06/19/2013 09:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Cleaning the Blackboard

First in a series of 12 - Education Unplugged 101

"What do you see on a {clean} surface?
Nothing, I replied.
And what could you draw on it?

-- Elizabeth Haich, Initiation

Cleaning the blackboards was something we did as students. It was a real skill if it was done "right". To truly clean off the blackboard it took several steps with the first, being the most important. The first step was, the decision to wipe everything off the blackboard. Once that decision was made, the blackboard would be wiped clean and the erasers would be taken outside to "knock" off all the chalk dust left in the eraser. There were several ways to clean the erasers. Each offered a different experience and each was a personal choice. There was The Big Bang theory which was, the super colliding of the erasers against each other. The communal way of cleaning erasers was to throw them at each other until the erasers were dust free and the kids were covered with free dust. Another mode of cleaning (less accepted by teachers and administrators), was to knock the erasers against the side of the building which tended to leave chalk dust marks. Whatever the mode chosen, the erasers were clean with one last thing on the list to be done; the tray that held the chalk and erasers would need to be wiped clean. Finally, with a clean tray to hold everything, the chalk and erasers were replaced and the blackboard was ready for the next lesson.

Little did we know how profound that activity was ... and still is. Little did we know that it was actually a life skill we were practicing and that we would be invited to clean off our blackboards, clean off our erasers and trays and start anew numerous times throughout our lives.


· The blackboard represents our minds.
· The chalk represents the beliefs, ideas and perspectives drawn on our blackboard.
· The chalk dust represents the shadows/filaments of the beliefs, ideas and perspectives.
· The tray represents our subconscious and
· The erasers represent, our synapse, moving around the accumulation of the teachings as they penetrate into our subconscious.

As our teachers: parents, friends, team members, leaders in business, politics, science and religion wrote their beliefs, ideas, fears, hopes, and values on our blackboard, we picked up those teachings as subtly as chalk dust accumulates on the tray. Each time our blackboards were written on, the chalk's teachings were subtly disseminated. The teachings were concretely written on our blackboards and became fine filaments of dust falling to our trays. Sitting in the tray were the chalk and erasers covered with chalk dust. Depending upon how often you cleaned your blackboards, days, months, or years, the chalk dust teachings built up. Many of us stopped cleaning our blackboards, using new chalk, or cleaning out the dust from our erasers which left little room for new ideas, beliefs and perspectives.

In youth, we loved colorful new chalks (ideas). They added color and wonderment to our blackboard. As the years continued, the chalk lost some of its vibrancy and became the same ol' {chalk} lines. With each teaching upon teaching, we learned the system, we learned the facts and figures and memorized what we needed to pass the tests, classes and move up through the system. As we moved through the system, our blackboard became full and we rarely found time or need to clean our boards or erasers. They became full of particles containing the world's teachings; soon they became our world. The world's teachings and thoughts often colored how we thought and became what we thought we were. At some point, maybe in pre-school, first or second grade, our erasers were full of chalk dust teachings. We began to believe that is who we are, how we feel and what we were born to do rather than be.

After years of using our compacted, dusty erasers on our blackboards, our blackboards get cloudy. We move the "soup of dust" around never really cleaning off the erasers or the blackboard. Less and less do we see the blackboard as much as we see the layers and layers of chalk dust.

"I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught."

-- Georgia O'Keefe

The intent and purpose of this 12 week blog series is to start an open conversation on:

1. How to cultivate creative and diverse thought through creative and diverse curriculum personalized to the global teacher and for each student.
2. How to experience wonder, fun, imagination, and creativity in education and then integrate and implement these experiences in education and harness the power behind these experiences.
3. How to integrate the co-creative ideas based upon humanity's collaborative participation, innovation and creativity in an experiential educational framework in the 21st century.
4. How to heighten awareness of the new jobs being created, new callings being recognized, new careers and professions being flushed out, new seeds for businesses, and innovative models of business as new thought and co-creative ideas are flushed out organically and imaginatively.
5. How to co-create environments where we are asking new questions for the 21st century and inviting new solutions to those questions for today and the future through education, integrating social networks, media, and cultures.
6. To offer supportive global curriculum, a global faculty and global campuses to help cultivate and nourish the global citizen's mind and experience.
7. Sustainable and expanded networks of funding for all humanity to participate in education, globally.
8. The integration of new technology, arts and sciences.
9. Immediate feedback to students and teachers utilizing social networks and technological hardware and software.
10. The ability to "refresh" and update information in real time in teaching and learning.
11. The ability to recognize the critical need for an accessible, personalized, timely and affordable, adaptable education for everybody who wants to participate in education.
12. The establishment of this global project where the passion runs deep, where there is a shared awareness, where there's ongoing conversation, participation and collaboration uniting humanity towards one thing; a focus on what we, as humanity, are and what we can do together. This shared outcome is what experiential education in the 21st century is.

This blog's intent is to start a conversation, a global conversation that invites all voices to explore ideas and solutions for an experiential education in this 21st century. Using some of education's familiar structures, this 12 week blog series aims, with your input, to revolutionize the current system for the 21st century. Unfolding throughout the next 12 weeks we will explore new ideas and possible solutions to help sustain individuals and the world they live in through education. With your participation, the new ideas and possible solutions that are begging to be identified and fulfilled will have a place to land and take seed.

If you are employed, and love what you do, bravo! Help us build that possibility for many others, now. If you are employed and don't love what you are doing and recognize the opportunity of finding a place for yourself in what this blog series will help unfold, join us and build that opportunity for you and many others. And for those who are not employed and are ready to help build new networks of sustainability, opportunities for strong community and communication, welcome and know you are being handed a tool belt of possibilities. Help draw up a blueprint for education and let's build the framework and its infrastructure for the sustainability of humanity in the 21st century.


In this next 12 weeks, we will be working on abandoning all fears of wrong answers and stupid questions. There are no such things. You'll soon realize you'll need to be willing to go pretty far out just to stay up with the reality that is already surrounding you.

In order to build a framework for education in the 21st century, we first need to clean off our blackboards. Like the exercise of cleaning off the blackboard described above, you need to be willing, if even only for this 12-week series, to wipe everything off your own personal blackboard. For the moments you are participating in the authoring of this innovative, 21st century educational framework, you will need to work with a clean blackboard, new chalk and clean erasers. If that thought scares you, take a "screen capture" and after you complete this series you can put everything back on your blackboard.

We've all come through the very educational system we're about to take down to its bare threads. We have memories of our childhood, teens and adulthood educational experience throughout those years. You will be asked to look at these memories and hopefully share those within the context of rewriting an education framework for the 21st century.


Short Reading and Contemplation: Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, Kathryn Schultz

"A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient."

Entering into the 21st century, we bring our own history; what we have grown up with and lived through which has helped define and shape our systems of belief. In class two, we'll begin to understand the importance of an open mind and what it is capable of. We'll read about the new frontiers of science and how we are beginning to recognize the profound power hidden within each of us. We have the grace and opportunity to look back and see that "being right" hasn't always been right. In hindsight, we can see where we have made mistakes and how it can easily unleash disaster on a global scale.

In education, the 21st century holds evolutionary possibilities to continue to make choices utilizing discernment and compassion in all of our relationships: to ourselves, nature and the world. The more clearly and openly that we can admit our errors, feel them, and move forward into new ways to imagine all possibilities, the more clearly we move into a world of openness and unity. Before we move into "being right" we can choose to move into a more open perspective of the world and imagine the impact of our choices as if all things are connected. From that practice alone, we'll experience the new human nature unfolding (more about that in the next blog) which is beginning to be recognized by science and experienced throughout this series.

Reread the statement by Kathryn Schultz several times. Give it time to ruminate. Refer back to it throughout these 12 weeks. Integrate it in your daily interactions. Paste it to your smartphone, iPad and desktops. It opens up a place where you can imagine, explore, wonder and see freely without guilt, how insanity can be maintained.


When you're traveling, there are certain road signs that are universal. These next three road signs will run throughout the 12 blogs. Each road sign will notify your arrival to a section that offers the opportunity and possibility for expanded views in each of the following topics:

2013-06-16-ICONSFORTHEJOBWATCHCLASS.jpgJob Watch In Progress -- As we write a framework for education in the 21st century, new callings and careers will become evident. This will be a part of every blog in this series. As we go through this series, we will become aware of the need for "new jobs", as new opportunities and new possibilities come up.

2013-06-16-Curriculumcrossingicon.jpgCurriculum Crossing In Progress -- As we write this framework for education in the 21st century, new, relevant, useful and necessary curriculum will begin to be recognized and will need to be written. In each blog, as we move into and through the series, your input towards new curriculum will be invaluable. This will be very meaningful to help build the infrastructure of experiential education in the 21st century.

2013-06-16-TOOLSITEMSICON.jpgItems/Tool Kit -- In each blog throughout this series, you will see new "items/tools" available to you to support this blueprint and framework to experience education in the 21st century. These new tools may look like tools you have had prior to this blog and they will expand in the ways we have previously utilized them. These items will be integrated throughout this series, and will become more valuable as they are collected throughout. They are strewn throughout the course so your involvement and completion of the series makes the items you will be collecting more valuable. Towards the end of the series, you will be able to exchange the items you have received for a variety of "stuff."


2013-06-19-EDU.lovelogo.jpgIn this series, there are three practices that will be part of the series throughout the 12 weeks. The importance of these three practices will be recognized and discussed as the series continues. One of the most important benefits all three of these practices have in common is that they are done on the honor system. You and your integrity will comprise your "buddy partnership" and will keep each of you motivated and focused.


This series will acknowledge numerous attributes of learning, including gaming, which is so popular today. The skills necessary to play these games are now being studied for their underlying relevance in every day life. Gamification is being written about and unveils some pretty amazing ideas on what is being learned while playing. If you are interested and have some experience working in the medium, contact us and let's start talking about co-creating gaming in the 21st century connecting it to the universal database.

Here is just one article among many on gaming and gamers and the "skills" they seem to be learning through gaming. If you don't know much about it or are surrounded by gamers and think they are wasting their lives, at least join with them for a moment while you watch this and enter their world.


Take time, go slow and fully answer these questions. IMPORTANT -- As you complete these questions, notice what comes up first. Is it "the answer" to each question or is it a response you have told yourself is the answer before you really allowed "the answer" to come up?


Before you can imagine what education might look like for the 21st century, you are asked to recognize and release ideas of what you are and what you know. Yes, this is the homework where there are no right or wrong answers because if you really open yourself up to this self-examination, the questions and the answers will change you. This is an adventure into your own mind, heart and belief system.

What do we know? Really?