The power of learning is the power to make our world better. Children who have been given that power grow up to change our world. Sadly, many children grow up without knowing they have the power to change their circumstances. For these unlucky children, school was out of reach, or non-existent. EduCrate, a portable classroom that can be delivered anywhere in the world where there is a crisis in school buildings, grows out of The SchoolWorks Lab’s mission of supporting greater learning for all students:
Our mission: SchoolWorks Lab, Inc. helps to bridge the gaps between parents, teachers, researchers, administrators, and policymakers by conducting and distributing research filled with common understandings, clear findings, and coherent Policy, resulting in greater learning for all students.
Our research work in urban instructional environments, arts-integrated classrooms, and the different styles of assessment resulted in helping our partners create more powerful learning environments. It also turned up thousands of school sites that have been destroyed by natural or man-made disasters, a problem we had not predicted we would have to address. One of our responses is providing a portable classroom that delivers the power of learning to children who have lost all hope of learning.
“I think all children are incredible learners,” says Rob Southworth, inventor of the portable classroom called EduCrate. “I have dedicated my life’s work to helping create circumstances where children can learn. When we create or restore learning environments that support success for every student, we are harnessing the power of learning to improve our world. EduCrate is one way that we can help make this possible for every child, in any circumstance. We must give them the power to learn and the power to make our world a better place.” (February 13, 2007).
Jesús is a third grade student in Bronx, NY. Jesús is quiet, lives with 10 brothers and sisters in two rooms and does not do well on his first standardized tests in an American elementary school. His school teacher vies for his attention and over the course of a year convinces him that he is smart. This teacher’s assessment launches Jesús on an upward trajectory of learning by alerting his mind to its own naturally developing powers. These powers are a quantum leap above the rote-memorizing and mind-numbing low-level of standardized, pre-packaged and teacher-proof curriculum he has encountered.
And why can’t we do this for every Jesús? He has literally and figuratively crawled up Bloom’s Taxonomy from some recall of facts to knowledge of ideas, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. He has learned that his power to learn is actually versatile, adaptable and flexible. He has learned that through another human’s assessment of, and praise for what he can do he has made leaps and bounds in learning.” (December 15, 2006).
Jesús is now fifteen and has spent some part of the last five summers with my wife and our three children. My wife was his third grade teacher. Now when I speak to him while painting our barn, his head comes up, his eyes focus on me with genuine inquiry, and he talks like someone who has joined the upward path of an educated person who has found the power of learning.