Sunday, January 02, 2011

Learning Our Way to the Next Alberta: The Alberta Aspiration

One of the most exciting projects we are involved with at Cambridge Strategies Inc. is the Learning Our Way to the Next Alberta.  Part of this project is a rethinking of public education principles, practices and progress measurements.  It is aided abetted by the work of Alberta Education in the Inspiring Education initiative lead by Minister Dave Hancock.

We have to rethink the concepts of education and learning beyond the paradigms of the industrial complex of the past.  We have to think and adapt to the consequence of the networked horizontal information economy.  We have to develop skills and capacities to prepare our children, and ourselves, for the conceptual age economy that is emerging.  This is the way forward for developed societies and for continued prosperity in places like Alberta. Alberta has an excellent public education system that is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this new way forward.  However we must redefine success and rethink what we mean by progress.  It is about a new sense of being literate that includes the traditional concepts but move beyond them into a 21st century context.

Sir Ken Robinson puts all this in context in this RSA video. It is 11 minutes long but worth every minute of it.
(H/T to Alberta Education's Inspiring Education site for the link) 

This new way of thinking, learning and of being an educated person is going to be realized through unconventional partnerships, relationships and new collaborative models of meaning making. We are all in this together and alone as we develop our personal gifts in ways that also contribute positively to the greater good.     

We are capable of  imagining, creating and even adapting to new measures and meanings of progress and prosperity.  These new models must promote social cohesion through inclusion and a savouring our social diversity, not fearing the differences.  New thinking must require that we work within the realities of the environmental limits of the planet.  We need an economic model that develops new technologies and assets that promote sustainability and innovation from the creativity of Albertans.

This next Alberta is all about our finding and fostering our Aspirations in ways that align with our values.  Now that we in Alberta can become anything we we want to be, what is it that we want to be?  My answer is simple and complex.  It is not just about the old Alberta Advantage mentality of competing in the old industrial   marketplace model with a shallow goal to be the best IN the world.  It is more about leading, seeing and achieving our potential to aspire to be the best FOR the world.

We have all the ingredients and the infrastructure necessary to achieve this Aspiration.  We just need the attitude shift necessary to actually do it. In short, the Alberta Aspiration mindset has to trump the old race to the bottom paradigm inherent in the Alberta Advantage mindset.  We need to adapt from the Alberta Advantage mindset but not eliminate it as we work through to realizing the Alberta Aspiration model.  In doing so, we transform ourselves and our province into a trail blazing example of a 21st century integrated society, economy and ecology.

You can join in the co-creation collaboration of Learning Our Way to the Next Alberta in a number of ways.  Sir Ken Robinson will be in Red Deer February 9th for a reception 6-7 pm and public lecture and discussion from 7-9:30 pm where he will speak about this opportunity to transform public education.  This is an event in collaboration with the Alberta Teachers' Association locals in Red Deer, Creative Alberta, the Red Deer Advocate and Red Deer College.  The cost is $10 and for tickets contact Jennifer Bahler at or 403-505-5889  Ticket proceeds to the the Central Alberta Women's Shelter.