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The Power of Networking

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog in the last two years knows how passionate and excited I get when I talk about the work that we do at Challenging Learning.  In fact, it was this passion and excitement that led me to leave a comfortable and secure job that I loved to join Challenging Learning and the world of consultancy.  What makes me excited about our work is the success I have seen it having in schools around the world and the anticipation of what it can do for ALL educators who are committed to creating even more effective learning cultures that support all learners. What feeds my passion about the work is the positive energy and optimism that educators exude when talking about the success they experience and the impact on learning they observe.

I recently had the opportunity to experience this positive energy and optimism and how it can feed a network of learning when talking to educators in New York who utilize the Learning Pit in their work.  It started with a connection I made with Heather Lyon, an assistant superintendent and author who had blogged about using the Learning Pit in her graduate class, which is framed around the question “Who is curriculum for?” In talking with her, she shared that she was introduced to the Learning Pit by Melanie Kitchen, a professional learning coordinator from her local BOCES who was using it to support students to take risks and develop their critical thinking in a course focused on innovation.  Melanie then shared that she was introduced to it by the Professional Development Coordinator in the BOCES, Jessica Karches, who had The Learning Challenge book and had attended a workshop that Dana Serure hosted in another BOCES.  Jessica also shared the concept with Jessica Karnes, a colleague in the BOCES who was in the pit herself trying to determine how to support educators and learners to understand and use sourcing and reliability in history education.  Jessica Karnes was also working with Dana Serure, who is now a professor at Buffalo State, on a lesson about John Brown that utilizes the Learning Pit framework.

I was incredibly excited to hear about how the power of networking among educators can produce such positive results, and and how the Learning Pit is being used in such powerful and impactful ways.  I wanted to share all of this with others, so I asked all of these amazing leaders to share their story in a vlog with James Nottingham.  Despite the fact that they were sharing different approaches and uses of the Learning Pit, I was pleased to see some of the key phrases that we focus on in our long-term work appeared:  culture of thinking, common language, tools for learning, and structure.  I LOVE the cohesiveness of all that we do at Challenging Learning!

If you are looking for inspiration, please take 50 minutes to watch our very first vlog.