Tag rethinked

#RethinkHighSchool with XQ: The Super School Project

This month, the rethinkED team is getting excited about XQ: The Super School Project, Launched by Laurene Powell Jobs, this design challenge invites teams to reimagine the next American High School. Winners will receive support and $50 million to make their idea into a reality.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 2.50.26 PM

Source: http://xqsuperschool.org/challenge

According to the XQ institute, XQ is the agile and flexible intelligence that prepares students for a more connected world, a rapidly changing future, and a lifetime of learning. It is a combination of IQ (cognitive capabilities) and EQ (emotional intelligence or how we learn in the world).

Soliciting “What If..”s from the world, the XQ project is a design thinking challenge operating on a massive scale. The challenge is broken into 4 phases: 1) Assemble a team, 2) Discover the landscape of education, 3) Design a super school for the community, and 4) Develop a formidable plan.

RethinkED is going to team up with other innovative and talented individuals for an intense day of dreaming and designing next week. As you’ve seen, we have a lot of ideas surround character education, interdisciplinary pedagogies, and community-focused learning, and we are excited to merge these into a coherent plan of action to #RethinkHighSchool.

P.S. The rethinkED team has recently grown! We have two new members, and we are super excited for you to meet them.


Harper’s Playground: Rethinking the Typical Playground to Create A More Inclusive World …*

“A quality play area is more than just a collection of play equipment. It is a place for play and learning – a place where children develop essential physical, social and cognitive skills, where different generations share common experiences, and where community members gather and build relationships.”The Inclusive City, Susan Goltsman & Daniel Iacofano – MIG

Haper’s Playground, located in Portland, Oregon, is an inclusive playground which allows children of all abilities to play together. Harper’s Playground was founded by April and Cody Goldberg whose daughter Harper uses a wheelchair to get around and could not enjoy their local playground. The Goldbergs were also frustrated with the alternative option of “adaptive” playgrounds which they view as:

expensive solutions to the wrong problem.  The problem isn’t about access to a structure, it’s about allowing and encouraging children of all abilities to play together.

They decided to design their own solution to the unmet needs of their daughter. The result is Harper’s Playground, which is an inclusive, fun and social place where children of all abilities and their families can come together to play, learn and explore. This is a splendid project, which aims to create a paradigm shift in how we think of and design the typical playground. Every community should have such a thoughtfully designed and delightful play space and luckily for us, the Goldbergs have a How To tab on the Harper’s Playground website with a form you can send them to receive feedback and advice on how to start an inclusive playground in you own community.

more play for more people …

Harper’s Playground: “More Play for Everyone” from Cody Goldberg on Vimeo.

Hat Tip: A Lot of Playgrounds Can’t Accommodate Children With Disabilities. A TEDx Speaker is Changing That. via TED, published August 6, 2014. 

Mitch Resnick, Head of MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group, on Coding To Learn…*

Mitch Resnick, head of  the  Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT’s Media Lab, rethinks and expands the notion of ‘fluency’ in today’s digital landscape. Resnick observes that while young people are very comfortable ‘reading’ new technologies, very few of them have the ability to ‘write’ in new technologies. Resnick makes the claim that computer programming, far from being only useful to those who intend to become computer scientists or programmers, is beneficial to everyone, from young children learning to code using MIT’s Scratch–a programming language that is easy (and enjoyable!) to learn–to Resnick’s own 83 year old mother. Resnick makes a powerful analogy between learning to read which allows one to read to learn and learning to code, which, according to Resnick, allows one to then code to learn: “we become fluent in reading and writing. It’s not something that you’re doing just to become a professional writer, very few people will become professional writers, but it’s useful for everybody to learn how to read and write. Same thing with coding: most people won’t grow up to become professional computer scientists or programmers but those skills of thinking creatively, reasoning systematically, working collaboratively–skills you develop when you code in Scratch–are things that people can use no matter what they’re doing in their work lives. ”

 Enjoy & rethink…*

Reading, Writing, And Programming: Mitch Resnick At TEDXBeaconStreet

(TEDXTalks via YouTube, published January 17, 2013)


 Kids should learn programming as well as reading and writing {Boing Boing}


Hacking Onion Slicing with Post-Its, Sunglasses & a Little Design Thinking



I decided to make myself a lentil and chard ragout for lunch today (no judgment please, my hibernation season is in full swing). Within about 30 seconds of cutting the red onion that the recipe called for, my eyes were burning and tearing up. I grabbed a pair of sunglasses and resumed my chopping but, sadly, the sunglasses were no help. Within another 5 seconds my eyes were shut tight, tears pouring from them as I continued chopping with my eyes closed. Thankfully, it did not take too long for me to realize that this was a recipe for disaster, so I stepped away from my onion and dug into the three months of implementing design thinking into my everyday to see how I might resolve this challenge.


It quickly became apparent that what I really needed were goggles, which I did not have. The onion fumes were pouring into my eyes from below and although I tried holding my face completely parallel to the cutting board, I had no way of keeping the stinging out. I decided to rethink my sunglasses by adding a Post-It note, cut in half and folded widthwise, to each of the lenses. I placed the sticky part of the Post-it on the inside of the sunglasses and voila…* I looked ridiculous with my inverted parasol-like eye gear (dare I say, armor), but it worked and I managed to stop crying and got the upper hand on that onion without losing a finger.



Lentil & Chard Ragout Recipe from Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution by Kris Carr and Chef Chad Sarno



1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely diced shallots or red onions
6 roasted garlic cloves or 3 raw cloves, minced
1 ½ cups beluga lentils
½ cup cooking sherry wine or marsala wine
3 cups vegetable stock, low sodium if available
4 cups well-cleaned and coarsely chopped chard
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 ½ tablespoons of nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tablespoons lemon zest
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons minced thyme
½ tablespoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons butter

In a large saucepan on medium heat, add the oil, shallot, and garlic. Cook until shallots and garlic are translucent and golden.

Add lentils and sherry to deglaze the pan.

Add the vegetable stock and cover. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are fork tender.

Add chard, peas, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, parsley, thyme, and salt, and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes on low heat

Finish with cracked pepper and 2 tablespoons of butter. Fold the mixture well to melt the butter, and serve.

Know of any good tricks for chopping onions without turning into an instant blubbering raccoon-like creature? Let me know.

Migration Routes: Rethinked’s Editorial Calendar

“I have a compulsion to wander and a compulsion to return—a homing instinct like a migrating bird. True nomads have no fixed home as such; they compensate for this by following unalterable paths of migration.” –Bruce Chatwin, The Nomadic Alternative

{k}no{w}mad is a concept at the core of our identity. We have no offices or contained spaces; we seek to inhabit the moment, finding shelter in ideas, other people and the wonder all around us. As true nomads, our paths of migration, wherever they may take us, always lead us through similar terrains: design, learning, aesthetics, ethics and creativity to name a few. This is why we have established several recurring editorial columns: to highlight new discoveries along our ongoing journeys through various, continually evolving but unalterable obsessions.

…* Daily  (Every day)

Daily rethinking inspiration: Quotes, images, videos or articles that inspired us to question assumptions and experience the ordinary in a slightly different way.

Friday Link Fest (Every Friday)

Your weekly dose of whimsy, inspiration and rethinking material: we bring you the most Rethinked…* worthy articles, talks, videos and images that we shared across our social media platforms during the week.

Rethinked*annex (Every Thursday)

Updates on Elsa Fridman’s adventures and discoveries as she attempts to live out and integrate ideas from design thinking, positive psychology & integrative thinking into her every day.

RethinkED: (Once a week)

Updates on Rethinked’s…* work with the Riverdale Country School.

Teachers & Design: (Every other Wednesday)

Carmen James examines various ways in which to develop creative confidence and accountability through discovery.

Rethinking the 17th century salon

How might we rethink the idea of the 17th century salon to fit the lifestyles and technologies of our contemporaries?

From the Agora to the Salon to the rethinkedLab

Since ancient times people have gathered together physically to discuss, share and collectively analyze and rethink ideas. This concept of a collective space in which to gather and deeply examine, and reimagine the human condition has been poignantly absent from our own experience of modern urban life. We live in a world saturated by data. We have unprecedented access to all sorts of information through myriad media: Internet, books, movies, television, radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, text messages, phone calls etc. Yet as our ability to acquire and share data has expanded, it appears we have increasingly lost the spaces and time to collectively reflect on what all this information means and how it applies to our lives.

Where are the Agoras and salons of today? Where can we go to surround ourselves with other people who are aware of their need to discover, imagine, create and experience a meaningful life; a human centered life that provides value and a sense of inherent and authentic purpose and drive. How might we re-imagine those ancient spaces to fit the needs and lifestyles of our contemporaries? How might we structure that space so that it infuses all of its occupants with the inclinations of a particular shared mindset based on seeking wonder and connections between ideas; a mindset that respects and celebrates the human condition and aims to design behaviors and concepts that optimize it.

This is where rethinkedLab comes in. It is an experiment in rethinking and designing that space and special sense of time to optimize it to our contemporary lifestyles.

We are particularly drawn to the concept of the 17th century salon as a source of inspiration for our re-design of that collective space. We want to rethink and reimagine the salon, trim it of all its history of Marxist, feminist, cultural and other –ist studies that have been used to define its meaning and critique its aims, structures and politics. We want to take the salon back to its fundamentals and reimagine it from there.

What is the concept of the salon in its most minimalist form? It is a special place in time and space, which imbues a sense of wonder, and influences and fosters in its occupants an openness to the world of ideas, to others and to themselves. It induces a sort of ‘existential trance’ where participants can shed their daily worries, take a step back from the immediacy of their daily reality to reflect and observe what and how their lives are and how they might be.

The main participants in a salon are its guests and its host. The host is responsible for ensuring the quality, depth, and diversity of the conversation and the guests are responsible for bringing fresh and unique perspectives to various themes and ideas pertaining to culture and existence. While the host contributes her own ideas and perspective to the conversation, her true art lays in curating both her guests and the topics of conversation. The host is a master curator–the more imaginative, deep and unexpected the ideas and people she brings together, the better her salon.

We believe that curation is its own act of creation and we reject the opposing interpretation that it is the mere sharing and propagating of others’ ideas. We find the notion sophomoric and believe it is a result of a confusion between the relationship of originality and authenticity. Not all creations need to start by being original to be authentic. Assembling diverse ideas dispersed across all fields of thoughts and interpreted from a wide range of perspectives can lead to the emergence of truly imaginative, original, fruitful and useful new concepts and questions.

So how do we take the basic elements of a salon and reimagine them to better suit our contemporary lifestyles, technologies and other constraints on our time and attention?

We decided to start as simply as possible, with a blog. We think of it as a public and collective space, to which we invite people of all backgrounds, across disciplines and continents to read, write, share and participate. Like the salonnière of the 17th century, we aim to promote an authentic exchange of ideas across disciplines, hierarchies, systems, structures, cultures, geographies and theories. We aim to create a special space that imbues our visitors with a sense of wonder and a renewed and fostered appreciation, respect and awareness of the human condition and all the potential that it holds. Our blog is a palimpsest in which to record fragments of existence as it is and as it might be. It is a collage of ideas from books, movies, dreams, hopes, memories, discoveries, quotes, images, interviews, questions, doubts and obsessions. It is an attempt to record the potential and occurrences of compassion, authenticity, well-being, beauty, glory, design and humanity embedded in our every day.

The advantage of the blog as a virtual space—being able to access it from anywhere and at any time—can also become its weakness. Perhaps in the future we can try to make the blog analog and host physical public salons, but for now, the immediacy of our conversation is limited by the fact that we have to wait for people to join in to the conversation at different times. This constraint, like most, is actually a possibility, one for us to take a moment, breathe, reflect and have the time to really engage and analyze our ideas at our own pace before responding to other people’s ideas and perspectives.

We hope you will join in the conversation, help us collect and reflect on our shared experiences and re-envision, design and imagine what tomorrow may be like. At the very least we hope you leave our blog with a smile on your face and a renewed sense of wonder and possibility.

If you see anything that you think should be featured on rethinkedLab…* please email Elsa – elsa@rethinked.org No spam please.

%d bloggers like this: