[Wk 6 - Activity] Give P's a Chance


We hope that the ideas we explored together in LCL can help everyone see learning in new ways, and provide a useful framework to approach learning - and other aspects of your life!

That’s why in this last activity of the LCL journey we invite you to share:

How might you use (or have you used) the four P’s in your practice?

Some possibilities to consider if you need help getting started:

  • Choose a concrete learning experience that you participated (as a learner, or as a facilitator, or both!) and look at it through the lens of the 4 P’s. What were people making? What motivated them? What was the role of peers? In which ways were they playing and experimenting? What would you change / rethink / remix, and why?
  • Pick an activity from your life: how might you approach that activity differently with the 4 P’s in mind? What specifically would you change, or do differently?

As @mres sometimes says, remixing John Lennon: “All we are saying, it’s give P’s a chance!” :peace_symbol:

This post is also available in Italiano, Español, 日本語, Português

Week 6 in the LCL Community!


Sharing a sketch of a prospectus put together over the course of LCL. As part of this farewell to Round 3, I want to thank the LCL community and LK facilitators who make LCL such a wonderful locus for sharing. Thank you!

Like most of my curricula notes, there’s specificity at the beginning and then things get very generalized. I expect a course will become student-directed, and who knows what that will mean. In my practice I don’t look at course plans after day 1 begins.

Appropriate to the theme of our Four P’s, many or perhaps all of the ideas presented here are playfully remixed from peers in the LCL community. The idea for a gondola lift is one I’ve nursed since @lightnin graciously hosted me at the LEGO Idea Studio ~ 2 yrs ago. At LEGO, they were working on how to negotiate turns in their sky parade, a challenge elegantly solved with this 3d printed device. The round 3 conversation on tech criticism hosted by @Xanthe_Matychak led me to connect this to Plato’s cave, and the cave allegory found connections to sun and light play in @Paola_Caneppele’s and @Lily 's tinkering projects. @gemma 's Wk 5 play with Muppets appears in the prospectus too.

I would deeply appreciate critical feedback on the prospectus, and from a variety of perspectives :smiley:, e.g., how might this be perceived or received by parents, school administrators, or co-teachers?

Apologies for typos and errors. It’s a first draft. I’m publishing this on my wordpress and may edit and update the prospectus there (direct link to PDF).

Once again, thank you so much to everyone at LCL!

EDIT. The first draft of this prospectus was unclear about the following: this curriculum assumes a specialist works with students once per week. The first slide of the curriculum has been updated to reflect this assumption.

Week 6 in the LCL Community!

Nice synthesis, @dalsdorf. Geez.

If you can say more about what parents, admins, and co-teachers would have to give up in order to say YES to your proposal, then I’d be in a better position to give some feedback wearing those hats. I am assuming that each of those stakeholders has to give up different things.


That’s very interesting, that you would assume this. I’m not disagreeing that this might be true. Say more pls?

From a teacher and admin perspective I’d ask:

are these provocations suitable for all ages?

what concerns will parents voice? (e.g., will kids learn Python?)

what details need to be sorted inevitably or eventually?

Parents’ solicitude for their children is powerful to witness. On that perspective I’m speechless.


My questions come from my xp as a startup mentor. A startup needs to figure out why each stakeholder will say ‘no’ so they can meet them where they are at with their pitch. Make sense?


Dear @dalsdorf
your picture gnoti sauton (know thyself) in the memento mori touched an important point: ethic.
This sentence is related to Promoteus myth ( from Eschylus), the myth should be told every first lesson involving technology education, the myths are archetypes.
Prometeus is a progressive, thinker in advance (opposite to Epimeteo), he stole fire from gods to give to humans.

In that point Techne starts.

The myth is referring how men would reach godness and their power and how it is important knowing own role and limits.

Science and Technology can really do anything?


I am thankful for the 4Ps as a model for creative learning. I believe that everyone should build models of creativity and learning and the 4Ps is an example of a working model.

Though, I implore you to develop your own models of creativity, learning, design, process, r&d, etc. With words that are most meaningful to you. Most recently, I worked out some of the words I use to model my creative learning/ r&d process. I have a very technical process and was inspired by the 4Ps to simplify it.

Haha, and the style of alliteration! I use that syncopation a lot now.


@Bice_Rapaccini, I couldn’t agree more!
@Xanthe_Matychak, this makes perfect sense, thank you! I imagine in most contexts a prospectus will need to be tied to standards, a process I find tedious and a bit sad, as standards seems so low. What kind of process do you go through when proposing courses at the college level?


At the college level, parents aren’t in the equation. So I only have to deal with faculty and admins. I’m in a rare position in that I’m an adjunct that teaches an original course. (This is normally something only tenured faculty get to do, at least at the 2 colleges I’ve worked at).

Anyways, in my case I’ve had to find other futurists and align with them. Write proposals that include buzz words put forth by the administration in their vision statements (see? I’m going to help you walk the talk). I also have to state how what I’m proposing is unique and needed (filling a gap). And writ e out what the positive impacts will be and propose how the course might scale or at least sustain itself. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to generate press once its launched (students doing innovation!). And others I’ve known have found outside funding, that always helps.

I don’t know a lot about the k-12 standards game. That said, it seems that a lot of schools/teachers are hustling to make content for NGSS which, in my view, aims to bridge the gap btwn science (understanding problems) and engineering (generating solutions) and it’s very possible that your course fits this bill.

Have you considered writing an opening one pager for your proposal that answers questions like WHY this course? WHY is it needed? WHY now? HOW might it scale?

Also, do you want to include a simple, high level budget?

Is all this business lingo creeping you out? lol


I’ve encountered this in convos with my college about their newer making spaces. Pitching the concept to someone who doesn’t know the pedagogy but who dishes out the capital.

This year I’m gratefully in a setting where we pitch electives directly to our students :woman_cartwheeling::smiley_cat:, and where I’ll introduce different bits of the prospectus to different classes based on the kids’ interests. In Boston Public Schools I wrote (robotics) curricula, tied it to standards, presented it to teachers. By the time classes began I had to remind myself what I actually wanted to teach. I’m not anti business - and from a marxist perspective, everything is a product - but if a budget wags the dog, and the dog is ill conceived standards, that’s a poor recipe.


Stating the obvious here: Standards kill creativity. Yet they are a reality that a lot of folks have to navigate. Gah!



How might you use the four P’s in your practice?



LCL team and cohort: I’m grateful for the 6 weeks we’ve spent together in high-level discussions with like-minded PASSIONATE PEERS. This time has been rewarding in at least 2 ways:

  1. It helped me with my day-to-day TEACHING - I had a community to share the good and bad stuff with and get quality feedback
  2. It sparked creative ideas for PROJECTS - for teaching and for my own work as an artist

And hopefully some of the feedback I gave helped people realize their own insights

Through the course I’ve realized that I want and need to place mindfulness of myself and others as a guiding light for my teaching and art work. I am enthusiastic about using the 4Ps to help structure this work. Without the 4Ps, this mindfulness theme might come off as hippy dippy. But with the help of MIT verified pedagogy, the mindfulness theme is strengthened.

Mindfulness connections to The 4Ps:

  • PASSION speaks to mindfulness of self - to know what drives me
  • PEERS speaks to mindfulness of others - to collaborate with empathy and inclusion
  • PROJECTS is what we do together and create for each other
  • PLAY is the spirit we embrace. Play isn’t always light. It includes “hard fun"

I don’t yet know how literally I will tie mindfulness into new assignments for my students. I have a while to think about that. But for my own work, I’m going to explore making an object for each of the 21 mindfulness themes from Rick Hansen’s book, Hardwiring Happiness. WHY? Because the act of doing this will help me internalize the 21 themes in a way that I haven’t been able to through meditation alone.

How will I use the 4Ps to navigate my ‘mindful objects’ project?

PASSION - my passion for this project stems from a personal need that also has the capacity to help society. Technology left unchecked alienates us. But tech infused with meaning and purpose has the power to connect us.

PEERS - I will connect with peers for feedback along the way. Perhaps collaborate on some objects. And keep peers top of mind when designing mindful objects, they are a gift

PROJECTS - I can see how 21 objects could be expanded into many projects. There can be very literal versions of each of the 21 themes. for example, a bracelet that has “accomplishment and agency” stamped into it. Beyond literal interpretations, I could realize each theme through a symbol, or an abstract form, or an interactive electronic piece.

PLAY - See “projects.” That exploration will require play which includes hard fun. For example, today, I’m exploring two types of objects: 1 is a metal and leather bracelet and I need to figure out how these materials will hold together with tension along. The 2nd exploration is a an electronic do-dad with a tilt sensor. I’m going to breadboard that but also try to hack a little light that I took apart.

Week 6 in the LCL Community!

I have a double reflection based on what we have done so far in our activities at LCL. The first one is that throughout the activities, readings, discussion forums, unhangouts we as a community have focused on the stance of tinkering as one of the main tenants of what creative thinkers do. As part of a team that coordinates and implements projects, the way that “projects” are developed and executed seem stifling and heavy in front loading. As such when there is a deviation from the original plan it is not only simply out of the norm but it usually causes deep stress to people that are executing said projects. I describe all of this because I have already started infusing some of the “tinkering” spirit around how projects get executed in our space. Rather that focusing on the frustration on processes or people not going the way we planned I have started to use some of the ideas to offer the spirit of tinkering when things do not go as planned with our project. Tentatively when I talked in this manner to my co-workers/project manager/project specialist the immediate threat or discomfort one feels when things are going unexpectedly have turned out in a more positive tone. The idea of thinking about a project that is not fool proof has allowed people to feel a little bit more comfortable with not being on the mark all of the time. This has allowed us to troubleshoot quickly and for lack of a better term we seem a little bit more harmonious around chaos when it arrives since we have started to have these conversations around tinkering.

In my personal point of view every group of people working together could use individuals that feel comfortable in a space that is ever-changing if they are able to see the value of being creative and themselves as makers wether those are tangible or systematic solutions to problems.

My other reflection is to expose to the specific people I develop the importance on having students be involved in creating projects that are meaningful and relevant to them. The use of projects in specific content areas or areas that integrate with each other is something our research unit is exploring and developing teachers on. As I get more experience in developing people in a way that allows them to get immersed in the activities and the ideas of the 4Ps, I would love to experiment with the resources that have been provided in this learning experience to deliver excerpts of the content to school leaders and teachers. I know even the way that I have experienced the course has allowed me to think about things that are personally engaging, I have been able to get feedback or comments on the products and the process, it has been personally enlightening to witness people being creative and communicating with each other. All of these things have allowed me to develop in a way that makes me reflect the types of experiences that we provide for teachers and how those experiences should serve as models of the teachers can and should be doing in their classrooms.

This has been a great experience and I will continue to use the tenants of what we learned here in my own practice.

Week 6 in the LCL Community!

One of my most rewarding experiences was being a moderator for the US Army FRG Leader2Leader community. Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) are a peer to peer support network for the families and friends of an Army unit. FRG Leaders oversee the telephone trees, newsletters and social activities that allow the loved ones of a unit’s soldiers to connect. Easier said than done. The job can get pretty stressful, especially during deployments. The Leader2Leader network provided support and mentorship to FRG Leaders across the country. The Leader2Leader program definitely hit all the 4P’s.

Members were passionate about the FRG support mission and wanted to build connected FRGs. Regulations tell. Our goal was to guide and nurture.

As moderators, we were also passionate about educating and empowering FRG Leaders. We collaborated with each other to create novel resources. We compiled a diverse reading list and held on-line book discussion forums to enrich our own practice. One of the best parts were our bi-annual gatherings where we would meet in person. Our play was through innovation, posing questions, brainstorming solutions, then trying them.

Unfortunately, our group fell victim to budget cuts and we were dissolved. A tiny piece of FRGLeader2Leader still lives on via a private facebook group where emerging and seasoned FRG Leaders can share experiences and advice. Most of the original mentors have moved on as our spouses have retired from the Army. Yet we continue to stay in touch, supporting each other in our new normals.

On a humorous note, I once looked into getting the training to become an Army Family Programs Instructor. One of my dear friends who was also an instructor counseled against it. To maintain consistency, lessons follow a script and materials evolve only by command. She worried that my innate teaching style and urge to tinker would lead me off script. I would get frustrated with the pace of change. She was right! Shortly after, the Leader2Leader opportunity arose and I jumped.

LCL has made me more self aware. Helping with a Scratch class last night, I could see of my tutoring style toggle between falling into traditional telling and fostering creative discovery.

I am also spreading the news about this class to the teachers I encounter. Some are skeptical. I wonder if we are a self-selecting group. We are comfortable with creativity and wide walls, so are we more open to the LCL class and message?

Week 6 in the LCL Community!

I would like to PASSIONATE PEERs in my teaching for the students to explore their PROJECTS in a PLAYFUL manner.


@dalsdorf Interesting conversation about writing curriculum and the elements of getting it accepted.
My parents have both very much been my mentors as teachers, as both are very innovative and passionate about learning. My dad has gotten a lot of resistance and over come it by always basing his pedagogy on the government curriculum guidelines. If you’re meeting the guidelines, it is very hard for others to knock the stuffing out of your plans.
I have to say too, it is so much easier to be excited about work when it provides the invitation to share explorations on areas of interest. I love having guest presenters and collaborators come to school as well as special projects.


Good question! I have been trying to share this with colleagues I think would be interested, but I have not had a lot of nibbles. I would really like to hear from people who have had success inviting others on how they did it!


I’ve been struggling with this reflection… a bit of ‘hard fun’ hahaha ouch hahahah. ouch… but joking aside, I do realize how critical this reflection can be: a mental anchor to hard wire memories of the course and provide a springboard into future applications.

So, play… I realize I naturally play and tinker and really need to provide that opportunity for my students. In many ways, I do… I provide materials and experiences for students to manipulate and learn through iteration. My big concern is accountability: getting kids to reflect and express their learning, and using time effectively instead of just poking around with peers without accomplishing the learning for which we are responsible. I hate tests that are only regurgitation of information without application or demonstration of true comprehension, and I am not sure how to impart to my students that it is important to have knowledge, to own information on a profound level so it becomes a medium that you can apply creatively.
I have been studying abstract acrylic painting with Jane Davies for a few years now http://janedaviesstudios.com
and really struggled with her courses as I was more a beginner student participating in an intermediate course. Now I have a lot more experience with materials, tools and techniques, I am no longer painting in a state of semi-panic, but one of curiosity and play. That too is an important framework for me to remember with my students.

Peers: I have loved participating in the forums, learning from others, remixing projects and being mentored by @Augusto with his re-mixes of my coordinate plotting attempts. Right now, we have a Mini-Maker Faire going on and it was so exciting yesterday, to see how people are exploring interactions with sounds and light. I went with my collaborating friend, Louise Campbell,
her blog: http://louisecampbell.ca/wp/en/#
student work from last year’s collaboration (you may want to turn your speakers down to find a comfortable level… it gets noisy) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_BBXCgobGA
We’re looking at ‘sound ecology of the lunch room’ as it is an aggressively noisy space and time which really could use some treatment and direction.
We were really inspired by @matthewscharles (Twitter) with the interactive sound/light exploration he’s working on… with the thought we could set up interesting light based art work that functioned when the decibels were below a certain level… these folks also really captivated us: https://vimeo.com/163596013.
The work of http://www.nimanavab.com/projects.html really enchanted me. He had a very simple demo of a 3 watt led shining onto a few inches of water in a plexiglass box, which had drops of water creating a variety of patterns below.
https://robotinacan.com introduced me to Snap! as a way to program Arduino which may be perfect for my Scratch savvy elementary students because frankly, I’m really intimidated by C, Java and Python. I am open to suggestions for learning that will make me less intimidated, for sure, but I am also realistic in the sense that if it’s not going to work for my elementary students, I am not that likely to invest a lot of time into it.
I think the way LCL has helped me, is that I am not shy to inquire what has inspired people to pursue their projects, and where they see their next steps taking them. I am happy to make connections to look for support be it receive or offer and to exchange ideas. Some people are willing to play with what ifs, some are not. I’m okay with that.

What I would like to know, is how to draw people out from the shadows, how to engage the lurkers to know their input is going to help others, and has a place in public light. I say this because of the dynamic of my parents: my dad is very extroverted, and my mom very introverted and both have been fabulous teachers. I am really grateful to both, but want to say, in the context of shy folks, to my mom, for teaching me to go to the quiet corners to find out what is going on in the depths of the still waters because it is often very interesting and entertaining.

I have a couple of students this year in kindergarten who are selecting mutism and this really worries me. Please share strategies with me!

Projects: I still need to find my answers about accountability, about balance of structure and independence… I also realize I need to do some goal setting and prioritization so I make progress and actually complete things, rather than putz around in a swamp of half-baked ideas. One of my big issues is a pattern of gathering an abundant amount of materials, or starting a ridiculous number of iterations rather than complete one iteration, reflect and reiterate. I do like to start series… 10 or so, but then get lost in the process. and kind of fizzle out… find a new interest, get charged up by the neophillia and start a bunch then abandon that as things fizzle. I believe I would benefit from some tinkering with that pattern.
Passion… it’s kind of addressed above, but I’d also say, it’s very much fuelled by interactions with peers, by sharing interests and collaborating. I am a social beast to say the least, even though I am awkward.

Week 6 in the LCL Community!

So much to respond to in your post! I’m highlighting this quote because I have a precise suggestion for balancing these concerns, which are (1) knowledge is important, i.e. there are some “facts” we want students to remember, (2) the way of know is important, i.e. we want students to own facts in relation to a world in which such facts matter, and to also have an understanding that this is a (different) way of knowing. (3) This/these become/s media e.g. that can be creatively manipulated.

There was something I tried in a summer photography camp which gets at these concerns. With several camp days remaining, I announced a surprise “test”. The surprise was that the students would be writing their own tests (an approach that I already prefer). “Can we work together on writing the questions?” Y. The activity evolved into a group conversation about what we had learned. I pulled the conversation into a series of five questions about the workings of a camera. The test would be the next day. The following day, I projected the test questions on a screen, mimed as if I were about to distribute paper, and then distributed Macs, and had everyone respond to the questions by building models of working cameras in Scratch. We spent several hours that day and several hours the following day engrossed in the task. It was the first time that some students really studied the fine mechanical details of their cameras. I’m grateful your questions helped me recall this event. For some kids, this was also a first experience with Scratch, and they had no problem figuring it out by asking their peers for a couple of pointers.