Family and wildlands

I share life with an incredible wife and two equally incredible sons, live on the coast of Maine and work globally. I like to run, hike, backpack, and boat in remote wildlands and believe wholeheartedly they should be kept wild. I also like to grow food and contribute however possible in our local community networks.

Over the last 20 years I have worked across the world and on many projects in the fields of human learning, technology and education.


My deepest inspiration is derived from my family and the individuals I work with who are dedicated to problem-solving for our collective futures. 

Though that guides

I am moved by the work of Ivan Illich, Seymour Papert, Kurt Hahn, Stephen Downes, James Beane, Reggio Emilia, Elise Boulding, Shoshana Zuboff, Carmelita Hinton, John Holt, Ted Sizer and many more who hold children and society as self-determined.

My work

The work I do brings me close to an exciting and diverse set of individuals, learning experiences and all parts of the research, design and launch process for complex projects. 

I have designed learning ecologies in rural Alaska, Maine and Dubai, globally recognized schools in Chicago and Dubai and multiple programs helping re-theorize and shape human learning in a world of unprecedented complexity. 

I work with people, governments, companies and organizations to solve intractable problems and see frontiers of possibility.

The Rise of Co-Learning

Humans have been learning together in caring, self organized communities for millions of years. And today, bringing families, learners, educators and professionals together into new contexts of learning has never been more important. Connecting learning from formal, informal, and self-directed settings is essential for learners today as we face a world of unprecedented complexity and possibility. Learners want more than traditional forms of education can offer — they want to understand their progress toward traditional credentials (high school diploma for instance) but to also consistently discover and connect new learning opportunities and build new knowledge, mindsets and skillsets. They want to see the world as a landscape of learning to gain critical and increasingly mandatory experience for civic engagement, university, and the workplace.

Status: In Design

Location: Global

Launch: 2020

Flexible, Experiential, Residential

There is a compelling need for a new generation of boarding schools designed with the educational needs, interests, and capabilities of individuals at heart. This offering will propel a new generation of self-sufficient, entrepreneurial, academically prepared, and globally connected learners. I am working on a lower cost alternative with a highly flexible framework and experiential curriculum that suits todays discerning learners and families. 

Staus: In Design

Location: USA

Launch: 2020-2021


Learning for the Next Billion

The world needs a meaningful catalyst at the frontier of global education and learning. In a current project,  knowledge, experience and systems proven to work are being re-combined with the foresight, design and pragmatic imagination necessary to take bold actionable steps in human learning for the next 100 years. This project and approach will provide a world altering experience for current and future generations of learners while also provide the world with critical global solutions.

Status: Designed

Location: Middle East

Launch: Early 2020

An Ecology of Pathways

From late 2017 to late 2018 I designed a complete replacement for the secondary and undergraduate education system with partners GEMS Education, The Executives Office, Dubai Future Foundation in Dubai and The Education and Human Resources Council of the UAE Cabinet. The project features themed and personalized pathways that aggregate credentials from formal and informal learning environments.

Status: On Hold

Location: Middle East

A Field Studies School & A School for interdisciplinary Robotics and Computational Thinking

From 2013-2017 I designed and helped launch two international schools. Nations Academy (Dubai — merged with Dubai American Academy 2017) used an interdisciplinary studio model integrating robotics and computational thinking across the US curriculum.  Every class was a maker-space and the school pushed the bounds of what was possible in international education.

GEMS World Academy Chicago was designed as an IB Continuum school that wove extensive field studies and mobile learning across the city of Chicago and a unique student driven, constructionist praxis across the school. This school pushed the boundaries of where learning can and possibly should happen and the participatory teacher professional learning necessary to transform traditional education.

Status: In Operation

Location: Middle East and Chicago

Launchpad for Life

In 2013 co-designed the  Bridge Year at Kieve-Wavus. The core of the Bridge Year was a  ubiquitous experiential learning experience, a mixture of personal learning plan driven student directed project based learning and the meaningful integration of standards and extensive field studies to prepare rising 9th graders for their next steps.  

Status: Waiting for the right moment

Location: USA

A Mesh Network of Learning

In 2012 I founded

Networked Learning Ecology North America

(NLENA) which represents a participatory and networked vision for the future of learning from birth, through working years and into later life.

Status: Finished

Location: USA

A Mutation for Education

In 2010 I co-founded Global Civ a four-year design-based research project and learning partnership between Shoshana Zuboff/ and Jake and Jim Maxmin (d.2017).  New in almost every way, Global Civ is 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 will co-design a rigorous program of study with mentors in all academic disciplines and partner with Marine Scientists, Indigenous leaders, organic farmers, historians, authors, and other learners from North America New Zealand and Africa.

Status: Finished

Location: USA

Research and Design for New Ecologies of Education

In 2009, I founded the Institute for Global Civic Culture a non profit organization which supported the ideation, research, development and deployment of new learning ecologies. Focused on the individual and our interconnected world, the institute had a vision of uniting young people throughout the world through rigorous, socially relevant and collaborative learning spaces. Beyond research, the Institute launched a new educational ecology, The Global Civ Pilot program.

Status: Finished

Location: USA

Experiential Education for Rural Alaska

In 1999, I co-founded the Northern Wildlands Learning Center, based outside of Haines Alaska. WLC, focused on leadership and an experiential education for Southeast youth and as a hub for modern/rural living, wilderness skills and practice.

Status: Finished

Location: USA


I am always happy to connect with people who are doing good in the world so please be in touch if you would like to collaborate. You can contact me via t at steelemaley dot io