Category Archives: Rants

Lifestyle Learning

The CEO of Collective Shift, Connie Yowell, the company formed to launch, wants to transform learning into a lifestyle.


Being active, fit, and an athlete is a lifestyle. Many of the “lifestyle sports” are included within the grant proposals of spring 2016. Swimming, water polo, golf, kayaking and ultimate are certainly lifestyle sports. These activities have a lot going on, plenty of “mojo,” much to emulate.

As we work together to make learning a lifestyle, let’s work within the lifestyle sports and insure that learning is included there, in obvious ways, so that plenty of others can join, follow-along, and embrace this lifestyle of learning. To create lifelong learning, use recreation.

Giving young people better tools in their preparation for life get universal agreement here. A robust suite of additional enrichment activities and experiences for better preparing youngsters is needed and welcomed.

Sadly, too many of the opportunities provided for inter-city kids are frail. Often, the institutional hurdles are high and frequent. Our swim team can’t have practices on Saturdays and Sundays. Go figure. The older kids can’t be fooled. Perpetual defeat is a buzz kill.

Let’s support the drive and desire for being dedicated, determined and disciplined. Athletes have those passions, especially when they’re improving, having fun and a sense of fairness comes within their competitive landscapes. Our kids should feel the support and then they rise to meet the challenges. We can compete with anyone, anywhere. We can help you become the best you can be and that means that some will be the best in the world. For everyone on the team in the community, that makes life exciting. That’s the fun lifestyle that trains minds and bodies.

High school kids who come to understand and trust the vision of Creating Literate Olympians Here can make it so. The mind leads and the body follows. They go together. The mind never leaves the body. The learning never stops. unifies mind and body and prevents the divorce between the two.


Learning, teaching and playing is for the young and not-so-young. The target market for is 13 to 24. Why stop at 24? The system of digital badges at champions lifelong learning for those who want to life a long life. Play unifies the young and not-so-young and prevents the divorce among the age groups. It is important to engage the kids, and everyone else.

Plenty of opportunities are within these plans that speak directly to the circle of life. In Pittsburgh, our co-ed masters water polo team generally beats the best high school boys team. It was an epic moral victory and lots of fun watching the high school boys tie the masters squad at the 2016 CMU tournament.

Masters squad at summer practice in Mt. Washington’s Citiparks Ream Pool, with a mix of ages. efforts make spaces and interesting challenges so that the seasoned 50-year-olds get to buck up with the youngsters in their prime in underwater hockey, speed golf, aquatic SKWIM, ultimate frisbee, pull-ups, goal-setting, sport-first-aid, computer animation and app development. Learning lifetime-and-lifestyle lessons goes beyond age 24. Health and wellness is not a guarantee for many in communities where violence, drug use and poverty are pervasive.

Good game, good game, good game. Rinse and repeat.
Good game, good game, good game. Rinse and repeat.

Some XPs, playlists, pathways and badges within are tagged #Lifelong_LRNG_Lifestyle when suited for inter-generational settings.

The Introduction’s “home base” can’t be confused with “home plate” nor “base camp.”


Our baseball friends have a different concept of being “home.” In baseball, one must summon sizable amounts of courage to step-up-to-the-plate at home. Getting to home as a base runner signals a long-trip around the diamond’s three other bases. Regardless of the illustration and baseball’s vocabulary, makes loud calls for great teams of people to step out of their comfort zones, to be present elsewhere, to be prepared by thinking ahead and to reflect, log and digitize their insights along their ways. Rinse and repeat.


Inside plans for

A grant application is due in a week and some changes to the proposal that was sent to The Sprout Fund are expected. These are not a serious change of direction, but they are enhancements and further expansion for the sake of scale and impact.

A letter of support from Milestone Pod has been requested and promised. The Milestone Pod, made by Milestone Sports, is an electronic pedometer used in 2015 with our students at Swim & Water Polo. It presents a fun bridge between technology and running. Running is a solo sport. But, with the Milestone Pod, the running is more connected to others. Plus, the data from the pod and the handling of the Bluetooth technology and its accelerometer is tech-rich.

The HQ Orientation slated for Quarter One is getting a boost with a letter of support from Kevin DeForrest, author of the book, The Treasure Within. The book was published years ago by the Sports Support Syndicate and is to be made into an ebook and an app (perhaps a HTML5 presentation). The Treasure Within XP can be a fine experience for athletes teach about being present.

The Tech Captains Digital Badge was the only outcome for the proposal delivered to The Sprout Fund. Additional digital badges can be proposed in the next documentation. For example, those that earn the Tech Captains in fall, winter and spring within the same school year get a different designation, the Literate Olympians Digital Badges. Also expected are outdoor recreation digital badges, aquatic athlete digital badges and technology level digital badges. The Varsity Athletes Digital Badges can be earned by those who log 100 or more practice and competitions with five or more teammates in a season.

Community voice experiences with the open mic are getting expanded to include participation at other events such as Lawrenceville’s Art All Night, PodCamp Pittsburgh, EDU Camp, Word Camp slated for September 2016, Steel City Codefest, Venture Fest in May at Point State Park and The Moth. Day of coding and other special events are able to be put into that experience as desired by participants and program leaders.

Additional clarification as to what is not in the mix needs to be detailed somewhere. Motor sports, skiing, solo rock climbing are hard to embrace with the theme of playing well with others. All the XPs at are to include at least two, and hopefully three, of the main traits: Play, Technology and Development.

Some type of experience for chess, especially community chess and tournament chess, is welcomed.

More discussion and details need to occur with the unlocking of additional opportunities as some experiences are completed and others then become presented.

We hope that Pair Networks, see, is going to be pulled into our network. can be a big helper as a technology partner. I’d love to have the Pair Networks help with eCommerce and long-term sustainability. Getting virtual server space for limited months or reduced rates can be an unlocked opportunity for those that get to the brilliant and genius stages. Pair Networks also has some tutorials that can be embraced and re-positioned as XPs.

Human Kinetics, the worlds largest publisher of titles about physical activity, is considering a proposal.

Instructor trainers need additional mentions. There are plenty of instructor trainers in the network, but they can be better highlighted in the proposal.

Question: What did you do as a kid?
Answer: “Our life centered around playing ball.”

Our life centered around playing ball.

We played basketball. … We played football. We played softball. And, I’ll tell you something. This is interesting. In those days, and I think it was a good thing, kids played it (sports) without adult supervision. So we made up our own games. And we worked things things out ourselves. I learned a lot about democracy from the school yards…. It was a great experience.

This is less of a candidate endorsement but rather it is a resounding endorsement of the developmental stages when kid’s learn about playing well with others.

This mission and LRNG play well together

Both LRNG and aim to connect communities around shared goals. The over-arching goal is playing well with others. LRNG and play well together.

The design pillars of LRNG match well among the goals and quarters of

LRNG’s four design pillars: Craft Experiences, Gather Communities, Build the World, and Unlock Opportunities features four design pillars too within its playlist for the Tech Captains badge. The “pillars” are called “quarters.” Quarter One is Present. Quarter Two is Play. Quarter Three is Technology. Quarter Four is Development. Plenty of common ground exists.

The alignment of the pillars and quarters are slightly different, but the sequence of the pillars as well as quarters are not paramount.

LRNG Pillar #

Pillar Name

Quarter #


Quarter Name

Similarities for both LRNG & Play.CLOH


Craft Experiences


Play &
Get out,  Do things. Make experiences. Have fun.

Focus on passions of: sports, recreation, aquatics, outdoors, fitness.
Learners choose. Teamwork. Sportsmanship.


Gather Communities



Call to orientations.

Watch party, Not Just A Game (movie)

Provide opportunities to learn through relationships, introductions, orientation. Calls to meaningful interactions with diverse community of mentors and experts. Not Just a Game (film). Challenge youth to engage with code of conduct.
Build their own identity and wiki page.


Build the World



Use modern Tech for self-expression. Publish. Solve real world problems. Revise and improve code.


Unlock Opportunities



Experiences move to new opportunities. Connect to future career and learning paths. Imagine bigger concept maps of achievements.
Goal setting. Learn volition. College recruiting. On to lifeguards, instructors and Rookie Coaches Badges efforts consider “Why” first. “How” is informed by “Why.” The method and activities should be informed by the purpose.

The “Why” of the Tech Captains badges is obvious as dozens of high school students are hired and tossed into service as coaches, instructors, lifeguards and camp leaders for Swim & Water Polo Camps. In 2015, 40+ employees coached more than 200 students at 10 different pools. All workers are not equal contributors.


The best employees have been high school swimmers on the Obama varsity swim team. Other athletes, but not full-time swimmers, have been great workers too. Of course the varsity swimmers know the routines, expectations and drills of the head coach. Having played the games and understanding the rules matters. They know the communication style of the boss, can read emails and be responsible to their duties. The most valuable employees have been the ones with a prior relationships with the program leader, their fellow workers and the activities. The great days at camp come when varsity swimmers get in situations to perform and lead the younger students who are often in grades 3 to 7.

The worst employees can sometimes present more trouble than the worst campers. Setting bad examples from older kids and adults is the worst. This is more of a fear than reality, but no responsible program leader wants to be in charge of an squad of youngsters without a few capable hands with a positive influence.

Pittsburgh has a proven demand and the available facilities to train more than 2,000 youngsters in the summers. This All-City Sports Camp is an expansion of Swim & Water Polo Camp that includes other settings, sports and activities as assembled in the network of The city kids need more summer-time enrichment that isn’t in the classrooms and includes kids who might have proficient standardized test scores. Those Summer Dreamers invites only goes to disadvantaged kids with below basic test scores. Furthermore, Summer Dreamers occupies only three school sites, down from 12 in its earlier years.

The sticking points for growing sustainable programs capable of reaching thousands of kids are staff limitations and a lack of political will by certain individuals in high positions. The awarding of educational grants can help to sway the political will among some who prefer vacation days.

Swim & Water Polo staffers with Heather, super-star athlete, on a field-trip to compete in a road race Downtown.
Swim & Water Polo staffers with Heather, super-star athlete, on a field-trip to compete in a road race Downtown.

These staff limitations are skill limitations. With the Learn & Earn program, Pittsburgh has the employees. The youth job program employs 2,000 kids ages 14 to 21. The Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center manages more the 125 summer workers. The people are present. But, their on-the-job performances as capable staffers and sports coaches for youngsters gives doubt. Most of the kids at age 16 can’t swim themselves. So, it is not fair to expect them to teach swimming to 10 year old campers.

Our swimmers can swim and they do a great job teaching swimming. But, they are in the minority. Throughout the school year, about 40 kids are involved in the varsity swim teams, boys and girls. However, a staff of 100+ would be needed to lead campers by the thousands.

The pathway to to the Tech Captains badges can develop the skills, disposition and attitudes among the high school athletes so that they can later be productive members of a camp staff and help guide younger students. and the Tech Captains badge helps to gear up a large, robust, staff of youngsters that can one day be a positive influence for the proposed All-City Sports Camp. Getting this credential can unlock the opportunities of teaching, coaching and leading others. This isn’t the only game in town. Other staff positions are already being recruited for, filled and experienced throughout the community. Citiparks, the YMCA, Sarah Heinz House, Hosanna House, Pittsburgh Ultimate, Venture Outdoors, Big Leagues, First Tee of Pittsburgh and our Swim & Water Polo Camp hire camp instructors. The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation and the NLA hires Reading Warriors.

Recruiting deks

In 2017 and beyond, it would be great if the individuals who have LRNG digital badges could take a merit-based bypass of the job lottery. Not all the kids get hired with the city’s youth job program called Learn & Earn. Those with digital badges should get hired first. That way, digital badges would unlock opportunities.

Every youngster in Pittsburgh could learn to swim and be a part of the sportsmanship and teamwork experiences of an All City Sports Camp after 400 participants have been trained in the process of playing well with others in the quest for Tech Captain digital badges. But there is more. Existing camp experiences are already offered in the community by many of the supporting agencies and institutions within the network. Those camps hire high school students. Every camp can benefit with more enhanced staff preparations with year-round XPs.

The Tech Captains digital badges help to tighten the circle of life. Consider the growth of a youngster who is a camper at age 10 and then becomes a motivated learner at age 13 and grows into a valued junior instructor in a camp at age 15 to then hooks up in a camp-coaching role at age 17.

For the high school students, fitting in the time for training, playing, competing,

Coach and camper
Coach and camper.

studying, resting, planning, socializing, learning, and instructing other youngsters is demanding work that can be made somewhat less burdensome with the hope of a pathway charted to meaningful badges from

Many of the young adults at age 19 are doing college internships.

The connected learning approach prioritizes experience over knowledge transfer, formation over facts. It centralizes the importance of community connections, real-world relevancy and digital technologies. The approach bridges connections between communities, content, and practitioners. When successful, it brings together learner’s passions, people, and paths.