A nonprofit that helps schools build cultures of true innovation to better prepare students for a rapidly changing world.
Open Way Learning is a 501(c)3 organization with a singular mission to help schools develop, refine, sustain, and scale cultures of learner-centered innovation that enable powerful teaching & learning strategies to thrive, better meeting the needs and goals of every student, especially those traditionally furthest from opportunity.
The work we do stems from the premise that authentic innovation will not result from applying a patchwork of buzzword initiatives, but only when a school attends to the essential and harder work to bake a culture of authentic innovation into its DNA - a culture that leverages existing skills & talent to enable a living mission & vision, collective leadership, systemic collaboration, and the free and open exchange of ideas and resources.
This website provides an overview of tools, resources, and inspiration any education stakeholder can use to lead the transformation to localized, crowdsourced innovation in their own learning community.
THE SOURCE CODE: "Open Up, Education!"
Open Up, Education! is the book that began the Open Way Learning movement. Backed by research and filled with case studies and examples from around the world, it provides a compelling narrative of how educators are creating cultures of authentic innovation to better serve their students - giving them skills and knowledge appropriate for the Fourth Industrial Revolution rather that the First.
“When we actively share models of teaching and learning as ‘open,’ our ideas become scalable through replicability and adaptability. We share new ideas with others, excite them to iterate upon what we’ve created, receive feedback indirect and indirect ways, and hone our own thinking and communication to be better teachers and learners. It’s an explosion of energy that starts with sharing to create a collective genius that benefits all of us." --TimO'Leary, English teacher at Middlebury Union High School and faculty member of "What’s the Story?" The Vermont Young People Social Action Team
Want to learn how to connect to a growing network network schools doing authentic, learner-centered innovation? Develop a customized plan of innovation for your school by taking one of two online courses via the Odigia learning platform - one completely self-paced and the other as part of an 8-week cohort of education stakeholders ready to lead innovation in their own learning community. You can also become part of an online community of educators committed to sharing their ideas, work, and insight to further scale learner-centered innovation to more schools and for more students. Follow @OpenWayLearning on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin.
The principles to an open way learning culture of innovation
The school has made teacher collaboration a cultural priority, with time & space made available for routine (weekly+) peer-to-peer sharing, planning, and embedded professional learning. The school's schedules, norms, and routines reflect a culture of organic cooperation between all stakeholders, including students. Student work defaults to collaboration over isolation. Teachers and staff have high value and a proven track record of cross-discipline and cross-grade level networking. When groups formally meet, they do so per established protocols, norms, and rituals to ensure the time spent is highly efficient & productive.
Trust and transparency are cultural priorities for the school, leading to a climate of open sharing . Time & energy is routinely provided for team-building and to foster deep student & peer relationships. All members of the learning community are willing to be vulnerable by sharing their work, their ideas, their resources, and their stories - both within and outside the school. The school takes advantage of and contributes to open educational resources to build professional teaching capacity - locally and beyond. The school has taken steps to grow connections in the local community and beyond.
The school is a model of authentic, localized, learner-centered innovation, where students, teachers, and staff are constantly using improvement science and the design process to improve the teaching and learning environment. School stakeholders are eager to adapt & scale proven best practices such as community-facing Project Based Learning, Competency Based Education, and other learner-centered strategies. A fail forward ethos exists, where the community meets the individual needs of every student. Students love being at the school because of the joy & wonder of learning they experience every day, every class, every lesson.
The school has a Mission & Vision that is culturally embedded in the school’s DNA such that one clearly sees it manifested in routine actions, decisions, and priorities. The Mission &Vision sets the tone for a true sense of urgency for the school to prepare every student for a rapidly changing world. The school embraces the ideals of distributed leadership, valuing the collective autonomy of those closest to the work with students. Key decisions about the strategic direction of the school are transparent. All school stakeholders know that while not every idea is guaranteed to be implemented, all ideas are at least guaranteed to be heard.
We believe that the positive disruption that is essential in education cannot be done in isolation. It requires a "coalition of the willing" to build the public will to demand change, to identify and highlight emergent practices and proof points, and to grow the capacity of organizations to more equitably meet the individual needs of every student. As such, we do our work not from a lens of competition, but from one of collaboration. In other words, we believe that Open Way Learning is not the only way to grow a culture of authentic innovation in schools, but it is indeed a way, especially when done in concert with other forward-thinking organizations that advocate for learner-centered innovation across the education ecosystem. Since its formation as a nonprofit organization, Open Way Learning has had the privilege of partnering with a number of innovative organizations around the world that offer state-of-the-art solutions, programs, and methods to help education stakeholders make this transformation a reality. Open Way Learning fully endorses the work of each of these organizations and recommends that you click the icons below to find out how we can all work together to quicken the pace of innovation in education!