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    Great. Glad Rebecka is there working with you all 🙂

    We are planning to redesign ALC Membership (and member benefits) in early 2017. To this point, we’ve reserved the full access to all our documents on Google Drive to folks who have been through and ALF Summer training experience with us. We may wind up creating different folders with different resources moving forward, but I’m not exactly sure how that should all shake out. Either way, with your relationship with Rebecka, you shouldn’t be missing too much at this point.



    Hi Guillermo,

    I’m not sure there are any tools and practices that will magically instill cleanliness and order in at an ALC, unless I’m misunderstanding your questions.

    Are you saying you’re having trouble getting students to participate in cleaning up? Or are you asking about tools for making visible what cleaning needs to get done?

    Can you extrapolate a bit?

    I hear @becka is working with you all now — that’s great! Maybe she can weigh in on this and has more context for the issue you’re looking to address.



    Great. yeah, let us know what he says. He probably has more experience with this than us. The rules in the US for granting diplomas are based on which State you’re in, so it is hard to say how it works here universally. The problem with one of our schools doing this for you is that we are “out there” or “radical” to the government and what they probably want to see from you in Mexico is that there’s a traditional or at least well-established US school that would validate your school.





    Have you reached out to Jerry Mintz at AERO about this?




    @artbrock wrote a thorough and sharp piece about digital literacy and the importance of access.






    *slower clap*



    I feel it is quite fitting that @bear would pen this blog post and wanted to share it here.



    Hey friends –

    I haven’t been back to Mosaic since the new “facilitated gaming hour” was put into implementation, but I wanted to go ahead and share some thoughts I had after reading the article that was shared in an email thread about this topic.

    Here’s a link to the article:

    I found the article to be rather heavy-handed.

    The author leads with:

    Many of us who are raising children likely have grown accustomed to the trance-like indifference and absent state of mind that our youth can masterfully turn on in a matter of seconds (it looks like an extended lapse in consciousness). We have probably all talked ourselves into thinking these “short trips” are normal. But has anyone wondered why it takes ever-increasing volume and inflection to catch a glimmer of attention or elicit a response from our best genetic contributions to humanity?

    This feels like a harsh generalization — likening all children’s engagement with technology to some sort of robot/AI takeover of their brains.

    Though I have witnessed the trance-like state Joe mentions, I have also seen children use tech tools powerfully and intentionally. For me, there is a big distinction that the author does not seem to be willing to draw in the article — the difference between the mindless consumption of entertainment and the intentional use of a tool. There is a big difference between a 3-hour Candy Crush binge or watching a full season of some TV show on Netflix, and engineering a Red Stone powered catapult in Minecraft, or blogging about your interest in Warrior Cats.

    Consider a simpler time when we just had regular old print books. How many of us older folks (I know I’m not that old) remember friends or family who would read fiction stories nonstop to the point that parents wished they would “go outside” or “play with their friends more”. I certainly remember my sister being unreachable and in a similar trance-like state when she was deep into Nancy Drew or Anne of Green Gables. I don’t have a value judgment myself, but I see a distinction between reading Tom Clancy books all weekend and locking yourself into the Library of Congress to research historical archives. Would we consider both of these activities being “kidnapped by books”?

    The medium has changed, but the way we choose to interact with it seems to be fundamentally the same. That said, it is true there is more noise out there and more distractions being marketed to us and to children than ever before. For me, this points to the increasing need to give our kids space and support to navigate this world of infinite choice with their own sense of purpose and mindfulness.

    Knowing how to make good choices, including how and how much to use technology, is a muscle that must be exercised. We often talk about our ability to discern —  but discernment cannot be be learned by transaction, only through spacious and autonomous access to our own experiences.

    I’m fearful for kids who have access to computers, internet, and video games heavily restricted during their childhood, as their first few years of young adult independence will more-likely be an explosion of mindless consumption. Everyone has to learn these lessons for themselves.

    As adults we are still learning them. Facebook is a great example. We can spend hours scrolling, flipping, clicking, and gazing at a carousel of nostalgic images gently nestled between advertisements. We can also use the tool to write to loved ones, coordinate events, promote a cause, or reunite with a family member we haven’t seen in decades.

    I found it difficult to be convinced by the author’s anecdotal evidence and ambiguous references to research that say adolescents who play video games are ruining their brains. There is just as much anecdotal evidence to say the contrary.

    The author goes on to talk about how “gaming” (specifically games that are built around flashy behaviorist-like rewards to keep you coming back) wind up messing with out brain chemistry because they produce a rush of dopamine.

    So when your kid’s computer activity ends, count on your child looking like a drone because you’re probably not all that interesting compared to what he’s just been experiencing. In truth, everything in life will seem boring. Simple things like watching a sunset, playing with the dog or even visiting with a grandparent will seem like trivial nonsense. Why? Because nothing in the normal, mundane world can match the ecstasy of the virtual world or the super high it produces.

    Again, “computer activity” is getting a heavy-handed generalization. Really? All computer activity is going to leave us feeling like a strung out drug addict? I personally remember playing many of the games he seems to be referencing as a kid. Sometimes I would play them for hours. Eventually, I got bored. At this stage in my life, I have no desire to play video games. I still love hiking and staring at the stars.

    I put the time into dissecting this article a bit because I hope to come at this conversation from a different angle. I don’t want to blindly endorse all unfettered use of tech, but I also do not want to demonize it and make it out to be a taboo, either.

    Ultimately, I think the author sums it up well and makes the most sense in the final paragraph:

    How do we make necessary changes in the best interest of the young developing mind? It is the parent’s job to think this complexity through to its end. If we propagate the use of technology without an emphasis on developing personal values, providing an environment for skillful learning, practicing reverence for all cultures and beliefs, performing daily rituals, participating in family and social activities, exposing our kids to nature, motivating them to exercise, debating philosophy or providing an environment for interpersonal evolution, we can surely predict how well ” or how poorly ” future generations will thrive on a planet with so much opportunity.

    It is clear to me that the ALC container is aiming to do just this. While providing access to technology (the literacy of our time), we are placing a huge emphasis on personal values, skillful learning, reverence for all cultures and beliefs, performing daily rituals, engaging in family and social activities, exposing kids to nature, motivating them to exercise, debating philosophy, and providing them an environment for interpersonal evolution.

    “Computer time” is not going away. I hope that we continue to find healthy ways to empower our kids to be the leaders of their generation — to make the technologies work them them, rather than the other way around.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by  Tomis.


    I was thinking of YAALFs as coming directly from an ALC community (not homeschoolers or unschoolers unfamiliar with our model).

    The idea was that by being and ALC student you are getting a sort of training in ALFing, simply by growing up in the environment. When you get into your teenage years you could be at a place where you’d be able to support staff in an assistant ALF-type role. In order to expand your experiences, you’d go to a different ALC in a new place to do your YAALFing.

    I’d have to rethink what it would look like to have homeschoolers do this. That would be something different, as they’d need their own immersive ALC experience to be able to effectively YAALF, I believe.



    Totally, @abbyo. When I first met Connor and Ishan and started playing with MetaMaps, I was thinking about all these possibilities for ALC students, facilitators, and network organization.

    I’m excited to see the platform getting better and better and with more ALFers now, we may have critical mass to really engage with it.



    From October 7th:

    Today at Kilgo, we held a conversation with the students about technology use at school. This has been an ongoing and at times, challenging conversation as there are many nuanced issues and values around technology.

    In the meeting we discussed a range of topics from the different ways technology can be used, what we do and don’t want technology to be used for, and what systems we can set up to support what we do and don’t want.

    Some students expressed that devices at school are distracting and can have a hypnotizing effect on everyone. They said there is no “school wide rule” about devices in the space. This meeting was an attempt to create something together that we all agree to and help each other honor. The facilitators tried their best to discern the children’s voices and the messages they were getting from parents in order to have an authentic conversation.

    The effect technology has on relationships was a central to our discussion. The kids realize the effect technology, gaming in particular, has on their relationships with each other, their family and themselves. The positive and collaborative aspect of gaming was also recognized and we wanted to support that kind of play as much as possible.

    Nancy stressed the point of not creating a victim mentality around gaming. The computers do not control us and take our minds over. It is our choice, and we are empowered to use powerful tools (like technology) mindfully or not. We can empower ourselves to make mindful choices with everything we do and use. We can also request support if need to, like, “Can you please remind me to stop playing after an hour.” Facilitators are happy to support kids with requests, especially when they realize certain boundaries they want to implement in their lives might be tough at first to remember.

    The kids and adults talked about several different options for how to have the presence of videogames at school, and we decided to pick an option and just try it out for tomorrow and next week (instead of getting into long hypothetical discussion – this is a part of being agile, try something out, reflect, decide if we keep it going or change it). Then we can meet and see how it is working. We decided to try out “Facilitated Videogaming.” It will be facilitated by Nancy and work like Writer’s Workshop. This is now on our Community Mastery Board. Caleb requested that we please do this at the end of the day so everyone would have an easier time to stop playing, the other kids thought it was a good idea. This is an example of empowering the kids to make a request around their use of videogames – rather than demonizing the videogames and rendering ourselves helpless to it.

    Facilitated Videogaming 2-3pm M/Tu/Wed/Th ONLY

    1) Kids meet in library around green carpet and set intentions/make requests. For example, a child might want to ask for help doing something and another could offer to show them how. Kids could set intentions to beat a level, build a structure, etc.
    2) Kids go off to play in the library. Nancy is in the room helping/observing/whatever else is needed.
    3) We meet again at the green carpet to reflect on what was accomplished/desired to finished the next day.

    Videogames (including watching minecraft videos) are not played outside this time, but technology can be used for writing books, looking up information, collaborative classes (geoguessr, wikitrails, geocaching, similiar). Kids who are not respecting this boundary are reminded by other kids by saying the word “Squingo” to them. That is their warning. If they are continuing to videogame after the warning, they can’t bring their tech to school the next day.
    The facilitators will support this initiative and will provide feedback on our reflections at the end of next week, after our Friday Change-Up meeting. The process of figuring out technology at school is ongoing and continually evolving. It is clear that with more conversations such as the one today, we will continue to figure out what works best for us and continue to learn a lot of valuable lessons as we go.



    FROM @nancy :


    I’m currently visiting the ALC NYC right now and feeling pretty jazzed about some simple things I think I could change up in my small group based off of what I see @ryanshollenberger @abbyo doing with their “spawn points!”

    I attend Abby’s spawn point this morning and saw this sign on the doorway: 

    Yeah, I really want to copy this! In addition, I noticed that both her and Ryan’s kids had their kanban boards set up in the spawn point rooms. I like how they have these set up:

    Abby’s Spawn Point Kanban Set up

    Ryan’s Spawn Point Kanban Set up

    In addition, they tried out this week doing Scrum before their morning group time so kids and ALFs have a reminder of what was set at Set the Week meeting before going into their rooms for intention setting. I asked Ryan how that worked out and he said he really liked it. At the change up meeting today, the kids and ALFs decided to move that from “practicing to implementation.” I’d like to ask our group if we would like to try this out too – as I see how it could be beneficial to see a schedule before setting intentions on our Kanbans.

    I also noticed white boards in each of their rooms with school wide announcements:

    As well as reminders for their ALF weekly routines schedule and community agreements:


    It looks like each “spawn point” has nested into their rooms and I really enjoyed being able to take part and share what they’re up to!

    I’ll share some pics from Mosaic next week as well 🙂

    On a personal note, I love seeing pictures of how spaces are organized for kids. If you have any to share from your ALC, please share.



    I just shared two google drive folders with you that have a bunch of logo files.

    Let me know if this takes care of your needs 🙂



    I also really like the idea we started kicking around on our last ALF call —

    A database of all the passions, interests, and expertise of the people in our network that anyone can search through. We can tag things so that various search queries will generate relevant results. This way, we can be connecting students to anyone in our network that can authentically support them in co-learning, mentoring, or even directly teaching them in areas of mutual interest.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 30 total)