Education 10.0?

If you started a school from scratch, what would you see as necessary, and what would you take out from what we currently do?  Thanks to the inspiration from George Couros this week and his #IMMOOC blog challenges, I am going to delve into my ideal school.

I’ve been thinking about my own school for years now.  It lives in my head and calls to me every time I ram my head against the proverbial wall of resistance at my current school.  When I can’t understand how change can be so slow, I fantasize of this dream school’s inner workings.  The thing is, my dream school already exists in bits and pieces around the globe.


Its beautifully designed flexible learning spaces live in schools like Iolani, Avenues, and the Blue School, where space and light invite creativity and learning.


Its Maker Space lives at NuVu, where students use the design thinking process to create things like this hand drive wheelchair attachment, clearly meeting the needs of their users through empathy.

Or at Brightworks in San Francisco, where “hands-on” learning is the norm, and the belief that “everything is interesting” is a core value.

Brightworks, San Francisco


Fostering global awareness through travel opportunities at my dream school exists at the Think Global School, where students immerse themselves in the cultures of the world.  When students aren’t learning in another place, they might be using VR technology to likewise gain empathy and understanding.

THINK Global School


Its sustainability focus lives at Crossett Brook Middle School, where Sarah Popowicz leads students to investigate our world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Emmett, Nicole, & Maeven growing micro greens for Cougar Co-op

I’ve left the most important part for last–the teachers.  In truth, good teachers are hard to find.  A shared vision, a commitment to student learning, and the right people are an ideal combination, and with this working space and conditions, well-rounded, engaged, and inspired graduates wouldn’t be far behind.  Some of my favorite teachers inspire students daily, think deeply about how to be better, and constantly innovate: Marc Gilbertson and Whitney Kaulbach, Chris Bologna, Cori Rockwood, Pat LaClair, Katie Bryant, and Nick Allen.


In the design of a new school,  a fierce desire to inspire a culture of learning in students is necessary, and my dream is to recapture the adventure in that learning.  By creating experiences for students that enable them to learn while doing, to feel valued in their opinions and ideas, and to foster their natural curiosities while exposing them to new ones, my dream school encompasses what it truly means to be educated.



“An Avenues Education.” Avenues: New York. Avenues World Holdings LLC, 04 Oct. 2016. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

“Blue School.” P. A. Collins PE Consulting Engineering PLLC. P.A. Collins P.E., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

“Brightworks: An Extraordinary School.” Brightworks: An Extraordinary School. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

“Hand Drive Wheelchair Attachment – NuVu School & Autodesk Education.” YouTube. NuVu School & Autodesk Education, 12 Oct. 2015. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

Montgomery, Blake. “The Maker Movement’s Influence: Photos From San Francisco’s Brightworks School (EdSurge News).” EdSurge. EdSurge, 10 July 2016. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

Popowicz, Sarah. “Sustainability Science.” Sustainability Science. N.p., 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

“THINK Global School.” Private School Review: New York County. Private School Review, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

“THINK Global School – The World’s First Traveling High School.” THINK Global School – The World’s First Traveling High School. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.





Published by

Lori Lisai

educator, arts enthusiast, runner, 2015 Rowland Fellow, and inspiration junkie cannonballing transformative classroom practice and life in general

6 thoughts on “Education 10.0?”

  1. You document some amazing learning spaces and experiences!

    As a teacher, I often notice that reading and writing can disappear from narratives about change and innovation in education. Curious to know your thoughts as we live in a time where literacy matters more than ever.


    1. I completely agree, Ben. As a language arts teacher, I work from the assumption that reading and writing are what help students to make sense of their experiences. It’s true that I should be more explicit in that, so thanks for your comment! Reflection and communication are keys to learning.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There has been a lot of focus on learning spaces recently (and research). The arrangement of space can say so much that we don’t even realize. On a walk through Pam Moran’s school I was fascinated to learn that there was an assumption that a teacher would not place his/her desk in front of the window as to NOT steal the light from the children. I’ve been noticing learning spaces so much more since that visit. Your virtual visit offers some additional insights!
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The approach “everything is interesting” is so vital, especially, I think, in K-2, where curiosity is cultivated or, dare I say, killed. My favorite teaching moments are when my youngest learners express an idea or a question and we can talk together and keep expanding it, for example:
    Student: “Ms. Storm, that wall is brown.”
    Me: “Yes, it is made up of bricks. Go feel them.”
    Student: (feels them): “They are rough. Why?”
    Me: “I’m not sure. We’ll have to learn about that. Notice how they sit on top of each other? Do you play with anything that you build on top of each other?”
    Student (runs across the playground, screaming:) “Our school is made of Legos! Our school is made of Legos!
    Let the learning begin…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your idea of a perfect school. I would love to work there! The idea that everything is interesting is really inspiring, especially given all of the different aspects students would want to explore if that lived in the school’s mission. Now to make it a reality…


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