There is a certain allure to being on the edge of something new, something innovative, something exciting. Think for a second about having to have the new iPhone, new Playstation, the new Fitbit. Education reform is similar with trends, fads, measures, and terminology. Some of these notions stick and become part of the vernacular, others fade away and are never heard of again except in nostalgic recollection. The concept of students owning their own learning based on their interests is something that has been a part of the afterschool landscape for over a decade.

As part of the Expanding Minds and Opportunities Compendium, Milton Chen – Senior Fellow with the George Lucas Educational Foundation addresses this notion and how the time is ripe for this idea to take hold and transform the educational landscape as we know it both in and out of school. This “third learning space” as he calls it, allows students to experience learning in parks, libraries, and anywhere students can connect with the internet. It is our responsibility as a field to help guide these opportunities, to help children and youth explore and recognize their passions, and help facilitate learning in after school that connects with real world experiences.