Updated: Dec 30, 2021
By WEquil School's Leadership Team ... Thank you to our families for their guidance.
WEquil.School is more than a school ... it is a community of people from around the world and many stages of life that believe in the power of our Principles of Learning. We include families with kids of all ages, college kids and young adults, and professionals with older children or no children at all. We are the village that prepares our children for our new digital, personalized, global economy ... and we do it through project based learning.
Table of Contents:
Why Project Based Learning?
What is a Creative Project?
How to come up with ideas?
WEquil Project Resources
1. Why Project Based Learning?
Project based learning (PBL) is how we implement our Five Principles of Learning:
Teach to problems not tools
No grades, iterate and improve
Share and learn with others
Build on strengths, interests and passions
Teaching is a great way to learn
Our research backing these principles is available here and in a constant state of iterative improvement. Creative projects provides the best starting place for implementing these principles because...
Teach to problems not tools - Projects always involving using as opposed to learning about tools. Learning to use tools comes naturally as a part of each project. As a result, the use of tools is always relevant to the student leading to faster learning and retention.
No grades, iterate and improve - Projects can always be improved upon unlike a graded assignments and tests that do not reflect work in the world. Real value is created through a process of iterative improvement without limits on success.
Share and learn with others - Projects provide students with an opportunity to create something of value to other people and connect around shared interests. This is critical because everything of significant value today requires socialization and collaboration.
Build on strengths, interests and passions - Projects allow students flexibility to learn about who they are and build their specific knowledge. By following the path of specific knowledge they become uniquely powerful and thus irreplaceable.
Teaching is a great way to learn - Creative projects are both novel and useful. This provides students an opportunity to teach others...expediting their confidence and freeing them to become curious about themselves and the world.
WEquil.School focuses on Creative Projects because they provide the most powerful opportunities for student success.
2. What is a Creative Project?
Everything in our curriculum is ultimately published as a “Creative Project”. By “Creative” we mean that the project has two qualities. The first is that it must be something novel or unique. The second is that the project must add value to other people. The result of every project is something that is new and helpful.
One good rule of thumb for determining if a Project is Creative is to ask...
"Do I want my kids to read this project?"
Here are some topics that did and did not make the cut for "Creative Project".
Minecraft vs Fortnight - Ben's framework for comparing the value of video games.
Lessons from Fiction - Lists of practical lessons Sumay has taken from fictional books.
All About New Zealand - Entertaining video about New Zealand by Aila.
Not Creative ...
Minecraft Strategy Guide - A manual on how to better play a video game.
Wings of Fire book summary - A summary of a fantasy novel.
New Zealand summary - A Wikipedia type article about New Zealand.
WEquil.School determined that strategy guides for video games are not creative for two reasons. There are so many that it would be difficult to argue the project was novel. Video games are also so addictive and entertaining already that it would be hard to argue that such a project added value to other people. A similar determination was made for summaries of fictional books. Summaries of factual information is perhaps useful, but not particularly creative.
While our students are sometimes disappointed to learn that one of their projects is not eligible for publication...nearly all find creative solutions. For example, Aila's video on New Zealand is very creative and has received a lot of praise from fellow students and parents for making them more curious about geography!
3. How to come up with ideas?
WEquil.School uses a Creative Learning Process to help our students come up with great project ideas. Student mentors, parents, and other community members are welcome to help. The process is simple enough ... requiring just three questions...
What are your interests?
How could you use this interest to help people?
Asking about interests is a great way to build relationships because you are putting the focus on them. You are building their confidence while helping people explore and accept themselves. There are so many questions you can ask...
What interests you?
What are your strengths?
What do you do for fun?
What do you like to talk to your friends about?
Who are your personal heroes?
What's your favorite memory?
What are some of your favorite accomplishments?
Have you ever thought about starting a business?
If you could buy anything what would it be?
If you could make anything what would you make?
If you could go anywhere where would you go?
If you could meet anyone who would you meet?
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
What qualities do you look for in a friend?
What qualities do you hope your friends see in you?
What's one thing you love about yourself?
What is your favorite part of the day?
What is one subject you wish you knew more about?
When was a time you laughed really hard?
When was a time that you were so happy that nothing else mattered?
"Why?" is the greatest questions ever because it is so simple and yet opens the mind to dig deeper. You want to help people learn about themselves ... and asking them why they think certain things are interesting gives them more opportunity to search for meaning.
The final step is often the hardest because we may not always know how our interests can be helpful to others. However, connecting our strengths and interests with adding value to others is the only way we will ever find equilibrium (our Mission). It's the process of seeking out how our unique selves can be useful that provides the north star to success.
Here is a video Aila made about it back before we changed our name to WEquil.School.
4. WEquil Project Resources
WEquil.School is building the world's first global project based learning platform. We already have many Virtual Classrooms to assist our members on www.WEquil.School. In the near future we hope to have a largely automated WebApp with hundreds of these classrooms on WEquil.App.
We also have a growing global community of followers, families, fellows and collaborators who are able to leverage our Synthesized Learning Process. We are always sharing new Creative Projects, resources, and guidance to help our community.
Helping kids discover themselves and how to become helpful members of society is not just what we are all about here at WEquil.School ... it's also a path to finding happiness and meaning. By asking kids “how do you want to share with others?” they realize that they have a voice and want to use it. If that's something you want in your life then consider joining our community...no matter you age, religion, marital status, occupation, country of origin or anything else for that matter.
Here are some articles we have written to help adults and kids become better mentors to our students.
How to Listen Better - https://www.wequil.com/post/how-to-listen-better
Deep Relationships - https://www.wequil.com/post/deep-relationships-with-jordan-peterson
Winning Friends - https://www.wequil.com/post/winning-friends-with-dale-carnegie
Art of Negotiation - https://www.makeshifthomeschool.com/post/the-art-of-negotiation
Make yourself powerful - https://www.makeshifthomeschool.com/post/make-yourself-powerful
Be a force for good - https://www.makeshifthomeschool.com/post/be-a-force-for-good
Build better relationships - https://www.makeshifthomeschool.com/post/build-better-relationships
Regrets of the Dying - https://www.wequil.com/post/regrets-of-the-dying
The Hamburger Model - https://www.wequil.com/post/the-hamburger-model
Power Pose - https://www.wequil.com/post/power-pose
Thank you for supporting WEquil.School. Suggestions for improving this guide are appreciated.
WEquil School Leadership Team