If BIL needs a break, he can go to the music room, sit down at the keyboard or pick up an instrument and jam with his friends. He can go to the video game room and relax, shoot some bad guys in a bean bag chair, and let his mind go in a differnent way for awhile. He can untangle the problem he was working on while playing, or chat with a coworker. If that doesn't work-- he can go to the massage room for a nice massage. At Google Pittsburgh, there is a net that hangs over part of the work space. It has large pillows in it. You can take a book and lie in the net, spider-like, dangling 30 feet above everybody else, and rest. There is a beautiful gourmet dinner for you waiting-- and you don't have go home until you want to. What a great way to work! What a great way for a company to treat valued employees! What a terrific way to encourage mind-body connection-and help good thinkers continue to think, collaborate, engage, create!
Wouldn't it be nice for school children to be treated like the computer software engineers at Google Pittsburgh? Our world certainly needs kids' brain power at least as much as it needs BIL's. It's not just the beautiful food and massages I'm talking about. What I find most important about Google's approach is their willingness to create an environment in which people can back up, rest, relax, and engage with others at work. I believe relationships and engaging with others is the way to truly be productive in the 21st century.
So let's do that! Let's remake what learning looks like at our schools! And guess what? It seems we may have some catching up to do.
A group of folks in Pittsburgh have been thinking about project-based, hands-on, creative, engaging, collaborative type education for a long time. Almost a decade ago, a group of smart folks got together to think about how the internet age had changed the way kids thought and learned. They wanted a new way to engage kids. They began to meet at Pamela's for pancakes (proving as always that where there is food, there is good thinking) and brain storming about how to better meet the needs of a different type of learner-- one who didn't want to be lectured to-- who wanted to make, create, do, be something-- who demanded to be heard, listened to, who wanted to move around, build stuff, learn from other kids, find their own ways. A kid who needed new pathways to excel. This group became Kids+Creativity--thought leaders who wanted to improve how kids learned in and around Pittsburgh.
Almost 10 years later, the group has become Remake Learning. Their mission statement reads:
Representing more than 200 organizations, Remake Learning is a professional network of schools, museums, libraries, afterschool programs, community centers, higher education institutions, education technology companies, philanthropies, and civic leaders working together to inspire a generation of lifelong learners in Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and beyond.