Wanted: 20 Families to Reimagine Education

Wanted: 20 Families to Reimagine Education

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For some time, my wife and I have been wanting to reimagine what is possible for education. Our greatest challenge has been to find the right community in which to base our education project. The search for the village to raise the child has taken us all over the world, but in the end, has led us back where we started.

We have now committed to making  the Channel Island of Guernsey the best place to live on earth by 2020 as part of The Dandelion Project. And within this opportunity to create the best community on earth, there is also the very real option of achieving new feats in education.

To reimagine education, we must accept one thing: we have so underestimated our own potential that we can start from a blank page. I asked myself these questions, which I invite you to ask yourself now:

  • What if I have only achieved 1% or 0.1% of my potential?

  • What should my education have looked like, for me to achieve more?

  • What if human potential is actually limitless?

  • How do we reimagine education, if potential is limitless?

These are the questions we are challenging ourselves with, and why we want to run the 4 minute mile in education.

The actual idea of reinventing education came to me last year at the outlier education institution Singularity University, in one of their Biotech classes. There was a picture shown of an 8 year old teaching a Biotech class. How could she teach the class? Because she started learning about the subject 6 months beforehand. Biotech is changing so rapidly at the moment that anyone who starts with the very latest knowledge knows more than everyone with old knowledge. And here is the thing about the future: it will completely change everything we do, in every facet of humanity. In essence, virtually everything we have learnt will become irrelevant. The certainty in the future is: we are all going back to school.

So the answer to reimagining education is actually quite simple. What if children actually started at the end? What if children were given access to the very edge of possibility, and were asked to solve real problems? What would that mean for the human race? And what would that mean for education as a whole?

It is already happening. If you don’t believe me, watch this TED talk by Jack Andraka. He was 14 years old when he discovered a completely new approach for testing for cancer. He did this on his own, with no other resources than Google and Wikipedia. And he is not alone. These young outliers are appearing more and more frequently. So we ask more questions. Can all our children contribute positively to society in unimagined ways? Can we actually create human outliers such as Jack Andraka, as standard?

For us, it is not just about teaching kids to change the world; although the project is a provocation to challenge all the best schools in the world to re-define what is possible. Much as cutting-edge Formula 1 car technology appears in every car 10 years later, we hope and expect that our education project challenges every other school in the world to do the same.

It is also about helping kids to explore their passions and learn how to be happy. It is coaching kids to trustingly follow their hearts that will deliver a far better result. We want kids to put themselves at the centre and learn how to be happy, first and foremost. We want them to use that happiness to go out and do great things in the world. This can be done – if you want proof, watch 13 year old Logan LaPlante’s incredible TEDx talk.

To this end, we are starting a new kind of learning community, and are looking for 20 families with at least one 8-12 year old child. This is a one-of-a-kind educational experiment that will push the boundaries of what is possible for child education worldwide.

We expect the places in our learning community to cost anything from £1m to nothing at all, depending on the ability of the family to pay. We want families from all over the world to mix with local families and take part in the project.

We are not looking for the smartest kids. We are not trying to create a new elitist establishment. We just want to get together 20 families who believe in our vision for young people’s education; 20 families who see no downside to trying something bold; 20 families to collectively take on this challenge to put happiness above societal convention.

In a crazy world with escalating mental health issues and no real link between exam results and happiness, there has to be another way to raise our children. If we consider that most IT and technology jobs did not exist 20 years ago, unimaginable work lies ahead for our children – and we can’t prepare them for it. In a world where most of the jobs today will not exist when our kids reach working age, there has to be another way to prepare them for the future. Our bold project intends to find that way. And we need others to be part of that.

Contact us if you’d like to know more, and you have:

1. One or more children aged 8-12.

    And even if you haven’t, still get in touch if you have:

2. A passionate urge to create a new system of education

3. Experience/ interest in helping young people to achieve their full potential

4. Ideas and suggestions

5. A positive contribution to make in any way

6. Curiosity.

If you are interested in this project, please getintouch@marcwinn.com to find out more.

And if you know someone who would be interested, or could benefit from, or has something to offer the project, please share this with them, too.

Not everyone can be directly involved, but we do promise to share everything we do, so that others can start or run similar projects to ours. This is a small project, but we hope that it will have a positive impact on everyone on the planet in the future.

Marc

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  1. Karen Bennett says

    My son would be perfect for this only downside he just turned 13 last week

  2. Jacqui Bougourd says

    Hi, fascinated and very curious by all of this, however have a nearly 3yr old and nearly 5yr old 🙂

    • Hi Jacqui. We had to focus our efforts on an age range that was workable for us and that made the biggest impact. We have a 3 year old so more than happy to help anyone that wants to organise something for younger kids. We have great contacts that can really help anyone that wants to do it. Marc

  3. Augustine Inogbo says

    This is a thought I have also shared in my undergraduate and MBA classes – Change in Teaching Curriculum/Pedagogical Skills/Methodology/Concept,…! This is really a DYNAMIC REVOLUTION IN THE WORLD EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. Thanks Marc Winn, I personal share this passion with you. Lets keep in TOUCH.

  4. Very interested in transforming education. I have several ideas myself that I would love to talk about. Unfortunately my oldest kid is only 5…we also have a 3 and 1 year old. Regardless, I will send you an email.

  5. Emma Wynne-Jones says

    You wonderful people – I’m in and my boys are the right age, but on the other side of the world. But, anything I can do this end, you just let me know. Good luck.

  6. Jonathan Bean says

    Congratulations on this fantastic initiative that I’m sure many parents would support. I would love to help in any way, including donating my quirky son who finds traditional school boring but the wider world fascinating.

    I think a key challenge is to avoid creating a “child prodigy factory” that some of your examples hint at. Kids that are driven hard to achieve amazing things very young often miss out on the wider social skills, burn out and become unhappy in later life. In contrast the ski dude will have a fun life but probably won’t invent a cure for cancer. Often homeschooling attracts the two extremes of pushy-parents vs free-rangers. I suspect the answer for most kids lies somewhere in between.

    The other challenge is cost. The world and the web provide a rich mix of free and cheap resources to inspire children. The main cost is people’s time helping curate and guide. The really exciting opportunity is to find smart ways to create an inspirational educational experience at a low cost. That is when the 20 can become 20 million. Easier to deliver this virtually, harder when you include rich real-world experiences.

    Count us in! Will be an exciting journey of discovery.

    • These are good challenges.

      1. The child prodigy reference is something of a Trojan Horse. The easiest way to consistently create genius is to coach kids how to get them into a flow state. 10 years of regularly being in flow should deliver some fascinating results. You can’t get into regular flow states without addressing some of the building blocks for a happy life.

      2. The ski-dude is happy with skiing because that was the thing that was in front of him that he was really into growing up. As I found from Singularity University once people realise that they have the ability to change the world then they start to do that. It will be interesting to see what passions kids pursue when they realise anything is possible.

      3. I don’t agree with you on cost. The mobile phone used to cost so much that only a few could afford it. It is now in the hands of the entire planet. This is a 4 minute mile project to reinvent the peak of education, expecting fully that the world will then work out over time how to make it much cheaper for everyone else to consume. If a child wants to pursue something with passion that costs a lot of money then we will facilitate the opportunity some how. The question is – what will children start to do/pursue/achieve when there is no constraint?

      I am so glad you are in!

  7. Hi Mark,

    I am very interested in changing the way my girls are educated. They are 5 and 8 and have just been part of building our house. It has been a collaborative effort with architects, fabricators, makers and crafts people involved and the girls have been at the centre of it all – designing their rooms to loving all the wonderful people who have been involved. The world has come to them as we have had people from all over world work on the project and they have seen how you can create your own bespoke world.

    I am very interested in continuing to foster their curiosity and supporting them to follow their interests and find their passions. I am not as focused on happiness – I think that is often a by-product of a life filled with a sense of purpose.

    I would be very interested in what you end up doing and am happy to keep you posted on the happenings within our workshop at Kew house.

    Kindest regards,

    Jo

    • Thanks for this Jo. I stay in Kew quite regularly so it would be good to meet for coffee at some point. If you drop me an e-mail it would be great to organise.

  8. Hi

    Completely off topic, but it sounds like we may be distantly related somehow. My mother’s family came from Guernsey with surname Winn. My 4x g.grandmother is Johanna Courage Winn d 1834. All the best with your project , hand across the world – Alise in Auckland, NZ

    • My father only moved to Guernsey in the 70s. As far as we know my family are the only Winns on the island at the moment. Great to know that there were others in days gone past!

  9. We have been homeschooling our four children for four years and I believe there is a desperate need for an education reimagining. This is great! The public schools aren’t changing fast enough because of the massive scope and size of the system. So I and two other woman are starting our own private school to open this Fall. This way we can try something new and do something better. We believe that every child is a genius and we must allow them to find their passion and their interest. Standardization is killing creativity. We need unique individuals with different sets of skills. We need individuals who feel a sense of purpose in their lives and find joy in being who they are.
    Kudos! Let’s keep the topic of education going. Make a difference!

  10. Hi Marc,
    A magnificant goal from you, and I’d expect nothing less from you!
    I’d be happy to help in some way although I’m not sure how, so let’s throw some ideas around and see what would work.
    Cheers,
    Simon

    • That would be great. We need families from a wide variety of backgrounds so if there are any people you know in your extensive network that may be interested in taking part in the project. Likewise we will have hundreds of people visiting and mentoring for us so more than happy for you to help in that way. Talk soon.

  11. dawn mckenzie says

    hi i am very interested in my child attending your school i read your article in the guernsey press today i live on guernsey local and would like if possible to be intouch with you i would help you with school in anyway i can i have alot to speak to you about kind regards dawn

  12. Sounds like you have some really interesting ideas. I like the vision and concept – you haven’t given much away on strategy for execution…I would be intrigued to hear more.

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