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New Ed-Labs for
New Realities
Douglas Schuler
The Evergreen State College
dschuler@evergreen.edu
Assessment,Teaching & Lea...
• A public liberal arts college in Washington State. Founded in 1969; mostly
undergraduate programs
• Integrates theory an...
• Full disclosure: Two master’s degrees (software engineering and computer science), but no doctorate...
• Taught at Everg...
I'm an advocate, not an expert or, hopefully, an ideologue.There is
lots that I have to learn about this topic!
Disclaimer...
An edu-lab is a type of environment or mode within an
educational context that is generally intended to be more
collaborat...
The Basic premise:
Edu-labs offer....
• A viable educational mode that offers unique advantages and
complements other mode...
Basic Dimensions of Ed-Labs
Negotiable & non-negotiable features — your choice
Thinking / Research Practice / Action
Re
In...
CIRAL Specs
• Offered every quarter for six years via a program (class) and an associated
Undergraduate Research (in Civic...
CIRAL Ground Rules
• Use civic intelligence perspective (see next two slides)
• Integrate theory and action
• Work in grou...
What is Civic Intelligence?
Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smart society is as-
a-whole in relation to its p...
What do people need to think
about and practice civic
intelligence?
Over the years students and I have
compiled a list of ...
Clusters we have or have had*
• Home Office (perennial)
• Food Systems
• Community Media
• Sustainable Architecture
• Juven...
Thinking / Research Practice / Action
Individual-focused Team-based
CooperativeCompetitive
Timed — precise beginning and e...
Undergraduate
Research in
Scientific
Inquiry
Fall 2015, Winter 2016
and Spring 2016
quarters
There are other Labs at
Evergr...
Some examples
from the various
clusters….
Community Health
CIRAL vs Homelessness
Greener Tide
[student governance]
Architecture Lab
Fresh Sheet (example)
(CIRAL Newsletter)
The experience gave rise
to an Ambassadors Cluster
and a trial of an
Ambassadors program in
the city of Centralia.
Student...
CIRAL experiences — student reactions,
student employment
One of the things that I like so much about CIRAL is the sense o...
Barriers / obstacles
Swimming against the tide (of testing, disciplinary and
employment demands, teacher “effectiveness” m...
Challenges
Assessing, monitoring progress of individuals, clusters, projects
Teacher omni-competence needed? (At least flex...
Possible Disadvantages and Drawbacks
Concern over future employment
No guarantee about specific skills or knowledge
Its fre...
Strengthening Our Capabilities (and building the
case for CIRAL)
• Propose / monitor experiments and data collection
• Arc...
References (etc.)
http://www.facebook.com/groups/CIRAL/
http://scn9.scn.org/mailman/listinfo/ciral
http://scn9.scn.org/mai...
The ideas I'd like to talk about
• Interest level
• Past and current experience
• Opportunities
• Pointers to refs, people...
Thank you!
Douglas Schuler
The Evergreen State College
dschuler@evergreen.edu
Assessment,Teaching & Learning Conference
Sp...
New Education Labs for New Realities (revised)
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New Education Labs for New Realities (revised)

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Educational Labs help students (and conveners) develop creativity, collaborative skills, leadership, and other important skills for 21st Century realities. This workshop presents ed-labs in general using a new framework and the Civic Intelligence Research and Action Lab (CIRAL) that I convened at the Evergreen State College. Students in CIRAL collaborate in small groups on research and action projects that the students create and implement with quite a bit of autonomy.

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New Education Labs for New Realities (revised)

  1. 1. New Ed-Labs for New Realities Douglas Schuler The Evergreen State College dschuler@evergreen.edu Assessment,Teaching & Learning Conference Spokane Washington April 30, 2015
  2. 2. • A public liberal arts college in Washington State. Founded in 1969; mostly undergraduate programs • Integrates theory and practice • Team-taught; interdisciplinary • One of 41 U.S.“Colleges that change lives” • Narrative evaluations (no grades); Planning units (no departments); students determine learning (no required courses) • 46% of students at or below the poverty level Image: Colleges that change lives
  3. 3. • Full disclosure: Two master’s degrees (software engineering and computer science), but no doctorate... • Taught at Evergreen for 19 years. (I earned a Ba. there in 1976 and then spent16 years at Boeing before returning). • Interested in civic intelligence, social amelioration, positive social change, education for the future, new organizational forms (social labs, open research and action networks), working across borders! • In addition to teaching class, convening — along with students — CIRAL, the Civic Intelligence Research and Action Laboratory • Students in CIRAL work in semi-autonomous teams to conceptualize and implement projects that integrate theory and action and demonstrate civic intelligence. • Reformed computer scientist — just kidding Image: Colleges that change lives A little about me Seen here at a student developed CIRAL project “Activist Road Trip” of local non-profit and civic organizations.
  4. 4. I'm an advocate, not an expert or, hopefully, an ideologue.There is lots that I have to learn about this topic! Disclaimer Purpose of workshop Plan of workshop Short presentation — R&A labs generally, and CIRAL specifically Discussion — only with whole group or with small and whole group] To share experiences and ideas related to educational labs, with the hopes of making the labs more effective and more widespread.
  5. 5. An edu-lab is a type of environment or mode within an educational context that is generally intended to be more collaborative and to rely less on faculty direction and strict definitions of assignments than in traditional classes.There is often a focus on solving problems in the “real world” and developing suitable projects and plans. It could be thought of as a Social Lab (Hassan 2014) whose primary purpose is educational. Edu-Labs Definition (in work) Although there is clearly no cookie-cutter “lab” that works for all places for all times, we can use a definition similar to this one: Maybe “Research and Action Labs” is a better name?
  6. 6. The Basic premise: Edu-labs offer.... • A viable educational mode that offers unique advantages and complements other modes • Opportunities for students to learn leadership, creativity, self-efficacy, problem-solving, project management • Opportunities for faculty collaboration across the curriculum • Opportunities for students who are project-oriented, self-motivated (but motivation is contagious....) • Experiences and skills that are likely to be valued by employers Hypothesis:This approach could be strengthened with more organization and collaboration among practitioners.
  7. 7. Basic Dimensions of Ed-Labs Negotiable & non-negotiable features — your choice Thinking / Research Practice / Action Re Individual-focused Team-based CooperativeCompetitive Timed — precise beginning and end Open-ended Faculty directed Student autonomy Texts and tests Purposeful, project based Archives developed / maintained by participants over timeMaterials introduced during term First class citizen within offeringsNo organizational support Faculty scripted Conscious evolution Open-ended focus and missionSpecific focus and learning objectives
  8. 8. CIRAL Specs • Offered every quarter for six years via a program (class) and an associated Undergraduate Research (in Civic Intelligence) option. Usually 15-25 students per quarter. • Students form clusters around themes and develop projects. Students can work in multiple clusters. • Students can sign up for 2-16 credits with the Undergraduate Research Option.And they can take the lab for multiple quarters. • Weekly “Fresh Sheet” reports on the activities of the clusters • The students and I have modified the way the lab is conducted over the years.
  9. 9. CIRAL Ground Rules • Use civic intelligence perspective (see next two slides) • Integrate theory and action • Work in groups (clusters) • Own the Lab! • Think about it could be better and make it happen • Help run the lab • Tell other people about the lab • Give back
  10. 10. What is Civic Intelligence? Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smart society is as- a-whole in relation to its problems. Civic intelligence is a form of collective intelligence that reasons about —and acts on — shared problems. Although we know that civic intelligence exists, it’s not explicitly acknowledged and hence not something that we can readily examine or improve. Civic Intelligence is the capacity for individuals and groups to address shared problems efficiently and equitably.
  11. 11. What do people need to think about and practice civic intelligence? Over the years students and I have compiled a list of the most important traits. We consciously avoided making arbitrary decisions on size that would prevent important enablers from appearing on the list.
  12. 12. Clusters we have or have had* • Home Office (perennial) • Food Systems • Community Media • Sustainable Architecture • Juvenile Justice • Community Design • Greener Tide * Clusters may be in development, active or dormant. • Pattern Languages • Pilot Projects • CIRAL vs. Homelessness • Ambassadors • Evergreen Renaissance • Digital Story Telling • Games (partial list)
  13. 13. Thinking / Research Practice / Action Individual-focused Team-based CooperativeCompetitive Timed — precise beginning and end Open-ended Faculty directed Student autonomy Texts and tests Purposeful, project based Archives developed / maintained by participants over timeMaterials introduced during term Ed-Labs are first class citizensNo institutional support for Ed-Labs Faculty scripted Conscious evolution Open-ended focus and missionSpecific focus and learning objectives Placing CIRAL within the Ed-Lab basic model
  14. 14. Undergraduate Research in Scientific Inquiry Fall 2015, Winter 2016 and Spring 2016 quarters There are other Labs at Evergreen. And one of my priorities is talking with the faculty and students. And — researching about similar projects in the US and elsewhere.
  15. 15. Some examples from the various clusters…. Community Health
  16. 16. CIRAL vs Homelessness
  17. 17. Greener Tide [student governance]
  18. 18. Architecture Lab
  19. 19. Fresh Sheet (example) (CIRAL Newsletter)
  20. 20. The experience gave rise to an Ambassadors Cluster and a trial of an Ambassadors program in the city of Centralia. Student designed “Activist Road Trip” walking tour of non-profits in the Olympia area Home Office
  21. 21. CIRAL experiences — student reactions, student employment One of the things that I like so much about CIRAL is the sense of limitless possibility. The necessity for rapid systems re-development towards the triple aim of health care reform: better care, lower cost, and better outcomes has created an expanding demand for experienced problem solvers that can work collaboratively across disciplines.  I gained these skills as an undergraduate at the Evergreen State College in the Civic Intelligence Action and Research Laboratory (CIRAL) of which I was one of the founding student members. CIRAL is essentially the cherry at the top my educational sundae. ... I truly believe that CIRAL embodies the ethic and philosophy ofThe Evergreen State College. In one quarter I experienced a paradigm shift that likely would not have happened outside the CIRAL environment. I can legitimately say I'm a better person as a direct result of the CIRAL experience. For myself, CIRAL and the Civic Intelligence idea in itself became a fitting culmination of my evergreen career and my interests. ... I also recommend it to those who feel they have exhausted the traditional nontraditional learning avenues atTESC, and are looking for something “new”, student driven, and so very much in the spirit of Evergreen. I started the quarter unsure about what real change might look like, and now I leave the class with a toolbox full of knowledge and skills which will aid me in any project I undertake.The fear I didn’t even know I had has dissipated. I no longer think of issues in my life as immovable, but instead jump immediately to identifying patterns and thinking of possible resolutions or improvements. CIRAL has changed the life of my mother.
  22. 22. Barriers / obstacles Swimming against the tide (of testing, disciplinary and employment demands, teacher “effectiveness” measures) No administrative mechanisms for allowing teachers and students to do it Faculty objections, apprehension, unfamiliarity and, sometimes hostility Summer! Sustainability over time Not seen as “legitimate”
  23. 23. Challenges Assessing, monitoring progress of individuals, clusters, projects Teacher omni-competence needed? (At least flexibility!) Promoting both research and practice (requires faculty oversight) Community engagement readiness Tension of student autonomy and faculty oversight, guidance, and responsibility Human subject review and other formal obligations
  24. 24. Possible Disadvantages and Drawbacks Concern over future employment No guarantee about specific skills or knowledge Its freedom, faith in students, and lack of specific disciplinary focus makes it suspicious to some.
  25. 25. Strengthening Our Capabilities (and building the case for CIRAL) • Propose / monitor experiments and data collection • Archive project products • develop curricular "how to" packs on topics that will come up: qualitative research, survey development, preparing for community work, video editing, ... • PS. Most of the above could ultimately be shared across a network of labs. Next Steps • Institutionalizing at Evergreen — or at least getting closer to it • Cluster members outside of Evergreen • Cooperating with other schools, social labs, non-profits • More faculty involvement • Regional smaller city network next year
  26. 26. References (etc.) http://www.facebook.com/groups/CIRAL/ http://scn9.scn.org/mailman/listinfo/ciral http://scn9.scn.org/mailman/listinfo/ciral-announce http://www.reddit.com/r/civicintelligence Twitter hashtags: #civicintelligence, #ciral https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWNRimSh4XTTD3sUgML9WVg Hassan, Zaid.The Social Labs Revolution. San Francisco: Barrett-Koehler Publishers, 2014 Schuler, Douglas.“Cultivating Society's Civic Intelligence: Patterns for a New ‘World Brain’." Journal of Society, Information and Communication 4 no. 2 (2001): 157-181
  27. 27. The ideas I'd like to talk about • Interest level • Past and current experience • Opportunities • Pointers to refs, people, organizations • Advice and recommendations — What next?! • ideas for collaboration ?!
  28. 28. Thank you! Douglas Schuler The Evergreen State College dschuler@evergreen.edu Assessment,Teaching & Learning Conference Spokane Washington April 30, 2015

Educational Labs help students (and conveners) develop creativity, collaborative skills, leadership, and other important skills for 21st Century realities. This workshop presents ed-labs in general using a new framework and the Civic Intelligence Research and Action Lab (CIRAL) that I convened at the Evergreen State College. Students in CIRAL collaborate in small groups on research and action projects that the students create and implement with quite a bit of autonomy.

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