LEnet partners have produced a number of books that will help you go deeper into the approaches in the Learning Emergence network. We also list here some of the other sources of inspiration.

Distributing Leadership for Personalizing Learning

Explores in depth some of LEnet’s core themes: personalizing learning and educational leadership

Ron Ritchie
Ruth Deakin Crick

This book makes a unique contribution to current thinking by making a link between two current key policy drivers in education: personalized learning and distributed leadership. Ron Ritchie and Ruth Deakin Crick put forward the idea that an effective means of implementing personalizing learning is to adopt distributed approaches to school leadership. The book builds on the other titles in the “NCE Personalizing Learning” series, particularly “Personalizing Learning: Transforming Education for Every Child” by John West-Burnham and Max Coates. Personalizing learning remains a contested concept, interpreted in many different ways by policy makers, researchers and practitioners. However, it is generally agreed to be desirable if, as a result of its implementation, students’ individual learning needs are more effectively addressed and it impacts positively on their learning.
Network Continuum Education: ISBN-13: 978-1855392342

A New Culture of Learning

This book does a masterful job in encapsulating, in very accessible terms for a wide readership, some of the key priorities of LEnet’s researchers and practitioners: the centrality of personal passion and choice of topic in learner engagement, authentic inquiry, imagination, play, identity, and dispositions/habits of mind. See the companion website for additional resources.

Douglas Thomas
John Seely Brown

The 21st century is a world in constant change. In A New Culture of Learning, Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown pursue an understanding of how the forces of change, and emerging waves of interest associated with these forces, inspire and invite us to imagine a future of learning that is as powerful as it is optimistic. Our understanding of what constitutes “a new culture of learning” is based on several basic assumptions about the world and how learning occurs:

  • The world is changing faster than ever and our skill sets have a shorter life
  • Understanding play is critical to understanding learning
  • The world is getting more connected that ever before – can that be a resource?
  • In this connected world, mentorship takes on new importance and meaning
  • Challenges we face are multi-faceted requiring systems thinking & socio-technical sensibilities
  • Skills are important but so are mind sets and dispositions
  • Innovation is more important than ever – but turns on our ability to cultivate imagination
  • A new culture of learning needs to leverage social & technical infrastructures in new ways
  • Play is the basis for cultivating imagination and innovation

By exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, the authors create a vision of learning for the future that is achievable, scalable and one that grows along with  the technology that fosters it and the people who engage with it. The result is a new form of culture in which knowledge is seen as fluid and evolving, the personal is both enhanced and refined in relation to the collective, and the ability to manage, negotiate and participate in the world is governed by the play of the imagination.
Typically, when we think of culture, we think of an existing, stable entity that changes and evolves over long periods of time. In A New Culture of Learning, Thomas and Brown explore a second sense of culture, one that responds to its surroundings organically. It not only adapts, it integrates change into its process as one of its environmental variables.
Replete with stories, this is a book that looks at the challenges that our education and learning environments face in a fresh way.

Organizing Schools for Improvement
Lessons from Chicago

This significant body of work exemplifies how important a systems thinking perspective is when tackling educational transformation. A source of inspiration for us. Supplementary multimedia material from Tony Bryk’s website

Anthony S. Bryk
Penny Bender Sebring
Elaine Allensworth
Stuart Luppescu
John Q. Easton

In 1988, the Chicago public school system decentralized, granting parents and communities significant resources and authority to reform their schools in dramatic ways. To track the effects of this bold experiment, the authors of Organizing Schools for Improvement collected a wealth of data on elementary schools in Chicago. Over a seven-year period they identified one hundred elementary schools that had substantially improved—and one hundred that had not. What did the successful schools do to accelerate student learning?  The authors of this illuminating book identify a comprehensive set of practices and conditions that were key factors for improvement, including school leadership, the professional capacity of the faculty and staff, and a student-centered learning climate. In addition, they analyze the impact of social dynamics, including crime, critically examining the inextricable link between schools and their communities. Putting their data onto a more human scale, they also chronicle the stories of two neighboring schools with very different trajectories. The lessons gleaned from this groundbreaking study will be invaluable for anyone involved with urban education. University of Chicago Press: 978-0226078007


This book explores the idea and practice of learning power. Written for teachers, it is based on substantial research and connects with many of the Learning Emergence network’s core themes.

Ruth Deakin Crick

This book provides a variety of ideas for use in the classroom, based on practical applications of the conceptual understanding of learning power……[It] tells the reader about the “Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory” research programme (ELLI) and uses practical examples of how it can work in actual classes to explain its effectiveness.

‘This is not a gimmicky approach… The approach here fosters deeper understanding for both the teacher and learner of exactly what the process involves… It contains much to interest schoolteachers, senior managers and those involved with learners of any age’ ESCalate

What kind of learner are you? How can you become a better learner? This book puts the findings of the well known Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) research programme into the practical context of the classroom, helping you to find answers to these questions. The book offers many suggestions for practical ways to improve the learning power of all the children in your class. It looks at ” learning power – what it is and how it can be developed;  creating the right classroom environment for powerful learning;  how learning power works in the primary and secondary school classroom and  how metaphors can be used with children to explain concepts.

Knowledge Cartography:
Software Tools and Mapping Techniques

The complexity of today’s society makes the network more than a handy analogy: it is arguably the paradigmatic model for how we need to read and write ideas. Knowledge Cartography provides a way to make epistemic relationships visible and critiquable…

Alexandra Okada
Simon Buckingham Shum

Tony Sherborne

Knowledge Cartography is the discipline of mapping intellectual landscapes.The focus of this book is on the process by which manually crafting interactive, hypertextual maps clarifies one’s own understanding, as well as communicating it.The authors see mapping software as a set of visual tools for reading and writing in a networked age. In an information ocean, the primary challenge is to find meaningful patterns around which we can weave plausible narratives. Maps of concepts, discussions and arguments make the connections between ideas tangible and disputable. Knowledge Cartography will be of interest to learners, educators, and researchers in all disciplines, as well as policy analysts, scenario planners, knowledge managers and team facilitators. Practitioners will find new perspectives and tools to expand their repertoire, while researchers will find rich enough conceptual grounding for further scholarship.
Springer: Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing Series. ISBN: 978-1-84800-148-0