Coconut Thinking

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

The Coconut Thinking podcast brings together educational provocateurs who are re-thinking school as a concept and a space. It is about advancing the conversation about learning for purpose and for the common good, not just for job-readiness, and certainly not to create docile consumers. Coconut Thinking is a place where we think and act to make positive contributions to the welfare of the bio-collective—all living things that have an interest in the healthfulness of the planet. It is time for revolutionary change in education, to move away from anthropocentric approaches and embrace learning as a social and natural experience that has purpose. It is time to

go #BeyondSchool and open up learning and action for, by, and to the (greater) community.

All Episodes

In this episode, I speak with Ulcca Joshi Hansen, author, educational thought leader and social change advocate with a twenty-year career dedicated to shifting the foundational values and approaches that undergird America’s education system. She currently serves as the Chief Program Officer for Grantmakers for Education, a member organization that serves as a trusted partner for education philanthropists as they adapt to the changes impacting our world. Her latest book is The Future of Smart and she has a couple TEDx talks that are well worth a listen. We discuss: How this is the first time that employers want the skills that human liberatory models claim to provide (and Ulcca also defines what human liberatory models are!); How the thinking that got us here won't get us out of here: mechanistic/Newtonian thinking needing to make way for quantum thinking/ancient wisdoms; How blockchain and other emerging technologies are tools that might help us get to where we want to go, but they aren't the destination. Check out our blog on www.coconut-thinking.design and also on www.intrepidednews.com

Dec 2

46 min 29 sec

In this episode, I speak with Dave Strudwick, Principal of REAL School Budapest. REAL School is an independent, not-for-profit international learning environment that educates for sustainability, primarily through real-life, entrepreneurial learning. Their mission is to raise a new generation who can dream and build a more beautiful, equitable and sustainable world for themselves and for all living beings. Dave's background has a strong Arts component to it and his insights on learning and how to set creativity free are rich and provocative. We discuss: How questions are more important than answers in nurturing curiosity; How learners of all ages can work together to contribute to the community and learn through these experiences; How transforming learning means working with, not against, the tensions in education. Check out our blog on www.coconut-thinking.design and Intrepid Ed News on www.intrepidednews.com

Nov 29

45 min 23 sec

In this episode, I speak to Yong Zhao, Foundations Distinguished Professor in the School of Education with an appointment in the School of Business at the University of Kansas. He is also the Global Chair Professor of Education at East China Normal University, a global chair professor at the University of Bath in the U.K., and a Professorial Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Education Policy at Victoria University, Australia.Yong Zhao has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including Reach for Greatness: Personalizable Education for all Children (2018), Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes(2016), and Never Send a Human to Do a Machine's Job: Correcting Top 5 Ed Tech Mistakes (2015). In this episode, we discuss: The need to cultivate every child's uniqueness and define success based on that uniqueness, not some external standard; How to convert our uniqueness into valuable contributions, which doesn't happen in most school systems—contributions go beyond compliance; How Entrepreneurial Product-Oriented Learning is the specificity that that might take PBL farther and deeper. If you like this episode, subscribe, leave us a rating and check us out on www.coconut-thinking.design.

Nov 22

42 min 26 sec

In this episode, I speak with Ginny Whitelaw. Ginny is the founder of the Institute for Zen Leadership, a Zen Master in the Chozen-ji line of Rinzai Zen, as well as President of Focus Leadership. She is a recognized expert in leadership development and executive coaching and has authored 4 books, including The Zen Leader. A biophysicist by training, she combines a rich scientific background with senior leadership experience at NASA, and more than 20 years developing global leaders. Ginny brings ancient wisdoms and contemporary science together to make us question the dominant narrative of control in schools, the one that is built on cause and effect to reach outcomes. We discuss: How quantum physics and Zen wisdoms share the same understandings of an interconnected universe; How the mechanistic views upon which our schools depend are losing their legitimacy opening doors for regenerative, ecosystemic perspectives; How learning is a shared experience built on dynamic relationships, not just with each other, but with the natural world, through capacity building. Join us for this episode and check out our blog on www.coconut-thinking.design. The Coconut Thinking podcast is made in partnership with Intrepid Ed News (www.intrepidednews.com) and you can find Ginny and more information on Zen leader on on https://zenleader.global

Nov 8

33 min 9 sec

In this episode of the Coconut Thinking Podcast, I speak with Andrés Roberts, Founding Partner at The Bio-Leadership Project and Way of Nature UK. The Mission of the Bio-Leadership Project is to change the story of leadership by working with nature. Much of Andrés's work is around asking the question "How would nature change leadership?" This question is pertinent to all corners of society, but more and more so as learners become leaders. In this episode, we discuss: • How the mechanistic, reductionist narrative is become outdated; • What is it to connect to something more than ourselves, to do good for the whole? • Changing our definitions of success and progress by finding inspiration from nature. If you like this podcast, subscribe, leave a review... and check us out on www.coconut-thinking.design. This podcast is in partnership with Intrepid Ed News (www.intrepidednews.com)

Nov 2

44 min 10 sec

In this episode, I speak with Daniel Christian Wahl, international consultant and educator specializing in biologically-inspired whole systems design and transformative innovation. He is the author of Designing Regenerative Cultures and has worked with local and national governments on foresight and futures, consulted companies like Camper, Ecover and Lush on sustainable innovation, and has co-authored and taught sustainability training courses for Gaia Education, LEAD International and various universities and design schools. Daniel's experience and views on regenerative cultures are part of a larger systemic conversation that involve education and the pressing need for change. In this episode, we discuss: The building capacity in ourselves, others, and life, over looking for fixed solutions; Making the teaching of bio-productivity a measure, if not the measure, of success; Being receptive to place so we can become expressions of place. Join us for another episode and please visit us on www.coconut-thinking.design. This podcast is in partnership with Intrepid Ed News (www.intrepidednews.com).

Oct 26

50 min 28 sec

In this episode of the Coconut Thinking podcast, I speak with Jane Bryant, former CEO of Artswork, the UK's national youth arts development agency, formerly chaired by Ken Robinson. Now a consultant, Jane works in the cultural sector, aiming to work with clients from arts, creative and cultural organisations,  the education sector, funders, and local authorities. Much of her work focuses on increasing access, especially for children and young people. In this episode, we discuss: How the Arts can help us develop so much that can be transferred to other parts of our lives; How reducing education to assessment and sidelining the affective does a great disservice to us as individuals and a society; How the Arts and creative practice can be centralized in schools. I take the phrase "liberating learning" from Santiago Rincón-Gallardo and I don't think there could be a better use of the phrase than when considering the connection between the Arts and creativity in schools. You can also check out our web site on www.coconut-thinking.design and we look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Oct 10

47 min 39 sec

How can we use regenerative practices to help people reveal their essence? How can we move away from a deterministic approach to education and allow learners to set their own path in ways that are meaningful to them? What could a learning ecosystem without assessment look like? How do we draw on the commonalities of quantum physics and ancient wisdoms to frame our thinking? In this episode of the Coconut Thinking podcast, I speak with Carol Sanford. Carol is a consistently recognized thought leader working side by side with Fortune 500 and new economy executives in designing and leading systemic business change and design. Through her university and in-house educational offerings, global speaking platforms, multi-award-winning books, and human development work, Carol works with executive leaders who see the possibility to change the nature of work through developing people and work systems that ignite motivation everywhere. Carol is the author of https://carolsanford.com/the-regenerative-business/ (The Regenerative Business): Redesign Work, Cultivate Human Potential, Achieve Extraordinary Outcomes and several other books. She was recognized as a Thought Leader Lifetime Achievement Award from Trust Across America-Trust Around the World, and has received the Athena Award for Excellence in Business, Mentorship and Community Service.  Check out our blog on https://coconut-thinking.design.

Sep 23

44 min 37 sec

This episode is the second part of a two part series of exchanges between Louka Parry, CEO of the https://www.thelearningfuture.com (Learning Future) and host of the https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-learning-future-podcast-with-louka-parry/id1529079568?i=1000534075343 (Learning Future podcast), and me. I was thrilled to be a guest on Louka's podcast (part 1) and even more thrilled to have Louka on this episode. In addition his role at Learning Future, Louka is a Founding Executive of Karanga: the Global Alliance for SEL and Life Skills. A former teacher, he became a school principal at 27 years old and was named Inspirational Public Secondary Teacher of the Year for South Australia. He has since trained thousands of educators and leaders globally to increase their positive impact. He is a linguist, a world traveller, incredibly well-read and thoughtful, and his perspective on many issues are sure to move your thinking. In this episode, we ask: How can we move from one learning standard to one learning ecosystem, with many journeys possible? How does "success for us" change if we re-think the boundaries of "us?" What would an explicit curriculum of kindness look like? We hope you'll enjoy this episode, subscribe, and come visit us on https://coconut-thinking.design.

Sep 9

58 min 35 sec

In this episode of the Coconut Thinking podcast, I speak with Devin Vodicka, CEO of the Learner-Centered Collaborative, former CEO of Altitude Learning, and author of "Learner-Centered Leadership." You will probably have come across Devin's writings, talks, and thoughts as he is as deep a thinker as he is a prolific creator. Devin contributes so much to the conversation about what it means to be a leader inside and outside schools, how we can think and re-think assessment to be more learner-centered, and the role of identity in the process of learning. Oh yeah, and he knows a thing or two about quantum mechanics. We discuss: How the ways we have used to measure learning have impeded possibilities for learning; How knowing who we are is essential to the process of learning, but there are many ways to define "we;" How social connections need to power new ways of thinking, leaving egos behind. Join us for another episode, check out our blog on www.coconut-thinking.design, and if you like what you hear, follow us and leave a rating.

Aug 25

44 min 33 sec

In this episode, I speak with Joanne McEachen (Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, and Ngāi Tahu), CEO and Founder of The Leaner First. Joanne has spent over 30 years working as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and education change leader in countries around the world. She is a celebrated author, speaker, change leader, and executive coach, a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, an Edmund Hillary Fellow, on the Executive Team of Karanga: The Global Alliance for Social Emotional Learning and Life Skills, and cofounder of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL). She creates opportunities for learners, educators, and communities to learn who they are, how they fit into the world, and how they can contribute their gifts to humanity. We discuss: How contribution to ourselves, others, and the planet is the only way to acquire the new wealth of meaning and fulfillment; How we can move toward assessing collective rather than individual efforts; How knowing "where we come from" is the starting point for forging new relationships; How indigenous wisdoms remind us that we are interconnected with all life, which opens up a new (yet ancient) way of understanding learning and action. Read our blog and leave your comments on www.coconut-thinking.design.

Aug 15

49 min 30 sec

In this episode of the Coconut Thinking podcast (used to be called Meaningful Learning), I speak with Richard Louv. Richard is a journalist and author of ten books. He speaks internationally on nature-deficit disorder, a concept he first introduced in Last Child in the Woods; on the importance of children’s and adults’ exposure to nature for their health, and on the need for environmental protection and preservation for greater access to nature and the health of the Earth. Richard is the recipient of the national Audubon Medal, the San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal; the George B. Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society; the International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award; and the Cox Award, Clemson University’s highest honor for “sustained achievement in public service.” Richard has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Times of London, Orion, Outside and other newspapers and magazines. In this episode, we discuss: How thinking is seeing what is not visible, which leads to empathy; How we need to move beyond  sustainability as a word and a goal; How we become more alive when we empathize with other living things. Join us and check out our blog on https://coconut-thinking.design.

Jul 20

38 min 16 sec

In this episode of the Coconut Thinking podcast (used to be called Meaningful Learning), I speak with Dominic Regester. Dominic is the program director at Salzburg Global Seminar. He is responsible for designing, developing and implementing programs on education, sustainability and innovation. He is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Commission on Education and Communication and a member of the Executive Committee for Karanga - The Global Alliance for Social Emotional Learning and Life Skills. Dominic advocates for centralizing social-emotional learning as a way to meet the challenges of the future, for the common good as well as our personal and professional fulfillment. We discuss: How we can change education by changing ecosystems of learning; How social-emotional skills can help us shape the life we want to lead; How social-emotional learning is necessary to solve the metacrisis we face. Join us for another episode and come read our blog on https://coconut-thinking.design/thought-pieces/

Jul 16

44 min 2 sec

In this episode of the Coconut Thinking podcast, I speak with Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, Chief Research Officer of Michael Fullan's team. As an educational change leader, consultant and scholar, Santiago's work looks at liberating learning and its power to change lives and the world. Through his work he seeks to understand how and under what conditions powerful learning can spread widely across entire educational systems. We discuss among other things: The difference between learning to be taught and learning to learn; How social movements are interconnected and education's role in creating change; and The role of play as an essential part of learning. We have rebranded! The Meaningful Learning podcast is now the Coconut Thinking podcast—keeping things simple. We look forward to your comments and thoughts on our site coconut-thinking.design, where you'll also find our articles and other goodies.

Jul 2

1 hr 4 min

In this episode, I speak with Jeremy Lent. Jeremy was described by Guardian journalist George Monbiot as “one of the greatest thinkers of our age,” and his work investigates the underlying causes of our civilization’s existential crisis, and explores pathways toward a life-affirming future. His new book, The Web of Meaning: Integrating Science and Traditional Wisdom to Find Our Place in the Universe, offers a coherent and intellectually solid foundation for a worldview based on connectedness that could lead humanity to a sustainable, flourishing future. In this episode, we discuss:  The power of social and network intelligences, which go beyond what the individual can do, How instilling passion and purpose among our students might just save the planet, How the greatest lesson we can teach is that there is no separation between us and nature. Leave us a comment and check out our blog on coconut-thinking.design

Jun 6

52 min 15 sec

In this episode, I speak with Jenny Finn, Head of School at Springhouse, a learning community with life at its center. Springhouse takes learning beyond traditional-progressive continuum as the school focuses on vitality, meaning, and cultivating wholeness. Jenny sees education as a primary agent to create regenerative cultures, reflecting how we are all connected, as inhabitants of the planet. This episode hopes to continue the conversation about what a post-humanist approach to learning could look like. We discuss:  How education is culture-making (so what kind of culture do we want to make?), How if you're not encountering resistance, you're not trying anything new, The dangers of being addicted to knowing. Leave us a comment of get in touch on coconut-thinking.design.

May 18

52 min 58 sec

In this episode, I speak with Chris Menagé. Chris is an interdisciplinary educational leader with over 20 years’ international and national experience across private enterprise, government administration and most recently education. Chris has lived around the world and has an award winning track record contributing to educational change through innovative practice. Chris is the founder of E2, which brings together innovators across education and industry. In this episode, we discuss: How remote learning provides opportunities for deeper learning and meaningful connections, How education is an ecosystem that exists beyond the classroom or the school building, How we can all take action to have impact and grow together. Join us for another episode and we look forward to your thoughts.

Apr 28

49 min

In this episode, I speak with Peter Sutoris. Peter is a development professional, researcher, writer and educator, who spent a decade working on issues of education, health and social development. Peter is the author of the article "Anthropocene skills need to be at the centre of curricula" and the author of two books: Visions of Development, about the history development policy in India, and Educating for the Anthropocene, about the refocussing of education interventions needed in the face of the current environmental crisis. We discuss: • Breaking away from the meritocratic narrative to imagine our possible futures, • How following the blueprint for success may be a threat to the planet as well as ourselves, • How education is not the same thing as schooling. Join us for another episode and we look forward to your thoughts.

Apr 21

1 hr 4 min

In this episode, I speak with Helen Kopnina, Researcher in Sustainability and Biodiversity at The Hague University of Applied Science (HHS) and Coordinator of the Sustainable Business program. She conducts research within three main areas: sustainability, environmental education and biological conservation. Helen is the author of over two hundred articles and (co)author and (co)editor of seventeen books. She recently wrote an article with Haydn Washington on Ecocentrism is the pathway to sustainability. In this episode, we discuss:  The role of education in helping us take the little and bigger steps toward sustainability, How so many experiences in school take from nature, but forget to give back, How anthropocentrism opens the gateways to sexism, racism, economic injustice... as well as the degradation of the planet. Join us for another episode and we look forward to your comments.

Apr 13

43 min 54 sec

In this episode, I speak to Haydn Washington, environmental scientist and writer at the Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW. His interests are sustainability (as a step toward regeneration), solutions to the environmental crisis, human dependence on nature, and humanity's denial of its problems. He is also keenly interested in wilderness and the 'sense of wonder' humanity feels towards nature. We discuss: Thinking in terms of eco-reciprocity rather than sustainability, Overcoming Nature Deficit Disorder through wonder and experience, The politics of healing through small, meaningful steps. This is the latest episode of a series that brings the voice of those outside K-12, opening up to the larger ecosystem where thinking, learning and action can contribute to the welfare of the bio-collective.

Apr 7

47 min 3 sec

In this episode, I speak with Noah Sobe, Senior Project Officer in the Education Research and Foresight program at UNESCO. Noah is a key part of UNESCO's new flagship initiative on the Futures of Education, which brings together researchers of different backgrounds around the predicted, probable, and possible futures for the planet. He is a former president of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) and holds a faculty position as Professor of Cultural and Educational Studies at Loyola University Chicago. In this episode, we discuss: Commoning—as a verb—to bring together all those who have an interest in the healthfulness of the planet, The role of school as a place for new experiences, ones that often cannot exist outside of school, The need to democratize education and open up to an ecosystem that drives purpose. This episode marks the first of a series that goes beyond the education industry towards thinkers, writers, and activists who seek to open a conversation on a possible post-humanist future, one that starts to move away from anthropocentric worldviews. As always, we look forward to your thoughts.

Apr 4

40 min 56 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning Podcast, I speak with Valerie Hannon. Valerie is a global thought leader, inspiring systems to re-think what educational ‘success’ will mean in the 21st century. The co-founder of both Innovation Unit  and of the Global Education Leaders Partnership, Valerie is a radical voice for change, whilst grounded in a deep understanding of how education systems currently work. A former Director of Education for Derbyshire and then an adviser in the UK Department for Education, she now works to release and harness the agency and creativity of both learners and educators. Currently, she is Senior Adviser to the OECD in its Education 2030 project. In this episode, we discuss: Thinking about learning in terms of "what for?" before moving onto "how?" Learning to thrive in a transforming world (ecologically and through biotech and infotech) How we need to re-write the story in order to build the public will for change. Please leave us your thoughts and comments.

Mar 28

35 min 29 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking, I speak with Jennifer Groff. Jennifer is the Founder of Learning Futures and was the Chief Learning Officer at Lumiar Education. Her work largely focuses on redesigning systems, learning environments, and digital innovations that align with the learning sciences. Jennifer brings tremendous, positive energy and thinking to curricular innovation and supporting teachers, students, and schools through the pedagogical changes that education just might need. We discuss: The emerging ecosystem of competency- and mastery-based evidencing (including digital passports) Embedding Design Thinking into creating learning experiences How maybe we just need to start over... Join us for this episode where Jennifer's ideas and connections are sure to provoke. As always, we look forward to your thoughts. Erratum: I referred to cyborgs when what I really meant were androids. 

Mar 7

45 min 58 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking, I speak with Bern Nicholls. Bern is a school-based researcher who focuses on creating cultures of curiosity that support students and teachers to pursue their inquiries. She embraces curiosity as the fuel for her own learning and many interests. Bern and I had an earlier conversation about adopting a more biocentric worldview and set of values to address the problems that lay ahead for the planet and all living beings. I wanted to capture more of her inspiring thoughts in this podcast. In this conversation, Bern and I discuss: How it’s not either/or; it’s both/and… breaking through binaries and dualism.   How curiosity is the precursor to thinking.  The need for teacher agency, not just student agency. The power of animals in learning and well-being.  Join us for this episode and we look forward to your thoughts.

Feb 24

58 min 27 sec

This is a particularly nourishing episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. Our guest is Dr. Thom Markham, considered one of the founding fathers of Project Based Learning. Thom Markham is an educator by trade, a positive psychologist by training, and a global entrepreneur dedicated to expanding educator mindsets in service to a positive future. This conversation is the first of I hope many amongst a nascent community of thinkers and doers who believe that we need to shift our values away from anthropocentrism toward biocentrism, toward purpose that benefits other living beings. We had the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution... now it's time for another revolution, one where humans develop beyond themselves. In this conversation, Thom and I discuss: How the neuro-cognitive model we use is breaking down Social Growth Mindset Sustainability as the driving standard for learning and doing. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. Erratum: at the end I say "beyond ecocentrism" when I meant "buying anthropocentrism!" Sorry about the confusion.

Jan 28

39 min 34 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Michael Bunce. Michael is Curriculum Development and Enhancement Lead for Music and Performance, and Course Leader for the Masters in Global Learning Futures at the University of East London. He is engaged in practice and research as a teacher and curriculum innovator, educational technology developer, composer and music producer, and interdisciplinary arts practitioner. Michael is also the Founder of the Metapraxis Project, which facilitates the design, development and implementation of reflexive interdisciplinary learning projects in primary, secondary and tertiary contexts. In this episode, Michael and I discuss:  How learning is a transformation process that occurs within a context. How learning is an experience this takes place in the moment and is oscillating. How agency and metacognition feed off each other. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback.

Jan 12

53 min 19 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Tanya Sheckley, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of UP Academy, an elementary school in San Mateo, California, which is the first school in the world where kids who are able bodied and kids with physical disabilities learn together in the same classrooms. UP Academy focuses heavily on Project Based Learning, showing that elementary school students aren't too young to engage in authentic experiences.  In this podcast, Tanya and I discuss: How to develop core academic skills through student agency How to build a school culture that promotes and sustains joy in learning and teaching How to model lifelong learning to the students and adults alike. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

Jan 5

48 min 24 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Will Richardson. Will is a former public school educator of 22 years and has spent the last 15 years developing an international reputation as a leading thinker and writer about the intersection of social online learning networks, education, and systemic change. Most recently, Will is a co-founder of The Big Questions Institute, which was created to help educators use "fearless inquiry" to make sense of this complex moment and an uncertain future. In 2017, Will was named one of 100 global "Changemakers in Education" by the Finnish site HundrED, and was named one of the Top 5 "Edupreneurs to Follow" by Forbes. He has given keynote speeches, lead breakout sessions, and provided coaching services in over 30 countries on 6 continents. (Come on Antartica!) He has also authored six books, and given TEDx Talks in New York, Melbourne, and Vancouver.  In this podcast, Will and I discuss: Why we so seldom ask "What do you mean by learning?" and other existential questions How change in education may come from mini-schools or schools on the fringes How we can turn the COVID situation into opportunities to foster curiosity and creativity in all learners Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

Dec 2020

41 min 4 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Tim Logan, long-time educator and consultant and strong advocate of bringing Agile into education. Tim explains how Agile principles and values guide us to respond to change and avoid ineffective rigidity, helping to meet student and group learning needs as they arise. Agile is about collaboration and personal interactions, bringing the human element to learning through doing. In this podcast, Tim and I discuss: The value of going beyond quantitative measures as means to understanding learners and their potential How Agile allows us to connect action and learning by having the tools to make good decisions for our students and our schools Practical ways to implement Agile in your classroom Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

Dec 2020

50 min 18 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Karl Millsom, Founder of the Rebel Teacher Network. Karl is a thought agitator who is not afraid to pose questions and frame issues in ways that force us to stop and re-consider why and how we do things in education. Karl helps and leads teachers to transform their practice to make learning experiences deeper by placing the student and the center of learning, but in ways that are fulfilling for the teacher as well. We discuss: How we can find space to transform the curriculum to make it matter to all learners How assessment connects to learning... or fails to in many cases How the community can and should be involved in teaching to bring expertise Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

Dec 2020

1 hr 2 min

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Kyle Wagner, Learning Experience Co-Designer who uses PBL as a vehicle for deeper learning. Kyle has global experience leading transformation of schools and their cultures. In this episode, we discuss Micro-Schools—schools within schools that drive innovation and buy-in from all stakeholders. We also talk about: Why authentic products and assessments provide opportunities for creativity and meaning for students and teachers alike How to avoid the traps in setting up Micro-Schools and maximize momentum toward success How to students can tell their stories to stand out from the crowd of university applicants. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

Nov 2020

44 min 56 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Michael Robbins, who has a long history of being at the center of education reform and innovation. We had an enriching conversation about the future of education and the possibilities and hopes in front of us. In this episode we discuss: Learning led by interests, not standards  How students win back their learning through credentialing The power of technology to strengthen relationships not just deliver content Michael also explains the wonderful and exciting projects he has in store. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

Nov 2020

45 min 51 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Mark Barnett, Learning Experience Designer, PBL consultant, maker space leader, machine learning scholar... a renaissance man in the world of education. In this episode we discuss: Project-Based Learning as way to cultivate deeper learning Going beyond traditional assessment to reframe our thinking about learning How technology should be used to create, not just replicate what already exists Mark's work pushes us to think in ways that challenges the traditional system so that all learners can find more meaning in what they do and learn. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

Oct 2020

33 min 24 sec

In this episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast, I speak with Dwayne Matthews, one of the broadest and deepest thinkers I've met in a while. In this episode we discuss: Learning Labs as an emerging innovation that allows students to break away from the traditional curriculum in order to explore their strengths and passions while developing authentic products The importance outcomes to replace traditional assessment (including grades) The role of technology as a tool, not an end. Dwayne disrupts our traditional thinking about what learning is and how learning is demonstrated and applied in these changing times. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking. We hope you enjoy this episode and please let us have your thoughts and feedback. 

Oct 2020

48 min 1 sec

In this podcast, I speak with Dr. Dan Kreiness, instructional leader and host of The Leader of Learning podcast. Through his coaching, podcast, blog, and research, Dan is an influencer and expert in transformational leadership as a way to create the contexts for more effective learning and innovation in schools. Throughout our talk, Dan provides strategies and insights into: How transformational leadership is about making sure everyone has the chance to be a leader in a school. How we can adapt as educators to meet student needs. Pushing ourselves to be risk-takers inside and outside the classroom Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking.

Sep 2020

49 min 13 sec

In this podcast I speak with Dr. Trevor Soponis, Founder and Chief Learning Officer of the Sustainable Learning Projects. Trevor is dedicated to developing project-based learning opportunities addressing the fundamental environmental challenges of our time for students around the world. Trevor has moved my thinking as we discuss: How we should trust students to take charge of their learning and solve the problems of their community. The power of connections to the environment to drive learning, in the future, yes, but also right now. The opportunities COVID and Black Lives Matter may provide to create a better world if we make the right choices. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning podcast by Coconut Thinking, which may be the last one from Saudi Arabia as new adventures await.

Jun 2020

48 min 11 sec

Listening to education podcasts, there are many conversations about the student experience that take place between adults, and while there can be so much to learn from pedagogical experts and leaders, it's all too rare that anyone asks the students themselves about their school years.  In this Podcast, I interview 3 recent High School graduates about what they learned the past 4 year, in school and outside, what resonates with them, what they would change in schools, and what how prepared they feel for life after High School.  We often talk about voice and choice for students, so this was a chance to give team space to express themselves. They have much to teach us if we want to design learning experiences that make an impact as well as make connections with the students.  In this episode, we learn (confirm?) that students value choice, relationships, and the space to pursue their interests. No surprise maybe, but these kids have some insightful ideas about how to go about it all.

May 2020

58 min 45 sec

Dr. Rena Upitis is a Professor of Education at Queen’s University. She has authored or co-authored 10 books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles. Her research and curriculum projects have explored teacher, artist, and student transformation through the arts. Rena herself is a musician, visual artist, and timber-frame carpenter. Oh yeah, and she lives off-grid! In this podcast, Rena talks about how: we learn best when we are emotionally-connected to questions that matter, there are multiple paths for joy in post-secondary life,  some children are learning more under lockdown than in schools. Join us for another episode of the Meaningful Learning Podcast by Coconut Thinking.  

May 2020

35 min 45 sec

We look at why: learning cannot be measured effectively through testing. the education industry has reduced learning to a score (grade). measuring the effects of learning as action is what matters most.

Apr 2020

31 min 39 sec