Our approach is to sense together the future that is emerging in and through each of us using a variety of methods, many of which are described in the Theory U model. By describing and understanding the current systems of education from a multiplicity of perspectives, most especially including the view from the periphery where marginalized voices often reside, we have see opportunities for transformation to begin. Through community discussions, interviews, and collaboration, we are developing and running prototypes at multiple levels — national, state, district, school, educator, and student — to innovate, scale impact, and advocate for change. 

What is a prototype?

Out of the u.lab 2x course and our evolving learning, several prototypes have emerged between our two locations. What’s a prototype? Prototypes are ways we can “learn by doing” how to move our vision forward, how our individual paths intersect with the needs of the community in this particular time and place. For example, our first prototype was a 60-min workshop at the Maine Youth Action Network’s virtual spring conference. We learned that 60-min is not enough! So we designed a four-week, 16-hour intensive called Theory U for Youth, which begins October 1. Out of this we hope to learn more about the needs of youth in our community by offering a micro learning environment that tests our pedagogical ideas and values in real time, and we hope that the youth engaged in the course will bring their experiences and learnings back to their families, schools, and communities to grow the impact.