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21Episodes
Education

The Meaningful Learning podcast is about designing and delivering innovative experiences that provide just in time learning. It brings together a community of provocateurs who understand that learning is both a personal and a social experience, and can only be meaningful if it has an impact on the learner and their community. We believe in purposeful thinking and action for positive impact on the welfare of the bio-collective.

Episodes

In this episode, I speak with Helen Kopnina, Researcher in Sustainability and Biodiversity at The Hague University of Applied Science (HHS) and Coordinator of the Sustainable Business program. She conducts research within three main areas: sustainability, environmental education and biological conservation. Helen is the author of over two hundred articles and (co)author and (co)editor of seventeen books. She recently wrote an article with Haydn Washington on Ecocentrism is the pathway to sustainability. In this episode, we discuss: 

  • The role of education in helping us take the little and bigger steps toward sustainability,
  • How so many experiences in school take from nature, but forget to give back,
  • How anthropocentrism opens the gateways to sexism, racism, economic injustice... as well as the degradation of the planet.

Join us for another episode and we look forward to your comments.

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In this episode, I speak to Haydn Washington, environmental scientist and writer at the Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW. His interests are sustainability (as a step toward regeneration), solutions to the environmental crisis, human dependence on nature, and humanity's denial of its problems. He is also keenly interested in wilderness and the 'sense of wonder' humanity feels towards nature. We discuss:

  • Thinking in terms of eco-reciprocity rather than sustainability,
  • Overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder through wonder and experience,
  • The politics of healing through small, meaningful steps.

This is the latest episode of a series that brings the voice of those outside K-12, opening up to the larger ecosystem where thinking, learning and action can contribute to the welfare of the bio-collective.

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In this episode, I speak with Noah Sobe, Senior Project Officer in the Education Research and Foresight program at UNESCO. Noah is a key part of UNESCO's new flagship initiative on the Futures of Education, which brings together researchers of different backgrounds around the predicted, probable, and possible futures for the planet. He is a former president of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) and holds a faculty position as Professor of Cultural and Educational Studies at Loyola University Chicago. In this episode, we discuss:

  • Commoning—as a verb—to bring together all those who have an interest in the healthfulness of the planet,
  • The role of school as a place for new experiences, ones that often cannot exist outside of school,
  • The need to democratize education and open up to an ecosystem that drives purpose.

This episode marks the first of a series that goes beyond the education industry towards thinkers, writers, and activists who seek to open a conversation on a possible post-humanist future, one that starts to move away from anthropocentric worldviews. As always, we look forward to your thoughts.

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning Podcast, I speak with Valerie Hannon. Valerie is a global thought leader, inspiring systems to re-think what educational ‘success’ will mean in the 21st century. The co-founder of both Innovation Unit  and of the Global Education Leaders Partnership, Valerie is a radical voice for change, whilst grounded in a deep understanding of how education systems currently work. A former Director of Education for Derbyshire and then an adviser in the UK Department for Education, she now works to release and harness the agency and creativity of both learners and educators. Currently, she is Senior Adviser to the OECD in its Education 2030 project. In this episode, we discuss:

  • Thinking about learning in terms of "what for?" before moving onto "how?"
  • Learning to thrive in a transforming world (ecologically and through biotech and infotech)
  • How we need to re-write the story in order to build the public will for change.

Please leave us your thoughts and comments.

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking, I speak with Jennifer Groff. Jennifer is the Founder of Learning Futures and was the Chief Learning Officer at Lumiar Education. Her work largely focuses on redesigning systems, learning environments, and digital innovations that align with the learning sciences. Jennifer brings tremendous, positive energy and thinking to curricular innovation and supporting teachers, students, and schools through the pedagogical changes that education just might need. We discuss:

  • The emerging ecosystem of competency- and mastery-based evidencing (including digital passports)
  • Embedding Design Thinking into creating learning experiences
  • How maybe we just need to start over...

Join us for this episode where Jennifer's ideas and connections are sure to provoke. As always, we look forward to your thoughts.

Erratum: I referred to cyborgs when what I really meant were androids. 

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking, I speak with Bern Nicholls. Bern is a school-based researcher who focuses on creating cultures of curiosity that support students and teachers to pursue their inquiries. She embraces curiosity as the fuel for her own learning and many interests. Bern and I had an earlier conversation about adopting a more biocentric worldview and set of values to address the problems that lay ahead for the planet and all living beings. I wanted to capture more of her inspiring thoughts in this podcast. In this conversation, Bern and I discuss:

  • How it’s not either/or; it’s both/and… breaking through binaries and dualism.  
  • How curiosity is the precursor to thinking. 
  • The need for teacher agency, not just student agency.
  • The power of animals in learning and well-being. 

Join us for this episode and we look forward to your thoughts.

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This is a particularly nourishing episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. Our guest is Dr. Thom Markham, considered one of the founding fathers of Project Based Learning. Thom Markham is an educator by trade, a positive psychologist by training, and a global entrepreneur dedicated to expanding educator mindsets in service to a positive future. This conversation is the first of I hope many amongst a nascent community of thinkers and doers who believe that we need to shift our values away from anthropocentrism toward biocentrism, toward purpose that benefits other living beings. We had the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution... now it's time for another revolution, one where humans develop beyond themselves. In this conversation, Thom and I discuss:

  • How the neuro-cognitive model we use is breaking down
  • Social Growth Mindset
  • Sustainability as the driving standard for learning and doing.

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking.

Erratum: at the end I say "beyond ecocentrism" when I meant "buying anthropocentrism!" Sorry about the confusion.

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Michael Bunce. Michael is Curriculum Development and Enhancement Lead for Music and Performance, and Course Leader for the Masters in Global Learning Futures at the University of East London. He is engaged in practice and research as a teacher and curriculum innovator, educational technology developer, composer and music producer, and interdisciplinary arts practitioner. Michael is also the Founder of the Metapraxis Project, which facilitates the design, development and implementation of reflexive interdisciplinary learning projects in primary, secondary and tertiary contexts. In this episode, Michael and I discuss: 

  • How learning is a transformation process that occurs within a context.
  • How learning is an experience this takes place in the moment and is oscillating.
  • How agency and metacognition feed off each other.

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback.

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Tanya Sheckley, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of UP Academy, an elementary school in San Mateo, California, which is the first school in the world where kids who are able bodied and kids with physical disabilities learn together in the same classrooms. UP Academy focuses heavily on Project Based Learning, showing that elementary school students aren't too young to engage in authentic experiences.

 In this podcast, Tanya and I discuss:

  • How to develop core academic skills through student agency
  • How to build a school culture that promotes and sustains joy in learning and teaching
  • How to model lifelong learning to the students and adults alike.

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Will Richardson. Will is a former public school educator of 22 years and has spent the last 15 years developing an international reputation as a leading thinker and writer about the intersection of social online learning networks, education, and systemic change. Most recently, Will is a co-founder of The Big Questions Institute, which was created to help educators use "fearless inquiry" to make sense of this complex moment and an uncertain future. In 2017, Will was named one of 100 global "Changemakers in Education" by the Finnish site HundrED, and was named one of the Top 5 "Edupreneurs to Follow" by Forbes. He has given keynote speeches, lead breakout sessions, and provided coaching services in over 30 countries on 6 continents. (Come on Antartica!) He has also authored six books, and given TEDx Talks in New York, Melbourne, and Vancouver.

 In this podcast, Will and I discuss:

  • Why we so seldom ask "What do you mean by learning?" and other existential questions
  • How change in education may come from mini-schools or schools on the fringes
  • How we can turn the COVID situation into opportunities to foster curiosity and creativity in all learners

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Tim Logan, long-time educator and consultant and strong advocate of bringing Agile into education. Tim explains how Agile principles and values guide us to respond to change and avoid ineffective rigidity, helping to meet student and group learning needs as they arise. Agile is about collaboration and personal interactions, bringing the human element to learning through doing. In this podcast, Tim and I discuss:

  • The value of going beyond quantitative measures as means to understanding learners and their potential
  • How Agile allows us to connect action and learning by having the tools to make good decisions for our students and our schools
  • Practical ways to implement Agile in your classroom

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Karl Millsom, Founder of the Rebel Teacher Network. Karl is a thought agitator who is not afraid to pose questions and frame issues in ways that force us to stop and re-consider why and how we do things in education. Karl helps and leads teachers to transform their practice to make learning experiences deeper by placing the student and the center of learning, but in ways that are fulfilling for the teacher as well. We discuss:

  • How we can find space to transform the curriculum to make it matter to all learners
  • How assessment connects to learning... or fails to in many cases
  • How the community can and should be involved in teaching to bring expertise

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Kyle Wagner, Learning Experience Co-Designer who uses PBL as a vehicle for deeper learning. Kyle has global experience leading transformation of schools and their cultures. In this episode, we discuss Micro-Schools—schools within schools that drive innovation and buy-in from all stakeholders. We also talk about:

  • Why authentic products and assessments provide opportunities for creativity and meaning for students and teachers alike
  • How to avoid the traps in setting up Micro-Schools and maximize momentum toward success
  • How to students can tell their stories to stand out from the crowd of university applicants.

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Michael Robbins, who has a long history of being at the center of education reform and innovation. We had an enriching conversation about the future of education and the possibilities and hopes in front of us. In this episode we discuss:

  • Learning led by interests, not standards 

  • How students win back their learning through credentialing

  • The power of technology to strengthen relationships not just deliver content

Michael also explains the wonderful and exciting projects he has in store. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Mark Barnett, Learning Experience Designer, PBL consultant, maker space leader, machine learning scholar... a renaissance man in the world of education. In this episode we discuss:

  • Project-Based Learning as way to cultivate deeper learning
  • Going beyond traditional assessment to reframe our thinking about learning
  • How technology should be used to create, not just replicate what already exists

Mark's work pushes us to think in ways that challenges the traditional system so that all learners can find more meaning in what they do and learn. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

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In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Dwayne Matthews, one of the broadest and deepest thinkers I've met in a while. In this episode we discuss:

  • Learning Labs as an emerging innovation that allows students to break away from the traditional curriculum in order to explore their strengths and passions while developing authentic products
  • The importance outcomes to replace traditional assessment (including grades)
  • The role of technology as a tool, not an end.

Dwayne disrupts our traditional thinking about what learning is and how learning is demonstrated and applied in these changing times. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

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In this podcast, I speak with Dr. Dan Kreiness, instructional leader and host of The Leader of Learning podcast. Through his coaching, podcast, blog, and research, Dan is an influencer and expert in transformational leadership as a way to create the contexts for more effective learning and innovation in schools. Throughout our talk, Dan provides strategies and insights into:

  • How transformational leadership is about making sure everyone has the chance to be a leader in a school.
  • How we can adapt as educators to meet student needs.
  • Pushing ourselves to be risk-takers inside and outside the classroom

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking.

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In this podcast I speak with Dr. Trevor Soponis, Founder and Chief Learning Officer of the Sustainable Learning Projects. Trevor is dedicated to developing project-based learning opportunities addressing the fundamental environmental challenges of our time for students around the world. Trevor has moved my thinking as we discuss:

  • How we should trust students to take charge of their learning and solve the problems of their community.
  • The power of connections to the environment to drive learning, in the future, yes, but also right now.
  • The opportunities COVID and Black Lives Matter may provide to create a better world if we make the right choices.

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking, which may be the last one from Saudi Arabia as new adventures await.

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Listening to education podcasts, there are many conversations about the student experience that take place between adults, and while there can be so much to learn from pedagogical experts and leaders, it's all too rare that anyone asks the students themselves about their school years. 

In this Podcast, I interview 3 recent High School graduates about what they learned the past 4 year, in school and outside, what resonates with them, what they would change in schools, and what how prepared they feel for life after High School. 

We often talk about voice and choice for students, so this was a chance to give team space to express themselves. They have much to teach us if we want to design learning experiences that make an impact as well as make connections with the students. 

In this episode, we learn (confirm?) that students value choice, relationships, and the space to pursue their interests. No surprise maybe, but these kids have some insightful ideas about how to go about it all.

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Dr. Rena Upitis is a Professor of Education at Queen’s University. She has authored or co-authored 10 books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles. Her research and curriculum projects have explored teacher, artist, and student transformation through the arts. Rena herself is a musician, visual artist, and timber-frame carpenter. Oh yeah, and she lives off-grid!

In this podcast, Rena talks about how:

  • we learn best when we are emotionally-connected to questions that matter,
  • there are multiple paths for joy in post-secondary life, 
  • some children are learning more under lockdown than in schools.

Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning Podcast by Coconut Thinking.

 

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