Early March this year, my friend, Jen, a homeschooling Mom who has seen my Abot Tala journey from the start, sent me a link to Praxis, an alternative to college and university. It reminded me of Abot Tala but for an older set. Several people have suggested to us before that Abot Tala should also cater to those over 18 years old.
A latent dream bubbled to the surface triggered by a mere website link thoughtfully sent by a friend. It led to a series of actions like a domino toppling a line of other dominoes. At the back of our minds, we have thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if Abot Tala can serve kids younger than 12 and also serve those older than 18?”
I sent the Praxis link to my Abot Tala partner, Owie and we started brainstorming how we could make this happen. We already had the same person in mind to head the program. We contacted her and got the ball rolling.
Google led us to the Alternative University in Romania which was started in 2008 by five students from a polytechnic in Bucharest who were “who were frustrated with the education system and wanted a new kind of university designed around freedom.”
“Unlike traditional universities, students can choose and propose what and how they learn. At The Alternative University, students elect modules to study along a four-stage development route: Self-knowledge, Active exploration, Projects, and Transition.”
“In addition to the skills developed, students also participate in the brilliant Rent-a-Team initiative. The university partners with organizations to bridge the gap between companies with a skills or resources gap and students who want hands-on project work experience. Students are also encouraged to start businesses and NGOs as part of their studies — at present 21 have been launched by Alternative students. . . . Another graduate has set up Learnity, the first organization that will apply The Alternative University’s educational model to high schools.” — Lisa Gill
“I’ve long believed that if we are going to reinvent work, we need to reinvent education too. Education should be about lighting fires, not filling buckets and the more autonomy and authority we give to young people, the better equipped they’ll be for a fast-paced, rapidly changing business landscape.” — Lisa Gill
“Real success means that students are inventing their own problems, questions and projects using the mathematics that they’ve learned. They’re actively discovering…. Learning should be intrinsically rewarding. I’ve never been of the opinion that academia exists to prepare people to be workers: It exists to prepare people to flourish as humans.” — Jim Fowler
Models exist around the world. We just have to look for them. We took cues and inspiration from quotes and from people who have done this while Mich designed the program. Daily, weekly, we buckled down to bring the concept to reality. We set the target as mid-August and thanks to an amazing team, the target was met.
Launchpad now has 15 students and this is another start of something exciting, new, and innovative.
This is the Launchpad program:
Most recently, after the Launchpad program had started, we were led by a Liberated Learner colleague, Cassidy Younghans to the Wayfinding Academy. Owie, Mich and I ended up zooming with the founder, Michelle Jones. It was so refreshing and rejuvenating talking with someone who’s doing something like we are on the other side of the world.
“At Wayfinding Academy you won’t find cookie-cutter tracks, just a one-of-a-kind educational experience designed to help you find your way, stretch your mind and grow your skills so you can live life on purpose.”
Resources and Inspiration: