Monday, March 21, 2011

The EduKare Platform...

 flickr photo via aeu044117

A great question arrived in the #edukare stream a while back from Chad Sansing (@chadsansing)... "So I wanna know, what are some of the ways edukare can restore balance?" I've been thinking about the answer.

Turns out it's pretty simple. As Gregory Hill (@mrsenorhill) says, it's all about the platform. At The Disruption Department he describes that,
platforms, in the computing and electronic fields, are common architectures or frameworks that allow developers to create applications or behaviors that can be executed on something stable, and then shared.
As it goes in the Twittersphere, the same weekend Gregory blogged the 'platform' post, someone sent me this:



What a brilliant visual representation of the platform concept, I think. No matter how much the original version of Windows was modified to fit an improved context, the original integrity of the program (the platform) remained viable and foundational.

I believe the EduKare platform is best represented by a developmental model I call the Hope Wheel. I have been developing this platform for a long time. Based on the Aboriginal Medicine Wheel, the Hope Wheel represents a complex adaptive system designed to effectively navigate and guide learning, emotions, relationships... life, but also serves as a heuristic model that simplifies the processes of teaching and learning around the concept of hope. It involves four elements of developmental growth: Respect; Understanding; Relationships; Responsibility.


Learning is a fluid and contextual process, and responsive teaching must be flexible and adaptive toward the process. Where we place ourselves, and our systems on the learning path depends on the variables affecting our progress and our perspective toward them. To an individual, every one of us develops skills and knowledge on our own personal timeline. From dependence to maintenance, the hope wheel becomes a platform by which this personal journey can be supported and analyzed within the four domains:

1. Dependence: The journey of the Hope Wheel follows a circular path beginning in the east with the domain of RESPECT, (also referred to as the domain of the infant.)
  • Within the domain of respect we notice things. We begin to see that there are elements of our environments and relationships that we need to make sense of. It is here that the path of learning begins through exploration of what respect (for self, others, the world, learning, teaching, life,) means and how this newly formed awareness needs to be applied in order to maximize each of our developmental journeys.
2. Independence: The journey continues in the south, or the UNDERSTANDING domain, (also known as the domain of the child.)
  • Within the domain of independence we focus on learning; establishing knowledge. Here we begin to witness individuals and systems taking risks and making sense of the world around them. This domain involves a great deal of exploration and discovery... looking for answers to so many new questions.
3. Interdependence: In the west, we enter the RELATIONSHIPS domain of the wheel. (also known as the domain of the adult.)
  • We begin to think differently within the domain of relationships. We mull about how we can work together to continue drilling ideas down further expanding our awareness of things on deeper collaborative levels. Here we see the beginnings of positive, trusting relationships forming and evolving. In this domain we begin to understand that effective collaboration, communication and support between individuals enables collective, networked action to amplify.
4. Maintenance: The journey eventually leads to the RESPONSIBILITY domain in the north, (also known as the domain of the elder.)
  • This is where we begin to display effective utilization of our social, emotional, physical and intellectual skills (our experience,) inter-personally and in service to others. In the domain of responsibility we engage action to care more skillfully for ourselves, others and the surrounding environment. This domain is where we know things... we don't stop learning; we just spend much more time teaching, and we can all be teachers.
So back to the balance issue... EduKare schools use the platform of the Hope Wheel to philosophically ground their practice, and their practice is centered around the deep fundamental of Hope; not hope as wishful thinking, but hope defined through action. The operational mantra of an EduKare school is reflect, re-tool, revive. Operationally, the Hope Wheel platform is responsive toward the local context, no matter how challenging the environment, in ways that empower teachers and students (the lines between them are much greyer than in a traditional school) to become resilient, significant, knowledgeable and important members of society.

The effort EduKare schools make to reflect perpetually on practice, (especially on less-effective practices,) re-tool their systems from within (by considering the local context, challenging perspectives toward it and making adjustments accordingly) and revive their systems in a better, faster and cheaper form are how balance is restored in an Edukare school. All of this is grounded within the Hope Wheel and the essential effort to define purpose (hope) in everything educators do by knowing within what domain the system is functioning, or perhaps not.

In the context of the Hope Wheel, it's important to remember that EduKare schools don't blame anyone or anything else for their challenges... they simply get on with the business of facing them and improving their local teaching and learning environments. Grounding back to the original framing of EduKare, schools that do things better, faster and cheaper through reflection, re-tooling and reviving...
  • Are complex adaptive systems that fundamentally adapt to student needs (as opposed to the traditional expectation in schools that kids must adapt to the system)
  • Display architectural system quality attributes (SQA's) that define and are used to measure their purpose
  • Define situational needs particular to their students, their culture and the community they belong to
  • Model SQA's they intend their students to possess moving forward (the primary quality being resiliency)
  • View each child as unique, capable and presenting with strengths, skills and abilities to be honored and leveraged on a continuum from K-12
 Balance is achieved and maintained in EduKare schools through the process of auditing purpose (hope) as it's defined within the four domains of the Hope Wheel. No matter whether a people challenge or a system challenge, defining the particular domain within which it presents allows EduKare schools to reflect on the factors and the perspectives contributing to the challenge, ultimately enabling action to revive the people or systems involved toward a renewed purpose.
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