August 27, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
My summer vacation is officially over. Actually, it has been for a few weeks now, but today is the first day of a new class on Coursera, which means it’s back to school for me…just not quite like ever before.
There are a million new ways to learn, thanks to this fabulous network of ours. The internet connects people who know and are willing to teach to people who want to know more. The advent of alternative education and the success that even its early years generates should make traditional educational institutions wake up and take notes. It should even frighten them, or perhaps inspire them, that there’s a better way than theirs, and they could be doing better. Today’s project is doing better by bringing new (and very old) teaching methods to some of the most vulnerable students in schools today.
The Art of Word Weaving is a guide for developing a grade-school curriculum around story-telling, art, writing and play. Designed to get students engaged and excited – participating in the act of learning with more than just their pencils and textbooks – Word Weaving is already helping kids from otherwise difficult situations (new immigrants, homeless, or both) become active learners.
We bring the arts into academics. Our methods are inspired by the principles and practices of Waldorf education. We use storytelling to actively engage learners: vocabulary is woven into each storyline and sound and syntax assume meaning in script and song.
For better education, there should be more education about education – more review of best practices and case studies, and in turn, more case studies of better practices should be generated by brave educational innovators, undaunted by the adherence to an industrial model that’s persisted into obsolescence. Become part of this story by backing The Art of Word Weaving on Kickstarter before September 1.