Monday, 29 February 2016

Blue Sky High - What If YOU Designed a High School?

Walt Disney encouraged people to think big. And then he encouraged them to think bigger. He asked them about their blue sky dreams. Look up at the sky. You can't see the end of it. That's how you should dream. There is no limit to how high or how big you can dream.

Right now, I'm blue sky thinking about high school.

My blue sky dream is to open a grade 4-12 inclusive, immersive, experiential school that caters to all types of learners and empowers them to be confident life long learners who can solve real world problems.
I am researching the current structures and systems of public and private high schools around the world to learn more about how users (students) feel about their experiences there.
I would love to learn about your high school experiences, what worked and what didn't work for you as a teenage learner.

I would also love to pick your brain about what we could achieve in high school. Imagine that the existing systems and structures were wiped clean and you could learn in a way that works for you. What could high school look like, feel like and empower our students to do?

What if formal schooling could be more about preparing learners for their lives than preparing them for more formal schooling (and all that entails, like standardized expectations, a focus on memorization of content and high-stakes testing)? Imagine the possibilities!

One way that I am gathering user input is through a survey. I am also conducting one-on-one interviews, starting an online discussion group (on Voxer) and planning dream-building workshops. If you want to share your experience and ideas, or learn along with me, let me know!

Your input will be helpful for my personal research, writing, educational consulting work and eventual my own eventual Blue Sky High creation.

To start off, I am collecting your thoughts in a quick (5-10 minute) survey. Please fill out the embedded survey (also linked here)

This post includes (creative commons licensed) images that inspire me in my blue sky dreaming about schooling. These were included in a document I shared with artist Jeannette Langmead, in the creation of her masterpiece that is the cover of my book.


  1. Shauna, this is a great initiative. I thought to share this link about the MIT Dean who is on leave to start a new education facility without lectures or classrooms -

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Luc! I haven't seen it yet but am really looking forward to reading about this exciting new way of thinking and teaching - in university, no less!

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