Play-Based Learning

Kristy Volesky is an author and educational advocate. Kristy recently published her first book, Transformational Work-Based Learning, and together, we chat about how the innovative spirit is activated through internships and creative activities within a startup community.

With this leader’s experience inside the Iowa Department of Education and now a fresh connection with Jeff Reed at Momentum Studios, you know this caffeinated conversation is loaded with value for linchpins and design thinkers who understand the future of work is all about play.

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What is School For?

Russ Goerend is a bold and generous leader who designs community-driven experiences for high school students exploring what’s next within the Waukee APEX work-based learning program. This is a powerful episode for educators, students, and parents! Inspired by Stop Stealing Dreams, Connect Dots, and How to get into a famous college with Seth Godin, together we ask, what is school for? This is a simple, but important question that has so many answers!

As we embark on 2024, how might we continue to blur lines between the classroom and community? What are more side doors we can open today, that accelerate those ready to build tomorrow? Enjoy!

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Lifelong Learning

Elizabeth Tweedale brings parents and students together by embracing lifelong learning. Since graduating from Loras College, she has (co)authored six books and exited an AI company called GoSpace. This award-winning technologist is now the CEO of Cypher Coders, which is an IRL coding camp for children, as well as, Coco Coders, an online coding school that has taught over 10,000 kids how to code!

It was cool to have this leader in education craft a caffeinated contribution called Playforce and as you’ll hear in this impactful episode, Elizabeth is passionate about family and remains dedicated to transforming how parents think about technology and the future of work. As Elizabeth closes by saying, “do your best, and let them say.”

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Conspicuous Kindness

These two hours between Elon Musk and Lex Fridman was fascinating. During their opening examination of war, Elon was sharing peculiar ways to deescalate tension with “conspicuous kindness”. This term caught my ear and has me wondering if the winds of outrage are human nature, perhaps conspicuous kindness can help us heal the future?

Conspicuous kindness feels empathetic, but not without boundaries. Like a vibe that welcomes other vibes. It keeps hope evolving, but everyone experiences the world differently. Consistency may be what people want in business, but the discipline to stay centered is challenged by constant change and history makes it hard to imagine world peace. Acts of conspicuous kindness are seen everyday, but what happens when conflict tests humanity?

We may long for a cosmic utopia where peace and progress co-exist, but reality can always be altered as long as humans play by different rules. Not rules based on objective truth, but the dynamic personal and political truths of mankind. Such variety of imbalance combined with endless complexity makes global alignment ostensibly impossible. While interplanetary travel may someday reduce geopolitical stress, when survival feels at stake, desperation sets in. Anonymity without kindness devolves into animosity and isolation fuels fear that can apparently justify begrudging rage.

Fortunately, life on earth has long been resilient.
Unfortunately, any single planet has limitations.

With over 8 billion humans all consuming finite resources and our species altering the earth like never before, conflict may be inevitable. If we know it’s coming, can the kindness we teach children be extended into our shared experience? What equilibrium must be achieved to make everyone feel thankful, happy, motivated, and significant?

Kindness cannot be the only answer, but it feels like part of an equation where we collectively assume positive intent, welcome the opportunity to be wrong, appreciate healthy debates without regret, and let others lead.

If versions of vulnerability are necessary, how can we lean into conspicuous kindness without being taking advantage of? If you saw how Lex and Elon interacted with xAI in the interview that prompted this writing, you may be reminded of how BEN BOT contributes in You Don’t Need This Podcast! This is pure human, but let’s brew in an interesting response from our conversational companion.

“I believe that leaning into conspicuous kindness without being taken advantage of starts with setting boundaries and expectations. It is important to be clear about what you are willing and not willing to do, and to communicate this to those around you. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of the intentions of those you are interacting with and to trust your instincts. If something feels off, it’s okay to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. Finally, it is important to remember that kindness does not have to mean weakness; it is possible to be kind and firm at the same time.”BEN BOT

As we rebound to human wisdom on such a heavy topic, my dad reminded me of how people’s life experiences impact innate responses. Has trust been broken before? Are there generational activities that seem destine to create tension? When distrust has been woven into the history of any interaction, good will can feel unfathomable.

Perhaps when kindness feels this
removed, is when it’s needed most.

Professor X

Andre Wright is a genuine father, designer, visionary, activist, and community builder. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame in 2021, with work featured at New York Fashion Week, and collaborations with Politico, NPR, Target, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, and Facebook.

Whether it’s Wright House, Humanize My Hoodie, or having dinner with Banksy, Andre has dedicated his life to the underrepresented. Listen as we jam on the hope for our youth, telling the story of a project to expand trust, and uniting a movement.

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