Eureka! Factory and the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation have partnered with Real L.I.F.E. Agile Learning Center (where Learning Is Found Everywhere!) in the development of the Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center, and we’re happy to have them join us at ROBOTICON this year. We asked them to tell us more about their work and mission.
The prevailing system of education was designed for the industrial revolution and modeled after a factory line. Children enter in groups, separated by age, and are taught discrete subjects in a linear fashion, regardless of their interests, aptitudes, or readiness. The curriculum is antiquated. Rote memorization constitutes the vast majority of learning. The work is mainly individual rather than collaborative. Learning styles are not considered. Body movement and connection to the natural world are almost totally disregarded. Social interactions are kept to a minimum. Blind acceptance of authority and a rigid, bell-enforced schedule are required to control large numbers of students.
FIRST K-12 project-based STEM learning is a vital supplement to the learning that occurs in the existing school system. Teams work together on projects that excite and engage them while building core skills. They participate out of their own interest and desire to learn. Children learn much more from this interactive, self-directed learning than they do from the standard math and science curriculum.
As exciting as this is, the potential for daily freedom to create, explore and learn is still limited in most schools. After school programs are a beginning, but alternatives to traditional education are desperately needed. Many children are marginalized because their brains develop skills at different times. Their creativity and imaginations are suppressed. Their bodies and minds suffer from spending up to 7 hours a day inside, sitting still. Their social interactions are limited to same-age peers, leading to unhealthy competition and comparison. Children don’t have the opportunity to discover their passions or how they learn best.
Inspired by a deep desire to offer their children the best possible education, and aware of the serious deficiencies of the traditional educational model, a group of visionary families in Tampa, FL decided to create Real L.I.F.E. Agile Learning Center (ALC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit (where Learning Is Found Everywhere). Agile Learning Centers incorporate the agile tools used in cutting-edge software development companies to facilitate collaboration, create culture, and expedite workflow. Agile Learning Centers put students in charge of their education, opening up learning to all resources, sensory modalities, and forms of literacy. ALC students create the value of their education directly via cycles of intention-setting, creation, reflection and sharing.
The ALC concept was first actualized in New York City approximately 5 years ago. Since inception, the model has been refined and articulated in a replicable format which has supported numerous Agile Learning Centers to be formed around the world. Agile, self-directed education is a viable schooling option in every community on the planet. These micro-schools are more powerful, manageable, and cost-efficient than traditional schooling. These age-mixed, small communities of students, once given the technology to hack culture, create generative social dynamics, discover and follow their interests and effect positive change, are best equipped to create their own personal happiness. Success in life does not come from following rules obediently, memorizing testing material, and managing homework loads. Truly successful people are curious, engaged, lifelong learners who are self-aware, socially adept, responsible, creative, productive, playful, self-expressed and empowered! True success by these standards is the goal of Agile Learning Centers.
Real L.I.F.E. ALC is accepting applications for students ages 6-18 who are ready to explore their own interests, rather than only studying the subjects required for standardized tests. At Real L.I.F.E. ALC, students do not follow a curriculum. They are given the freedom to discover who they are, what they want to learn, when they are ready to learn it, and how they learn best. Rambunctious kids can go outside and run around, learning about their bodies and gaining social skills. Creative kids can make movies, sing, sew, paint, build a fort, or make a robot. Kids who love maps and geography can spend time learning about the world. Budding bakers can bake. The possibilities are limitless! The world has so much to experience! Join us in joyful exploration!
Come talk with us at our booth at ROBOTICON, or check out our website: reallifealc.agilelearningcenters.org
Join us and Be Inspired!