)  with the tools to do just that. I have determined that one critical piece is to learn from what already exists, and from what is also now in emergence. So I am planning a learning venture (part II): Eduventure 2012, in which I will explore and visit these programs in more depth, interview the creators and participants, and help to not only gather this research, but continue to build the network between them all to share best practices. You may also notice a new tab on this site for Eduventure 2012 which includes more information. I have put up a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo (a crowd-sourced microfunding platform), so if you find this idea intriguing and exciting, please check it out and consider supporting it! It will not only help me and my development as a change agent in education, but will also have a ripple effect and empower others with the tools and knowledge to do the same. 

I will be posting videoblogs over the next few weeks while the fundraising campaign is happening, to tell more of this story and to interview others. One thing I am particularly looking forward to is the upcoming Ashoka U Exchange, a conference in Arizona next week all on social entrepreneurship education. The exact title of the conference focus is “Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education.” Perfect timing, huh? I really look forward to meeting other participants and hearing their views and ideas on all of this!

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2 Responses to “New Beginnings”

  1. swim4success February 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Great meeting you! Nowww I understand what you’re doing and it’s awesome! (you interviewed me about my definition of social entrepreneurship and my experiences at tulane). Keep postin…I’m excited to learn about your learning process about how to learn 🙂

    • Weezie February 16, 2012 at 12:41 am #

      Haha, hey there! Glad you got a better understanding of my project by visiting the blog. I’m posting a video from the exchange very soon which will include your interview, so check back in the next 24 hours!

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