Since 1998 I have been fascinated with how people learn. I design and co-design projects that question the contexts, barriers and frontiers of learning communities. Here are a few projects that exemplify this thought and practice.

GEMS Nations Academy – Dubai

My focus with GEMS and Nations Academy – Dubai is on organizational leadership and vision for technology and innovation across divisions, idea development, and running and effective innovation process for the organization. I am responsible for the design, implementation and research of innovations for interdisciplinary curriculum teams, entrepreneurial learning, emerging technologies and the systems wide educational ecology.

GEMS World Academy – Chicago

My focus with GEMS is on organizational leadership and vision for technology and innovation across divisions, idea development, and running and effective innovation process for the organization. I am responsible for the design, implementation and research of innovations for interdisciplinary teams, inquiry based curriculum, mobile, connected and blended learning, field studies and the technologies that expand these practices.

The Bridge Year at Kieve-Wavus

The Bridge Year was co-designed with my wife Lisa Steele-Maley and Charlie Richardson and is a direct culmination of our decades long experience with young people in and out of the classroom. The Bridge Year design draws from my now six year teaching and research cycle with integrated curriculum and student directed project based learning while also drawing on our distinct success’s in field studies co-leading service learning explorations, and in the field of experiential education. The design is at a confluence of the most prescient and proven pedagogy while also pushing the boundaries of what is offered today.

A Boarding School with the mixture of Personal Learning Plan Driven Student Directed PBL tied to meaningful standards and extensive Field Studies provides for an almost ubiquitous learning experience. The Bridge Year is designed to ignite:

  • Enduring intellectual passion: students engage in a personalized educational environment emphasizing independence and intellectual growth.
  • Sense of personal and social responsibility: Students gather from Maine, the US and the world to live together in a diverse boarding community that celebrates similarities and honors differences.
  • Physical, technical and creative skills: Students develop physical, technical and creative skills that energize their curiosity, stimulate growth, and serve as a base for life-long learning and expression.
  • Confidence: Students build strength through challenges and successes during work and play in seminar, fields, forests and waterways.

The Bridge Year is a project that will start conversations and we hope catalyze a movement for authentic, individualized and rigorous learning.

Networked Learning Ecology North America

(NLENA) represents a participatory and networked vision for the future of learning. NLENA offers innovative summer camp opportunities and a vision for innovative educational change.


Global Civ /eLearning Nexus

Global Civ  represented a four year long design based research project  and partnership with the Zuboff/Maxmin family, focused on the customization and co-design of learning for secondary school students. Global Civ was:

  • A learning partnership between individual learners, mentors, and organizations from around the world. In its first year pilot program, an individual learner based in Midcoast Maine co-designed a rigorous program of study with mentors in all academic disciplines and partnered with Marine Scientists, organic farmers, historians, authors, and other learners from North America.
  • A year round interdisciplinary project that is flexible to learner needs and travel requirements. Mentors who are specialists and generalists work directly with students in the planning process for each independent study and have appropriate time to develop rigorous and standards based independent curriculum that is relevant, applied, and personalized.
  • A learning space for individuals to co-create powerful learning experiences for themselves and have the ability to connect with other young people around the world. Individual learners are responsible for creating a dynamic record of their learning process with ePortfolios and they connect with the world through a system of web based project management|collaboration, mobile learning, and web conferencing.

Wiscasset High School iLab

The WHS iLab was an interdisciplinary makerspace designed to facilitate student directed project based learning and interdisciplinary innovation.  The iLab was part of a school reform intiative between SVRSU 12 and Wiscasset High School.

Research Interests

My research, design and praxis are shaped for student collaboration, communication and problem solving for an interdependent world.

Curriculum Interests

Interdisciplinary innovation, field studies (mobile learning, ethnography, integrated studies, multi-sited global studies), networked learning, experiential education, project based learning, ePortfolio assessment, blended learning, neogeography.

Research Methods

Design Based Research, Participatory Action Research, Ethnography


Social Sciences (Specifically: Education, Geography, History, Anthropology, and Sociology), Instructional Design

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