Whole systems/ecological thinking & Design: The study and practice of whole systems thinking is at the heart of the Haven center for global studies. How do we exercise whole systems/ecological thinking and how do we apply the design principles that go hand in hand? How do we integrate these processes into our daily lives? Visioning, building and evolving transformative online learning communities creates a context ripe with possibility and challenge. Facilitators who have focused in the area of system design and edge-ucation for 25 years will support and encourage us in our endeavors.
Collaboration: Collaboration gives us the opportunity to experience the power of combining our own energies with those of another human being. We can notice that the whole result of the collaborative effort is greater than the sum of the individual parts. This is the promise of collaboration, and why we feel so called to practice it. What are the necessary skills for successful and enjoyable online collaboration? We will dialogue with people who have excelled at collaboration in the online world, youth and elders. We'll explore resources on collaboration and we'll develop our own. We will collaborate--with each other, with the youth apprentices, with edge-ucators in other parts of the world. We'll experience first hand the delights and struggles of collaborating across time zones and languages to create something of value.
Practice of Authentic Dialogue: The Edge-ucator's Path is grounded in a belief that the issues facing us today require a style of problem solving that recognizes every voice has a unique contribution to make. In dialogue we may hear what has never been heard before. We may speak what has never before been spoken. Insight can emerge that embodies the potent wisdom of the group mind. Yet for many of us, the skills to faciliate this interplay of open, inquiring hearts and minds in an intentional circle of exploration are not well practiced. We'll explore how to initiate and host dialogues that lead to appreciation for diversity and different points of view, in synchronous (audio and videoconferencing, 3D worlds) and asynchronous formats (forums and discussion lists). We'll try different approaches to dialogue from "wisdom circles" and "worldwork" to forms of dialogue evolved by David Bohm, Bela Banathy and others.
The art of mentoring: Gifted mentors nurture the mentoring capacity in those they coach. They actively acknowledge that new understandings flow both ways in the mentoring relationship. At best, mentoring leads to creative collaborations and partnerships that may last a lifetime. The Edge-ucator's path helps you support this style of learning. The unique relationship of Edge-ucator's Path to Haven Apprenticeship Path provides the context for exploring and evolving best practices.
--Humberto Maturana & Francisco Varela,
Edge-ucators will work side-by-virtual-side with the Haven mentors, editors, and designers. They will take an active role behind the scenes in Haven, helping create and evolve the different zones. Their own interests will determine the particular areas they assist with. This part of the Edge-ucator's Path is an intensive immersion in visioning, designing, creating and co-evolving a collaborative discovery/learning community. As a central part of this process, the edge-ucators will be extremely intertwined in exploration with the Haven youth apprentice team.
While supporting the Haven youth apprentices in their individual projects, edge-ucators will have the challenge to design and create their own individual projects. The Haven mentors will assist with encouragement and support as needed during the development phase. A broad range of exemplary projects introduced by the mentors and the Haven community-at-large will serve as inspiration and models. Upon completion, edge-ucators' individual projects, like those of the youth apprentices, will be shared in the Haven environment as a contribution to others around the world who may have similar interests and concerns. This is the service component of the Edge-ucator's Path.
The Haven mentors will offer coaching in networking, community building, funding sources, etc. to help edge-ucators chart a successful course for the continued life and sustainablity of their projects beyond completion of the Edge-ucator's Path.
Each edge-ucator will contribute to at least one collaborative project--these projects will be dreamed up and created by groups of two or more individuals. We encourage the formation of collaborative teams with edge-ucators and youth apprentices as peers, as well as collaborations with other edge-ucators and youth around the world. We enthusiastically promote collaborations between the northern and southern hemispheres. Ideally, the groups will evolve the collaborative projects over time, possibly even spinning them off into independent and self-sustaining zones that are community services and/or sustainable businesses.
The individual projects and the collaborative projects, along with an online journal, will be key components in the web portfolio. The journal and portfolio will be the primary tools for self-assessment, along with weekly one-on-one sessions with the mentor. Credit is not an emphasis of the Edge-ucator's Path. We recognize that credit is necessary in some circumstances and we are currently researching possible arrangements for credit to be received. As with all credit arrangements, an additional fee will be necessary. We will keep it to the minimum needed. Please inquire if this is an issue for you.
All of the edge-ucators, youth apprentices and mentors will keep electronic journals to document the process. These journals will aid individuals in keeping track of the journey (trail notes) and will offer insights to others attempting similar adventures (travel memoirs). This combination of personal and interpersonal benefits will guide us in our journaling.
Edge-ucators will create online portfolios of their work and experiences. This will include any artifacts of the individual inquiry and the collaborative projects (audio and video interviews, graphics, articles, etc.) Porfolios will vary with individual needs and interest. As a part of the process, we will explore other online portfolios for ideas and inspiration. This process will assist edge-ucators in supporting youth apprentices in portfolio creation.
During phase 1 of the Edge-ucator's Path and interconnected Haven Apprenticeship Path (December 2000 - April 2001), we are encouraging the edge-ucators, youth apprentice team and mentors to read two books...The Web of Life, by Fritjof Capra, and Creating a Life Worth Living, by Carol Lloyd. Essential dialogues will evolve based on topics in these two books.
The use of "organic technology" plays a central role in the Edge-ucator's Path and the Haven Apprenticeship Path. Edge-ucator and colleague Michael Reber defines organic technology as "technology that assists in the learning process, transforms thinking, and helps people have control of their own learning." The Edge-ucator's Path connected-learning environment (we prefer the term connected learning to distance learning) is extremely media-rich. We can as easily communicate with graphics, audio and video as with text. We believe that 21st century problems demand visual thinking skills--the Edge-ucator's Path gives each of us the opportunity to practice these new media in the contexts of individual creative expression, and dynamic and effective collaboration.
We have selected Convene's powerful and versatile ac@deme software for our connected learning environment. The ac@deme software allows participants to access the apprenticeship environment on the web or download all the day's resources and communications to their local computer and work offline (especially useful for families with one phone line using dial up access to the Internet). Alternately, for people in remote areas without Internet access, apprenticeship team members can dial into an 800 number and access all the materials and communications from the server without the need to go online. The software will initially be delivered on CD-ROM and will be installed on the user's computer. Especially important, Convene, the software provider, offers 24 hour/7 day a week user-friendly tech support by telephone and email.
Monthly online gatherings are held for all the parents of youth apprentices who wish to participate. They can also receive a bi-weekly newsletter with insights and anecdotes from the apprentices and their mentors. Edge-ucators will help create and contribute to the newsletter and will be welcome to attend these online gatherings.