Over the next few months I will be developing a plan for an online progressive school in this space. If you would like to collaborate in this project please jump right in.


The Online Progressive UnSchool (OPuS) is a community of virtual learning spaces where teachers and students from around the world -who share a passion for a subject- can meet and work together to further their understanding and knowledge, with an overarching goal of developing solutions that help make the world a better place.

OPuS is a community students inhabit to discover and develop what Ken Robinson calls their element, or what many of us call, their passion.
OPuS supports communities of practice in which teachers and students with shared interests collaborate to move their mastery of their chosen element to ever higher levels, and as part of that process, help fix the world. To paraphrase Dan Pink, students are given autonomy, to develop mastery, for a purpose larger than themselves.

The OPuS Mission: We will engage your child with other kids from around the world who are passionate about the same subject as your child. With the guidance of caring and knowledgeable teachers we will challenge and support your child to develop mastery in their area of interest, and to use that growing mastery to help others.

OPuS communities of practice start with a teacher who is passionate about a subject. This teacher develops a virtual learning space and personal learning network (PLN) that will nurture and support their community. The elements of the virtual learning space must include a compelling blog, a significant Twitter presence, and a wiki with an excellent and well-organized collection of references to the best online resources in their area of interest. The teacher's PLN should include other educators and professionals who share an interest in their subject.

In addition to having a deep knowledge and passion for a subject, an OPuS teacher must demonstrate a sustained and solid commitment to helping students learn. OPuS teachers should be just as interested in helping kids learn as they are in teaching their subject. OPuS teachers embrace a progressive approach to education, which essentially means that their role is more of a guide than a dispenser of information. OPuS learning is driven by a student's interest. Motivation must be intrinsic. Students inhabit a community with fellow learners with whom they collaborate with respect and empathy , and with whom they work together to help others.

When a teacher with the approach, empathy, and teaching experience required by OPuS has successfully developed a PLN and virtual learning space then they can join the OPuS community. OPuS will create a ning (or similar) online community space in which the teacher and students who share an interest can develop their community of practice.

OPuS will publicize the teacher's new community of practice, help with the ongoing development and nurturing of the community, and facilitate communication with the other OPuS communities of practice.

The OPuS student is really a teacher in training (this is the nature of a community of practice) and as such must develop a PLN, an active blog, a significant twitter presence. In addition, he or she must make ongoing major contributions to the community wiki. It is through these works (all of which will be open to the world) and contributions to the community discussion forums (which will be shared only within the community), that a student's progress will be measured. Over time, as a student develops mastery of their subject, they will increasingly want to actively participate in the real world communities of practice in their area of interest. A major goal OPuS has for students is that they successfully connect and integrate into these communities.







Tweets written in the brainstorming process

OPUS strands: Passion, community, collaboration, justice, motivation, understanding, learning, respect, empathy and democracy

OPUS is about finding your element, working incredibly hard in your own way to develop mastery, and using those skills to help others.

Trying to weave together many shimmering thought strands into a coherent beautiful design for the Online Progressive UnSchool.

The OPS story in a sentence. A place for kids who have a passionate interest that is not being supported by existing services.

The tools needed to create the virtual environments are inexpensive. It is the guides' time and effort where the costs lie.

Ahh, the $ question. Essentially parents are paying to put kids in a special environment, like a virtual summer camp.

A major goal of OPS is to connect and integrate kids into the real world communities of practice in their areas of interest.

OPS mission. We will engage your child with other kids from around the world who are passionate about the same subject as your child. cont.

OPS mission. With the guidance of caring and knowledgeable teachers we will challenge and support your child to excel and help fix the world

How do you convince families that participating in the Online Progressive School will benefit their child when you are just getting started?

In the end the spaces can be quite simple and functional. It is the magic that happens in the spaces that matters, not fancy architecture.

Schools have auditoriums for community sharing, classrooms for "teaching", labs for creating and experimenting, meeting rooms & hangouts & ?

Possible tools for a low-budget virtual school. Ning, Haiku or Moodle, blogs, YouTube, VoiceThread, Google Apps, Prezi, Skype, Twitter and ?

The quest. The hero's journey. The force is strong within us. http://j.mp/bjOF6J How could the online progessive school tap into that vein?

Thinking of Frank Lloyd Wright and his "school" at the Taliesins. People passionate about architecture came to learn from and work with FLW

Kids are attracted to great teachers/guides if they are aware of them. How do you increase awareness of the great guides at OPS?

So you get great teachers who are passionate about a subject to sign on as guides. How do you connect with the students who want to explore?

What initial and ongoing training and support would the teacher/guides in OPS need? Who will be the guide for the guides?

What would motivate a teacher to become a guide to students exploring a subject of mutual interest in a virtual space?

Guides, explorers, spaces/places, goals/projects... the major components of the Online Progressive School. Need a core guide group to start.

Seeking to build a beautiful shimmering pulsing living neural net connecting our schools. Co-designers and creators welcomed.

Being 'in touch' is such a powerful drive. Connectivity, from the cutting of the umbilical we crave and seek it. How to work with this wish?

Build new school functionality on top of existing structures. Not physically but in the conceptual sense of building upon what is in place.

New paradigm for schools. Support structures for helping students discover, develop and share their passionate interests.