On Thursday, August 6 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we present the fourteenth LIVE episode of the new LearningRevolution.com weekly interview series, REINVENTING SCHOOL. If you miss the LIVE show, we'll post the recorded version early next week.
This week, REINVENTING SCHOOL focuses on the spectacular rise in interest in pod schools--small groups of students studying with one or more teachers in an environment that is both similar to, and different from, traditional school. Our professional guests: Lian Chikako Chang, a "data storyteller," started the Pandemic Pods group on Facebook in July; just weeks later, the group includes more than 35,000 members. Mara Linaberger, EdD is Founder & COO, Microschool Builder, and the author of The Micro-School Builder’s Handbook. Tasha C. Ring, M.Ed. istheFounder, Directress, and Principal Consultant for Meridian Learning.
Lian Chikako Chang:"I'm a data storyteller. I work on a freelance basis, turning your company's data into earned media coverage by telling compelling, data-driven stories through graphics and text. I've researched, written, designed, produced, and pitched data stories in higher education, at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and at a financial technology company called Earnest. My data stories at Earnest have been covered by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time, Fortune, Inc., Vice, Fusion, Bustle, Glamour, Bloomberg Markets Most Influential, and in many more local and online media sources. In my downtime, I've started working on a personal project called Littldata: Data for Families, where my goal is to bring data-rich, informative stories to parents of young children. In a past life, I've written about architecture--specifically, how technology, biology, and culture intersect in our experience of our environments and selves. On the academic side, I've published and lectured on the history of science and technology, early modern representations of architecture and the body, and embodied and situated cognition. Above all, what interests me is asking questions, translating ideas from one context to another, and making connections between people, ideas, and things."
Dr. Mara Linaberger believes that each of us has chosen to be here at this moment in time for a specific reason – that we are each on a mission that we chose for ourselves. And that figuring out what we love, what we’re good at, and how we can be of service, is the engine we need to fuel a lifetime of joyful learning. Mara also believes that school often slows down or stifles that excitement for students. So she is on a mission to create a global network of 100 micro-schools in the next 20 years – to harness education toward helping amazing children to develop their highest potentials while making learning fun again! Mara is a life-long educator, author, technologist, artist, ballroom dancer, and musician, having spent 25 years in service as a public school educator, teacher trainer, and administrator. Completing a doctorate in Instructional Technology, she went on to earn a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility in Pennsylvania. Launching “Mindful Technology Consultants” in 2013, she continues to train teachers at the masters level on the use of digital portfolios as alternative assessments, and on bringing mindfulness practices into the classroom. Mara is the international two-time best selling author of HELP! My Child Hates School and The Micro-School Builder’s Handbook. Mara currently lives in Harmony, PA with her husband Michael, while she travels far and wide, directly supporting clients in her global Micro-School Builders programs.
Tasha Ring is a licensed early childhood and elementary educator specializing in multisensory-based methodologies. She has tutored and taught students of all ages with varied gifts and abilities. Her broad experience in the education field has included sales, marketing, and administrative positions with prominent companies such as Kaplan, Inc. and Pearson Education, but her passion remains working directly with students in a teaching capacity. As such, she continues to lead classes, as well as some tutoring sessions. Her desire to create more personalized experiences for youth-led her to the founding of Meridian Learning in 2008. An early and continuous advocate of a “less is more” approach to learning, she is honored to be among the first innovators of the micro-school movement. Ms. Ring completed her Masterʼs in Education, teacher training and certification at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and her Bachelor’s in Arts and Entertainment Management at Eastern Michigan University. She received an early childhood credential from the American Montessori Society, one of the premier Montessori advocacy organizations. She has extensive training in several methods of reading and language instruction, including Orton-Gillingham and Lindamood-Bell®. Since 2013, she has thoroughly engaged in the study of mindfulness, and she incorporates these exercises into both curriculum and parent-teacher education. She is a longtime practitioner of social-emotional learning and regularly consults with leaders in this field. Committed to best practice, continued professional development, and whole child well-being, her current studies include literature on emotional intelligence and attachment theory. Ms Ring is also a specialist in arts integration; having spent many years studying dance and designing dance programming for several organizations including Indianapolis Parks, she is a fervent advocate for all art forms and their continuous value in learning and in life. In addition to her work with Meridian Learning, Ms. Ring has written for various publications and websites including The Huffington Post and BabyCenter. In 2017, she started a mindful Montessori lifestyle blog, and she now co-hosts a large and growing online community for others seeking positive change through the application of Montessori principles. Her most meaningful role is that of mother to two young children, her greatest gifts, and wisest teachers.
Howard Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.
Before the virus, more than a billion children and teenagers relied upon school for learning. After the virus (or, after the current wave of our current virus), basic assumptions about school and education are no longer reliable. School buildings may become unsafe for large numbers of students. The tax base may no longer support our current approach to school. Without the interaction provided by a formal school structure, students may follow their own curiosity. Many students now possess the technology to learn on their own. And many do not.
Reinventing.school is a new weekly web television series that considers what happens next week, next month, next school year, and the next five years. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania Senior Scholar Howard Blumenthal, Reinventing.school features interviews with teachers, principals, school district leadership, state and Federal government officials, ed-tech innovators, students, leading education professors, authors, realists and futurists from the United States and all over the world.
Each episode features 2-4 distinguished guests in conversation about high priority topics including, for example, the teaching of public health, long-term home schooling, technology access and its alternatives, the role of parents, friendship and social interaction, learning outside the curriculum, the future of testing and evaluation, interruption as part of the academic calendar, job security for teachers and support staff, setting (and rethinking) curriculum priorities, special needs, student perspectives on the job of school, the importance of play, the psychology of group dynamics and social interaction, preparing for future rounds of a virus (or cyberattack or impact of climate change, etc.), college readiness, higher education transformed, the higher education promise in an economically challenged world, and more. Clearly, there is much to discuss; nearly all of it ranks high on the list of priorities for raising the world’s children.