Over the last year, I have traveled across the United States touring studio spaces and makerspaces in high schools, colleges and universities, and community literacy centers. The objective in my traveling was to meet students and teachers and community leaders working with a variety of media in preparation to help lead our own school toward designing a new innovative, student-centered learning space. While each space I visited proudly showcased a variety of technologies, including 3D printers, laser cutters, cardboard, cubelets, raspberry pi, and more LEGOs than one person could ever count, the common thread among these spaces is the teachers and facilitators implement a pedagogy that advocates for the adjacent possible. The learning diversity model with which we approach teaching and learning at Eagle Hill emphasizes the adjacent possible both in and outside of the classroom as we purposefully engage our students and faculty in conversations and activities that move us toward recognizing and acting upon new ideas.
Last weekend, a colleague and I participated in the Southeast Writing Center Association. We visited K-12 teachers and university faculty in Columbus, Georgia, at Columbus State University. He and I were invited as presenters at a featured session to give a talk on Learning Diversity and on how teachers might practice learning diversity in emergent writing studios.
The Learning Diversity blog has now been online for several years. We continue to reach a diverse readership, including secondary school educators, college faculty, parents, nonprofit organizations, and, of course, students. It being January, and being the new editor of Learning Diversity, I am making my New Year’s resolution to renew my commitment to unlearning disability and, in its place, relearning learning diversity. I would like to urge you to make or renew the same commitment.
My graduate research and my teaching interests have focused primarily on the intersections of public writing and rhetorical theory. Specifically, I am interested in the disconnect between school writing and public writing and how our students and off-campus communities can come together and create social action projects with reciprocal benefits. A primary cause of this disconnect is that a lot of the important projects that students and faculty create for thinking through and solving social problems that communities face turn up in standard, alphabetic literacy oriented research papers, instead of multi-modal community projects and are therefore inaccessible to those community members who could stand to benefit the most.