detox - why

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why we came up with detox

Transcript of detox - why

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The idea of detox came from the last two years, of listening to students' thinking on how to redefine school.

Our findings, everyone's thinking was different. Nothing is for everyone.

Multiple learning styles, personalities, preferred topics to learn, preferred means to assess/present learning, and multiple meanings of success, begged for personalization,

…but also created an intangible means to model learning within public education.

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Personalization to this extent in public education is a relatively new possibility.

Web access allows connections to people/mentors and information we were never able to connect to before. Now every learner can create their own course/project/curriculum with their own expert tutor. 

Web access also allows a global scan/view of the big picture of learning. That big picture is showing us that often our best mentors and info are found in unlikely places.

Refocus to a natural learning process unearths unaccounted for time and resources. Now we can pay better attention, notice more empathetically, and make better connections. We can unleash the genius in all of us, awakening indispensable people.

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We came across this paper by Erica McWilliams.

In it, Erica pens the most needed skill, being usefully ignorant, knowing what to do when you don't know what to do.

We decided to fashion a model of that process of learning.

With the help/guidance of expert self-directed learners (such as James Bach and Noam Kostucki) and experts in usefulness (learners seeking anti-jargon/buzzwords, mostly students) we came up with a process/verbiage we're hoping is user friendly

(notice, dream, connect, do).

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So we have been experimenting with this simple path to authentic learning.

Focus on the process of learning, as opposed to the compulsory content public education subscribes to, appears risky to many in light of our current standard of measure.

We have found however, that in fact, our standard of measure is now providing more of a risk in a world where self-directed learners are becoming indispensable.

We also found that most people (80% ish) are so used to following direction that even if they choose to be free from rules,

they aren't quite sure what to do without them.

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Most people are other people.Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. - Oscar Wilde

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While the exact words,

notice, dream, connect, do,

are certainly not set in stone, and certainly aren't to be worshiped, we do see great value in detoxing along with others.

Common verbiage and a means to access others' experiences/documentation will be helpful.

We are working with Jim Folkestad at CSU to craft mappings of this process, this activity system, through some type(s) of documentation by the learner and/or their mentor.

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Examples of people working through their own process of learning to learn, (like detox) are everywhere. Here see only two:

Carl Aldrich: learn to be, learn to do, learn to learn. Goran Kimovski: play, build, reach, learn

This is a good thing, this emphasizes the fact that learning is is non-linear.. , that there is no one how-to book/answer.

The right answer, is the way that works for you. .. for the learner. And even that will be in perpetual beta.. always changing/morphing/failing/improving/…

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We believe learning is a natural process for anyone in a non-oppressive environment with exposure/access to resources. Many of us have become intoxicated with standardization, unable to self-direct our own learning. Detox jump starts learning of anything.The why: nothing is for everyone

What we're calling detox is simply a process of learning to learn, of knowing what to do when you don't know what to do. This process is a means to facilitate interest/passion driven learning.The what: awakening indispensable people

We believe, to notice the unlikely, dream boldly, connect to people and info, and do what matters, is a pretty good representation of the natural process of learning. We’re currently experimenting with youtube (and hopefully soon wikipedia) as a means to document/share.The how: to a person, be you - to a people, help clear spaces to be

To truly do this on your own, we suggest you be. A jump into be is here, and if you'd like a little nudge beyond that, go here. 

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holy cow – can’t wait to add more here.. currently reading John Dewey’s How We Think

Just take a peak at how his writing supports this..

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Funny – noticing has to be the most basic skill that all of us possess. It is probably the most taken for granted, the most outsourced, and the most potent of all skills.

Noticings determine action.

Learning how to notice is key to making the world a better place.

One of the best gifts we can share with each other, is how to notice.Listen … with whatever means you have.. to what’s going on around you.

more on notice

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(does it matter, is it awesome)

If it’s your art, you will do almost anything to give it away. -Linchpin

more on do

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Relax (disconnect/unplug from the success/failure games).Curiosity is natural.Knowledge deemed as opportunity now binds us.The web allows access to anything.Self-construction is natural.Most need detox to get back to what matters.NCLB = absolutelyAchievement gap = misnomer

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Personalizing in public education allows the learner to own their learning. Focus on learning process, iterated no matter what the content, streamlines a standard curriculum, so to speak, to one skill. Something incredibly messy and complex, differentiating for each learner, now becomes very simple and focused. This simplicity and focus allows for a pruning out of unneeded content/busywork, as well as an intense, deep practice of the goal at hand. Iterations of the same process soon become second nature. And the learner has the skill set to do anything they previously didn't know how to do.

What matters most, how do you define success?

click to play

This is Jim, CSU prof, explaining a

mapping systems model

we’re experimenting with.. to affect

the research of detox.

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When Jim and I were talking one day, when he said,

something missing….

It was be.

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In order to be open to creativity, one must have the

The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People

capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone. Rollo May

more on be

Get in the alone zone.

Interruption is not collaboration.


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David Kelley:It really is true that everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten—because that's when you had innate confidence in your own creative power.

The problem? Figuring out how to get it back as an adult, tap into the power of that creative spirit, and harness it so you can innovate your way to personal and professional success.

click to play (9:08)

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With detox, or some other similar process, the learner can naturally follow their fancy, and without even realizing perhaps, be cementing, what we think is the only skill worth making sure everyone practices, knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.Success can now be defined by a person/community rather than by a school, a state, a nation.The empowerment of that choice drives learning beyond anything we can measure, as we are currently measuring things that often don’t impact a person.

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Perhaps currently - youth have connecting down. They aren’t bound so much by the way we’ve always done things. The web is taking them places we never dreamed of. And they aren’t waiting to read the directions, they are learning by doing. Today. - adults have the dreaming down, or more accurately, under management. They hold the keys, in a sense, to mental permissions.

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What if - it’s less about kids following us and our agendas? - it’s more about us following kids, as they learn naturally? Us learning alongside them?

What if we - pay closer attention to what youth are doing, how they are connecting. It’s really quite brilliant. Even how they, under our definition, cheat the system. - set them free to follow their fancy, to dream boldly.

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Focus on this process provides learners with ultimate

choices in

what, where, when, how and with whom they learn.

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…with whom they learn.

Father fluent in German

Sonya on ipod use

Uni prof/fellows

Each course a different flavorSkyping w/NY

Working on real life

Going to Uganda Google test tv talk (Tapscott)

Learn w/UgandaKids swapping talents

Unconventional methods emerge

Stanford’s D-school designsValedictorian

Hebrew/chess swap

Freed to think mathematically

Permaculture begs the elements

Bio diesel answers

Student voices

Learner picks group/pln


Traveling via Shout (TIG)

Travel w/project Global Inform

Finding mentors

Uni students via skype Espanol w/St. Louis

Or facebook find

Other ways via uni grad

By cell w/friends


k a


o if


d lik

e to



r mor


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The Power of Pull, by John Hagel and John Seely Brown really resonated with what we were doing. No longer a compulsory ed, but rather an alluring one, completely self-directed. From experimenting with self-directed learning last year and interest directed learning this year, we have found that agendas, even from the learner, can compromise deep practice and life long learning.

A New Culture of Learning came out, with John Seely Brown’s urge for imagination and play. This fit perfectly with our detox and we came up with this model.

click graphic or here to see live doc.

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Some liked it – I liked reading all of them. It was private – we were planning to use it as our data for the activity systems mapping.

But it didn’t feel right. It was too forced for the students, it wasn’t natural, with the exception of a couple of them. And then it was strange that it was private.

In experimenting with documentation, we started out with the learners logging onto a form such as this at least once a week. Thinking that some of the student's logs as well as their mentor's would then be turned from a spreadsheet into a mapping. (Jim describes the mapping here and here)

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So – we pulled a danah boyd and just followed them, learning in their own way. We video taped a lot of what they did, kept asking questions, but mostly just stayed close. Trying to figure out ways to monitor growth without introducing something foreign.What would be natural?What do they do on their own already?

They used Youtube for almost everything.

So Jim started looking into response videos.. which we thought was a super finding something you want to learn, learn it and send back a remix response. But it hasn’t taken off. At least not yet.

Our last big convo about it was, the comments on youtube needed to change. [G. Siemens on the comments on youtube – our worst side of humanity shows up there… why web is often blocked.] We were wondering if we could start a movement to make that change happen sooner.

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After the course of our first year, we found more natural and useful ways kids share, youtube and wikipedia in particular.

We ended up with over 600 youtube clips of raw footage, that we have been retagging (tsdil, student name, topic, notice, dream, connect, do – thanks Julie) and hope to create some search engine widget that could be placed on our sites, [labconnections and be you], as well as each of the kids blogs/portfolios.

more here

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We're especially interested in getting the submitting/editing process of wikipedia down, as we see wikipedia as a universal, organized, sharing space that already exists and is already acknowledged as such.

We believe this documentation/sharing (on youtube, on wikipedia, wherever the learner sees fit) will prove to be: 1) useful to the learner 2) useful to validation of the whole idea 3) useful to others seeking to own their learning

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Document or not, the kids did learn tons from youtube..

More than google.. at this point

Cristian and Peter with ipod, … Cristian with guitar,

click to play click to play

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Once we would gather enough, you could search – noticing about soccer, or connecting about Portugese, or doing about human trafficking, etc.. Or videos on a certain kid..follow them through a project. And their mentor.

Next year Adam is going to wear a helmet with a camera on it.. By the end of the year the kids just expected it to be on my hand. We think this will be even more natural.The kids are pumped, they wanted a helmet video anyone for sports etc. they want one for creating this.. Which we think is key – want to learn how to learn, watch surfers and skateboarders.

click to play

Clay on searching…

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Video captures things we often don’t notice. I had my best year of pd if you want to call it that.. I would video kids during the day and watch it at night. I learned more about learning than I ever would have imagined.Certainly something about 3d logging.Also – takes less time.. You’re not buried in paperwork – things that might never get read. And we now have a treasure of videos if the kids ever want to share or make a project video

So – we’re liking the videos – we think they need to be tagged spot on, we bought a big usb so all could access, not sure about flips anymore.. Having to convert.. And they are going out of business.. But video capture islike noticing what you do when you are alive. Love that

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What we’ve learned from practicing detox for a year…

About noticing.. this alone could change the world. We don’t even notice how little we notice things.

About dreaming… (crisitan if I want to I can, but I have to want to) – perhaps adults role could be paving ways of permission.. to dream.

About connecting …(corey – probability of making a connection in town is 100%) – these guys are expert connectors.. it’s second nature to them.. we have much to learn.

About doing… (lucas, everett happy – great measure of growth)Human trafficking event, orchestra concert, people playing games they made… These results are proof that they did something that matters..

Coming in daily – I want to learn everything, Texting in the middle of the night, drowning in tacit knowledge, …

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Lisa Nielsen interview on a viable education

We measure too muchwe spend more time measuring and not enough doing.

Too much focus on proving, too little on perhaps - where will my findings/craft be the most useful vs what do I need to do for validation/recognition

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It’s like disruption.. in the beginning it’s good to be in the shadows (J. Fried) as you are tweaking it so that you don’t compromise to outside voices that may be stronger than yours, outside measures that may sound better than yours (R. Martin) - be bold.

It’s like what we’ve been missing - is letting kids have that time that they can express things that look crazy, or are absolute busts, or that they don’t have words for.. and rather than jumping in with a management system - like here - explain it like this... letting them create their own management system.. in whatever way they so choose (lauren video)

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If we suggest/insist a way - we’ve imposed on their spirit.If they ask us for a way to share - sure – great.

If they’re not asking, and we truly believe in something that strongly, well it should be evident by how we’re living our days alongside them. If we’re not living it as a model, it must not be that important.

Kids get that. They are looking at more of what we do than what we say.The rebelious, lazy, apathetic that we see, I think is a response to what they see as hypocrisy.

And their desire for hard work – work that matters.

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If we believe it so much.. and so actually do it, we may find it’s not what we believed after all.

Our theory and practice is way out of kilter.If we would practice more, we’d find out more things that really don’t work in real life.

We need to embrace more of that failure in order to live.We’re not living, we’re dreaming. Dreaming/imagining is good, but it’s just one part.And it’s not so good if it becomes mindless theory.

These are things I’ve learned this year, from actually doing/learning with the kids.

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We need the get pivot mentality the web has to offer, mathematical thinking has to offer.We need to zoom in and zoom out more.

zoom out..grab some unlikely outliers.. figure out why they are so cool.. and then bring them back home to our neighborhoods.

zoom in…so that we are putting our dreams into practice with live people and finding that - dang - that idea, that ed just spent 7 bill on - coming up with a management plan a strategic plan, objectives, standards, etc, doesn’t work after all.

We are wasting resources because we aren’t breathing in life. We’ve fallen mindless to many things.

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The web is offering a new space, new connections, new life, if we so choose.

What Tech Wants is to set us free. It wants to let us get back to a culture of trust. It wants us to zoom out from tedius mathematical calculations and be mindful of the beauty and all encompassing fractal. It wants us to be mathematical thinkers again. It wants us to zoom in from our global awareness of developing countries and insights from unlikely people/info to our bleeding local communities. It wants us to know each other again. But most of all, it wants you to be you.

We’re thinking, the best way to make the world a better place is to awaken indispensable people.

This has been our vision and mission for the last two years. And the journey gets richer

every day.  

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We seem to keep missing the doing because we’re focused on theorizing, documenting, proving. We’re often bent on validation and recognition. We sell out to Schooling the World. We even miss life itself, because we perfect/sell ourselves right into mindlessness.

We are dying to be certain of things, to be in control. If we do happen to prove some certainty, or if we do gain control, it’s sure to be a temporal, in the scheme of things. We’re wondering what would happen if we embraced not knowing. Would we end up learning more, sharing more, being more?

We’re thinking it’s prime time for some much needed detox from traditional assumptions.

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So what is success? And more important, who decides?

If even just one of your ears is open to the chatter around the globe, economy/money seems to trump all else as a measure of success. And

yet, to a homeless person, it’s not so much about a loss of money, as it is about a loss of relationship.

In Steven Pressfield's the War of Art he says that the Resistance to find/follow/create our art is what drives us to addiction/sickness/drama/etc.

We’re thinking, if we were to unleash people, if we were to free kids up to do work that matters, hard work, their art, and call that school, perhaps all the things we spend so much time and money on, health care, environmental issues, the budget (ie: are we perpetuating a money issue by focusing on it?) will simply dissolve.

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We've decided learning has to be learned.

Learning is naturaland the high that keeps you after itcomes from that tacit knowledge you can't always explain.

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But like the portfolio for some, project management for others, project based learning for other, it can get in the way of living.Life has so many lessons.We don't need to craft learning in it.

S. Pressfield: the best and only thing that one artist can do for another is to serve as an example and an inspiration

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So much of what we do is for proof,and at the end of the daywho cares about the proof?

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Any support we get from persons of flesh and blood is like monopoly money, it’s not legal tender in that sphere where we have to do our work. In fact the more energy we spend stoking up on support from colleagues and loved ones, the weaker we become and the less capable of handling our business.The truly free individual is free only to the extent of self-mastery - program or be programmed

It is commonplace amongst artists and children at play that they’re not aware of time or solitude while they’re chasing their vision.

Amateur means love - but rather, doesn’t love enough.Pro doesn’t mean money as much as it means sold out.

quotes from- Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

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For scalable efficiency perhaps the institution decides.

For indispensably thriving learners perhaps the learner decides, along with their respective community/communities.

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-Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants

Technology brings expanding choices. Sociologist David Riesman, 1950, " the more advance the technology, on the whole, the more possible it is for a considerable number of human beings to imagine being somebody else.“

We expand technology to find out who we are and who we can be.

To maximize our own contentment, we seek the   minimum amount of technology in our lives.yet to maximize the contentment of others, we must maximize the amount of technology in the world. 

How can we personally minimize stuff close to us while trying to expand it globally.

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We believe many of us need time and space

and permission to

detoxify habits we have formed to get at scalable efficiency into a natural state of scalable learning. (for more)

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This may take time for some (including adults).

This time period may be rough, steeped in



appearances of

parent voice on this

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Any success will depend on our mindset, our outlook, our purpose and belief in learning.

“ “click to hear student voices

Doing what has been considered standard doesn’t equate with success anymore.

We need to be freeing kids up to be themselves. Giving them space to fail. Showing them we trust learning. That it is that fascinating and alluring.

- James Bach

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Please note: You’re good if you love what you are doing/teaching/learning.

This isn’t about changing public ed as much as it is about offering more

within public ed. It’s about thinking about people and re-thinking the optional learning spaces.

Many people in public ed won’t be changing much at all. Incredible students attend our schools. Incredible teachers prepare lessons and facilitate learning.

We believe the change will be in the shifting around of.. who is learning what, when and how, and with whom.

We believe this is more about putting all the stakeholders (that’s everyone) into a big sifter and patiently shaking, till everyone is where they want to be.

Imagine that. Even if you don’t currently believe it. Imagine the 70% plus time we spend on classroom management. Gone.


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Personalizing in public education allows the learner to own their learning.

Focus on the learning process, iterated no matter what the content, streamlines a standard curriculum, so to speak, to one skill.

Something incredibly messy and complex, differentiating for each learner, now becomes very simple and focused. This simplicity and focus allows for a pruning out of unneeded content/busywork, as well as an intense, deep practice of the goal at hand. Iterations of the same process soon become second nature.

And the learner has the skill set to do anything they previously didn't know how to do.

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Learners gain space/time/expertise when they can

prune what is not needed

and amp what is.

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Most people are other people.Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. - Oscar Wilde

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click to see

Lucas’s 2 yr

planclick to see Lucas explaining it to school board member

click to see Lucas talking through literature possibilities

here and here

a real example in the making

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This is live. Publish then edit. Join us. Help us. Transparency is the new currency & we want to be rich.Our strategy: offense. Our belief: we're different - but we all want to do good.

click to see live documentation..

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Myelin sheath grows best through deep practice.Deep practice happens through passion.

In monitoring progress: how do you practice how thick is your myelin compare activity systems (n,d,c,d) of expert learner and learner

Jim explaining this to parentsScientific Journal’s Ontology Explorer

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So …. learning returns to a

natural state…

what do you want to be what do you value how do you like to learn…

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And we facilitate learner choices through a process, until the process becomes

2nd nature…

(for more)

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….so thatthe learner knows

what to do when

they don’t know what to do.

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They are ready for life.. and remain

hungry for learning.

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click to play

I have no special talent.

I am only passionately curious.

-Albert Einstein

Curiosity isn’t about money or education. It’s about desire.It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it is to be curious.

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excellent reads for detox:

Clark Aldrich’s, Unschooling Rules, (rethinking school means not thinking school)

James Bach’s, Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar, (self-directed learning)

John Dewey’s How We Think

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previously slides are one story deck of the narrative deck:

The entire narrative deck can be accessed here.. Or you can go to the next slide to access another story deck…

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4-39: mindset - the skinny40-79: redefining success: school as a business … community as a school

43-40: the dandelion effect50-53: is respect for every voice a part of your soul54:63: we don’t need more resources, we just need to be more resourceful

: on health & wealth64-72: joi ito & wikipedia as exemplars – nothing is for everyone73-79: declaration of interdependence – as glue

80-80: findings in failings: history (deliberately not teach, homeless analogy): detox (process/what, unpacking/why, doing/how)

90-95: city as floorplan96-97: connected adjacency

98: suggested book reads99: faq100-111: mindset

Suggestion per parents, if you were only going to look at 2 things: slide 55 and detox.

as story

just out: awakening indispensable people via videoswarning – poor quality – ie slidedeck with voice

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