A fun question to consider is if you are the entry point to school, what can you do?

One idea: Share learning experiences teachers have outside of their classroom.

After the idea, the design process kicks in (sometimes in modified form). Taking an idea and making it real and concrete is work. We don’t always succeed. But the entire process is always a learning experience.

 "THE DESIGN PROCESS" by Noura Assaf is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

“THE DESIGN PROCESS” by Noura Assaf is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

And we like to share experiences.

Abre Everywhere

Abre Everywhere is a program to support educators who are doing extraordinary things outside of the classroom. Basically we wanted to help capture the wide variety of experiences educators have during their non-day job. Then we help write curriculum that shares these experiences.

Best of all, we make this curriculum available to the Abre network.

For our pilot group, we paired up with Harvey Lewis and Bryce Carlson. Harvey ran the Appalachian Trail in 49 days (finishing as the 8th fastest known time). Bryce rowed across the Atlantic in a record setting 38 days. Both are teachers.

To learn more about Harvey and Bryce, check out our Abre Everywhere page. While their stories are simply incredible, we want to focus on the experience of creating the curriculum.

Bryce Rows: Goal Setting

Bryce is a science teacher. Rowing across the ocean presented numerous ideas for lessons from sampling sea water temperatures, to a geography focus, to body changes with extreme diets and exercise. Prior to his trip, we brainstormed things he could do that wouldn’t be intrusive to the experience, but we could still use as a base for curriculum.

After Bryce completed the challenge he gave a number of interviews. One dominate theme and question that emerged from these interviews was “how did you do this? how did you achieve this goal?”

As this was clearly an area of interest, we all decided to create a curriculum around goal setting and achieving that goal. Goal setting is an incredibly relevant topic for students. Using Bryce’s narrative, insight, and knowledge we crafted a series of 6 lessons students could complete.

The Creation Process

In the end, it was relatively simple. Which is good, because in order for Abre Everywhere to work in the future, it needs to scale. Simplicity allows scalability.

The process:

  1. Collectively, we brainstormed ideas on defining a challenge, set a goal, and the processes involved.
  2. Bryce sent a clear, concise outline of the process.
  3. We crafted lessons around the outline. We sent back to Bryce a series of questions that fleshed out and added character and depth to the lesson.
  4. We researched multimedia to support the lessons.
  5. We created the lessons in Abre’s Learn App.

What We Learned

Pilot experiences are always valuable. Some key takeaways we found in the process.

Outlining is Key

Outlines allow structures to emerge and bring coherence to the narrative. This also helps students cognitively grok the material.

Our Learn App Needs Refinement

We’re somewhere between MVP and “Oh my gosh this is awesome” for our Learn App. Adding images and some other types of multimedia involved a few hacks (nothing we’d expect our userbase to do).

But again, that’s the purpose of a pilot. To identify areas of improvement.

The More Multimedia We Have, the Better

Both Bryce and Harvey have a large and varied digital footprint. This helped in creating content.

Method of Delivery is Still Up in the Air

As a company, we’re still working on the best way to deliver unified content across multiple Abre clients. We’re actively developing this feature. But for the moment, pushing courses as options for districts is a bit laborious.

Next Steps

We look for additional educators who are interested in creating an Abre Everywhere course. We will continue to refine the process (we’re considering a templating feature and future).

Still, as a first time pilot, we’re very happy with our results!