I need a new Brain Trust

Designing classroom experiences. Architecture. Writing. Diagramming. Technology. Science and engineering literacy. Programming. Conservation. Environmental science. Biomimicry. Original Green. Green. LEED in all its permutations. Energy efficiency. Brain games. Learning process expertise.

My friend Dave Gray once said to me that face time is too valuable to waste on announcements. And yet I attend a lot of announcement-oriented meetings. And I find that I don’t have what I really need to do my job effectively: a brain trust that can help me work through the issues I listed above.

I don’t mean the job of teaching. I feel like I have a handle on that. I mean the job of teaching design thinking. That’s what I’m supposed to do at my current school. I can generate reports and do research all I want, but if I’m going to move beyond the research and report and plan phases, I need a team to help generate the ideas. And a team is what I don’t have, yet.

But I’m thinking that my team should include some of the parents and students I’ve developed a connection with.  I don’t necessarily need a bunch of yes-people — in fact, I need a team that disagrees with me, not virulently but generously and kindly.  And I need a team that can think and express their ideas.

How did you assemble your Brain Trust? Who’s in it? How is it helping you reshape your classroom?

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One comment

  1. Excellent question, Andrew! I once struggled with that as well, working on what amounted to an intellectual island where all of my colleagues appeared to be doing architecture simply to make a living. I’ve found several ways in recent years:

    A. I participate in a number of listservs populated by highly knowledgeable people passionate about the subject material. At times, they can be a fire hose of advice… too much to assimilate.

    B. I try to follow people on Twitter with similar characteristics, and one of the things I appreciate most about them is the fact that they curate a tremendous number of resources for their followers, posting links to only what they consider the most useful stuff. I try to return the favor to my followers.

    C. Consider Tweet chats. I normally participate in #builtheritage, #aiachat, and #letsblogoff.

    D. This may sound self-serving, but I like reading my own blogroll. By that, I mean that by assembling a blogroll of bloggers you find valuable, you’re putting them all in a place where you can read them conveniently without having to look up their web addresses again.

    E. I’ve taken this to a bit of an extreme with the Original Green App (http://bit.ly/6JP1On,) where the second page (the More… button) contains the feeds of the bloggers I read the most. Makes it really convenient to read on my phone when I’m in a train or bus or something and can’t do much else.

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