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README.md

Exponential Education (#10xEdu)

Intro

Exponential Education (ExponentialEdu.org) is an open source education framework and curriculum for learning, solving and building through 10x thinking and projects. The curriculum is centered around Exponential Sprints, which encourages children to realize and build 10x solutions to some of humanity's most difficult challenges. The focus on uncovering the child's passions and interests, and helping them acquire the skills to solve challenging problems through 10x thinking and Exponential Sprints helps us to shift away from asking children “what do you want to be when you grow up” to “what problem do you want to solve and what do you want to build now”.

We are currently in the development and pilot stage and the content is draft. We are working with schools and programs in New York City to pilot and implement, starting with Exponential Sprints (developed by Team Exponent).

Content here is mirrored from: http://doc.ExponentialEdu.org

Slide Deck is here: http://deck.ExponentialEdu.org

Sign-up for updates via mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bLN9xD

Related article: ["Kids can build our most impactful 10x solutions"] (https://medium.com/@katykasmai/kids-can-build-our-most-impactful-10x-moonshots-5af1480ee7f8#.1ceoo3av3)

Why Exponential Education?

The nature of work, jobs, life and our plant has changed significantly since the standard schedule and curriculum of our education system was first conceptualized. Yet we continue to adopt the same model in our public schools despite our changing needs. As a result, many students are not prepared to face the challenges of our world and are leaving high schools without a sense of who they are and what they are capable of accomplishing.

The Exponential Education model is a holistic approach to learning. While project-based, Exponential Education encourages children to realize and work on problems they are passionate about and want to positively impact. This means that we don’t ask children “what do you want to be when you grow up”, but rather “what problem do you want to solve and what do you want to build now”.

Vision, Mission & Goals

Vision

Children growing up happy and fulfilled, and feeling driven to pursue their passion and know they can have a meaningful impact and improve lives.

Mission

To shift the educational curriculum from one that prepares children for jobs to one that prepares children to solve problems they care about and build the solutions.

Goals

  1. Orient the school year around a 10x idea and project that the child researches and defines.
  2. A teacher's primary role becomes to guide children on how to break down their problems and solutions into milestones, how to research for potential solutions, and encourage children to fail fast, iterate and keep going.
  3. Subjects such as mathematics, computer science, reading, arts, etc. will orient themselves so as to demonstrate to children that what they are learning can be directly applied to enhancing their 10x projects.

Principles

  • Start with a Exponential Sprint (see Appendix: Exponential Sprint).
  • Think 10x but then break the problem down into milestones and a pilot project.
  • Pursue solving problems that you are passionate about.
  • You must fail often and fail fast.
  • Positive collaboration means saying “Yes, And!” to your teammates and yourself.
  • Research to find the existing solutions and develop better ones.
  • No project is ever final and done.
  • Teachers are guides for children to use skills they will always need, such as problem-solving and teamwork. Teachers can not be expected to be the harbors of all information as this would not be a scalable solution. At the rate at which information is growing and changing, no one person can keep up fast enough to continuously and consistently disseminate the information to students.
  • Students need to learn how to research to find the relevant information they need, usually by navigating the internet and interviewing relevant subject matter experts, and then applying and testing the material directly against their projects.
  • Students should have regularly scheduled access to a makerspace where they can ideate, prototype and build with their research and other skills and knowledge they have acquired(see Appendix: Makerspace).
  • Students are guided on how to work in high-impact teams and how to be an effective team member (see Appendix: High-Impact Teams).

Implementation

Uncover a problem: At the start of each year, children from 1st grade through 12th grade are encouraged to think about problems in our world that they care about. This process may require several sessions of exploring in the classroom some of humanity's most difficult challenges, and then asking students to do some research at home with a parent or other trusted adult to dig more deeply in order to uncover the student’s passion.

Here we will provide some content to help teachers and parents navigate conversations with students at school and at home in order to help them understand what sorts of problems humanity faces now and may in the future.

There is a lot of emphasis on ensuring the child is pursuing problem areas and solutions they are passionate about because 10x solutions require patience and perseverance, which can only come from a place of passion. If we find the child is giving up on the pursuit early on, then it is most likely that this was not a problem/solution they were truly passionate about, and the child requires additional guidance in discovering other options.

Ideate solutions: Once the student has selected a problem area that they care about, the teacher guides the children through an Exponential Sprint that will help them ideate and discover potential 10x solutions individually. Children that are working on related problem areas should be encouraged (but not forced) to collaborate and work on a project together.

There is a lot of emphasis on ensuring the child is pursuing a 10x solution. 10x thinking is itself a source of energy and excitement, and they tend to attract a greater force of pursuit. As we get older, we start to feel discouraged from pursuing audacious and radical solutions, but children are unbridled and Exponential Education aims to cultivate and nurture this important quality and mindset.

Select a 10x project path: The Exponential Sprint will guide students in ensuring that their problem solution and project are at a 10x level or greater. Once a final project vision is established, teachers guide the students into breaking the problem down into milestones and an initial pilot. The pilot is what the student will spend the rest of the academic year prototyping.

Build a pilot of the 10x project: Each student will create a project plan for their 10x project pilot. The project plan will include a list of materials needed and estimated costs, and will demonstrate the intention and use of each item. The 10x project and pilot plan can then be presented to parents and the local community through a "pitch" event where the student will demonstrate their intended value and impact in order to receive constructive feedback and attract "investor" funding. Collected funds can be used by the students to purchase the materials for their pilot project.

Appendix: Exponential Sprint

See Exponential Sprint Guide

Appendix: Makerspace

The Makerspace is a workshop that contains some basic building tools, craft and commodity items. This includes cardboard, glue, paint, and other crafty building items. The goal isn’t to have the most state of the art space with expensive items, but rather an open space where exploring, scrappy building and mistakes are welcome.

Any additional items in the Makerspace should come directly as a result of the bill of materials that the child has developed for their pilot project. They purchase the items from the money they have raised through the pitch event (see Appendix: Project Pitch Event) and work in the Makerspace to build either individually or with their team.

There is also an opportunity to enhance the Makerspace with robot building commodity items, such as a basic dc motor, wires, switches, and other inexpensive high-utility items. The custodian of the Makerspace may obtain training to help children build basic circuits and robots of various capabilities for their pilot project.

The Brooklyn Robot Foundry offers Teacher-Training programs for exactly this purpose. Their robot camp and classes guide children in building robots through mechanical and electrical engineering basics. These types of learning experiences are extremely useful in helping the children decide on how to build their scrappy pilot projects and determine the types of materials they will need. Furthermore, this presents a great opportunity to integrate mathematics, physics, engineering, coding, and art education into the curriculum.

details to follow

Appendix: Project Pitch Event

The 10x project and pilot plan can then be presented to parents and the local community through a "pitch" event where the student will demonstrate their intended value and impact in order to receive constructive feedback and attract "investor" funding. Collected funds can be used by the students to purchase the materials for their pilot project.

details to follow

Appendix: High-Impact Teams

details to follow

These are the ingredients of a high-impact team:

  1. A Clear Elevating Goal
  2. Results-driven Structure
  3. Competent team members
  4. Unified commitment
  5. Collaborative climate
  6. Standards of excellence
  7. External support and recognition
  8. Principled leadership

1. A Clear Elevating Goal

  • A clear understanding of the goal to be achieved and a belief that the goal embodies a worthwhile or important result
  • A clear understanding of the nature of the problem leads to more effective solving
    • set team objectives (OKR)
      • create specific performance objectives e.g. Placing a person on the moon.
      • what you are doing and why
      • set a personal challenge
      • have a sense of urgency

2. Results-driven Structure

There are 3 main types of results-driven structure:
  • Problem resolution: the most important and necessary feature of the team is trust. Each member of the team must believe that interactions among members will be truthful, consistent and mature, and that each member will be treated with respect.
  • Create something: the necessary feature of the team structure is autonomy from systems and procedures, and abandonment of normative thinking.
  • Tactical: to execute a well-defined plan, there must be a high task clarity and unambiguous role definition.

Universal needs:

  • Clear Roles and accountability
    • Defined results
    • Everyone is accountable all the time
  • An effective communication system
    • Information easily accessible
    • Credible sources of information
    • Opportunity to raise issues
    • Document issues raised and decisions made
  • Monitoring individual performance and providing feedback
  • Fact-based judgement

3. Competent team members

  • Possess necessary technical skills
  • Personal characteristic to achieve excellence and work well with others

4. Unified commitment

  • A sense of loyalty and dedication to team

5. Collaborative climate

  • Trust: honesty, integrity, no lies, no exaggeration
  • Openness: willingness to share and a receptivity to information, perceptions, ideas
    • Being encouraged to take risks, and given permission to fail.
    • Positive collaboration means saying “Yes, And!” to your teammates and yourself.
  • Consistency: predictable behavior and responses
  • Respect: treating people with dignity and fairness

6. Standards of excellence

Pressure to perform
  • Individual standards
  • Team pressure
  • Consequences
  • External pressure

7. External support and recognition

  • Tangible resources

8. Principled leadership

  • Creating attention through vision: creating a focus that is compelling and results-oriented
  • Creating meaning through communication: the capacity to relate a compelling image that is fostered through shared meanings, symbols and images powerful enough to induce enthusiasm and commitment
  • Establishing trust through positioning: leaders behavior exemplifies the ideals and course of the vision

Resource: “Teamwork: What must go right / What can go wrong”. Larson, Carl E. and Frank M.J. LaFasto

Appendix: Building Research Skills

details to follow

Appendix: Collaborating with Global Teams

details to follow

Appendix: Resources

  1. “Teamwork: What must go right / What can go wrong”. Larson, Carl E. and Frank M.J. LaFasto
  2. Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover
  3. Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud