How did this website happen?

The Open Portal Network Concept

OPMemo by Liza Loop 

Is today’s educational infrastructure good enough for the 21st century?

Formal education has always had its critics but Covid-19 has shown the world that there are alternatives to school as a collection of age-graded, teacher-centered, competitive, physical classrooms. Having to stay at home has made people aware that there is a lot more valid and important learning going on for children than mastering standard academic subjects. Workplace changes, technical developments and new employment patterns have challenged already well-educated adults to retrain. Relief from extreme poverty has freed millions to pursue learning that enables them to continue to improve the economic status of themselves and their families. Pursuit of artistic, cultural, spiritual, sport and entertainment goals movatives still more of us to increase our skills and knowledge. There is a growing consensus that turn-of-the-century schools are not adequately prepared for young people for the lifelong learning they will need to enjoy the world they are inheriting. Nor are adults finding enough resources to quench their thirst for thriving economically or fulfilling their personal potential.

Voices around the world acknowledge that education has outgrown the school/classroom model. Pockets of reform, revisioning, and innovation are forming to design new ways to address the human quest for knowledge, to revive old ways and to preserve the school model for those who thrive within it. The time is ripe to bring these voices together.

How to create a movement

The book,”Cascades: How to create a movement that drives transformational change” by Greg Satell, describes global campaigns that have succeeded in initiating significant social change. The push for rebooting education has already started and we can help drive it by putting some of Satell’s ideas into practice.

Satell calls out features successful movements share:

  • an immediate goal such as a specific problem, wrong or need
  • a positively stated set of shared values
  • a plan to make change permanent and mainstream
  • building strong and accountable institutions
  • evolving from a movement (short duration) into a watchdog group (long duration)

To accomplish this requires more than a single charismatic leader. Movements need to:

  • create networks of networks, not one organization
  • collaborate, connect and share solutions
  • build a common vision that all participants and organizations can buy into
  • foster a sense of trust and shared purpose

There are many other publications and organizations that offer advice on how to promote high-impact social action. Most of them recommend processes and procedures similar to those noted by Satell.

Don’t we have enough networks for education?

One existing, powerful network is the UN. But I’m concerned that the UN Sustainable Development Goal #4, Quality Education, is not radical enough to spawn a movement. It states:

Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Education helps reduce inequalities and reach gender equality and is crucial to fostering tolerance and more peaceful societies.”          

(https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/4_Why-It-Matters-2020.pdf)

Learning and education are so much more than this. The UN is promoting “schooling” not learning or self-determination through knowledge and skill acquisition. I think we can do better and bring the UN forward with us.

Starting Plans

What to do first? 

  • Get together a core team to draft some documents that address the points Satell has made. This and other memos, combined with mission statements from existing organizations can provide raw material.
  • Invite leaders like Will and Homa of BQI to revise and add to our drafts and to bring their networks along.
  • Share contact information among groups of people (network nodes) so that each can interact with the others independently.
  • Assure participants that they are not lone oddballs but part of a growing surge.

Roles for Open Portal Network Hub Participants

These people gather information from the networks and ensure that it is distributed across the networks and to the general public. We need:

  • Vision Keepers (~3)
  • Movement Strategists (~3) 
  • Information Shepherds (~6)
  • Social Media/Web Designers (~2)
  • Writers (~4)
  • Copy Editors (~4)
  • Translators (~10)
  • Public Relations Advisors (~3)
  • Government/Large Organization Liaisons (~12)
  • Networkers for Nonprofit, small and spontaneous groups (~6)
  • Secretary/Recorder (~1)
  • Legal Advisor (~1)

 It will only take a few of us to begin a cascade of lasting change for learners. Once started, others will emerge to become thought partners, testers of new procedures, questioners of ideas, and whatever else could be helpful. Open Portal Network can be a catalyst for the now disparate groups to come together and mobilize.

You are reading step 1. You commenting on OpenPortal.network is step 2. Step 3 is to invite all the groups you know about to consider how they would like to advance the movement. Step 4 involves a few people agreeing to join the Hub in the crafting problem statements, articulating shared values and drafting plans.

Please go to WWW.OpenPortal.Network to read more and add you contact information if you are so moved.

By Liza Loop

Social philosopher, futurist, educator, writer, idea generator, teacher, parent, grandmother, community volunteer, musician, former horseback rider, skier, dog owner, trouble-maker.

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