May 2023 Newsletter

Chris McNutt
May 1, 2023
Our May 2023 newsletter on all things Human Restoration Project.

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Conference to Restore Humanity! 2023: Breaking the Doom-Loop

The flipped keynote lineup for our fully virtual Conference to Restore Humanity! is complete:

We need reimagined schools and public education now more than ever. Imagining a better future isn’t naivety, it’s essential for a thriving  world. We must preserve in the face of everything a positive outlook  toward organizing, surviving, and building anew – or risk becoming  stagnant. Individual actions snowball and propagate through systems, and each act of service, each push-back, each classroom decision can fundamentally build a better future. It’s up to us to make that tomorrow a reality.

Join us July 24-27th to break the doom loop! Learn more and register below.

Join Us

Help Us Get the Word Out

Video: Innovative AI Tools for the Classroom...and Their Dilemmas

A recording of our session on the implications for artificial intelligence in the classroom is now live! Learn about the nuances of being proactive vs. reactive to the growing emergence of mainstream chat AI technology.

Updated Resources Coming Soon

We are currently iterating on our resources, allowing them to be easily accessed in a web-based format. We anticipate an initial release of these resources very soon.


How Advanced Placement Cheats Students w/ Annie Abrams

From AP to SAT, the College Board is a billion dollar educational gatekeeper that plays an outsized role in American education in policy and practice, K12 and beyond. In fact, as my guest today  outlines in her book, many states have passed laws requiring the College Board play exactly that role: mandating that schools offer a minimum number of AP courses (that require AP trained teachers), offering cash incentives for student test scores, & dictating to universities what scores they will be required to accept for which credits.

Somewhere in the recent past, figure & ground inverted, and we not only lost track of what was important - the best intentions of what courses like these could represent - but along the way we ceded a lot of power to a single company and a single brand - Advanced Placement

Education Revolution: Media Literacy For Political Awareness w/ Sam Shain

Teaching in the United States has never been more fraught, as teachers across the country are implicitly or explicitly forced to avoid certain topics, texts, and questions that have been labeled divisive, controversial, or - worse yet - political. Of course, these topics also tend to be the most immediate & important, and are accompanied by intense mis- & disinformation - the reality of climate change, systemic racism, COVID-19, and the outcomes of our electoral system.

The gap has never been wider between our vital need to teach critical media literacy and our ability. To do. Just that.

Learning Series

Two Edufuturism events have dropped this month, with one more on game design on the way!

Let's Rethink Everything (with games!): Join Seth Coster, co-founder and developer at Butterscotch Shenanigans who has created the popular series Levelhead and Crashlands to talk about game design philosophy. How do game designers incorporate design principles? How do designers ensure that players not only learn how to play their games, but engage with them? What works and doesn’t work? Explore these concepts and more as we brainstorm new classrooms through the lens of game design principles! An exciting opportunity for educators to branch out to new fields and connect to their own practice.

Elegant Design: In this session, we will explore how video game designers think about mechanics: what to elaborate on, what to cut, and what's going right and wrong. These elegant mechanics are the formation for beautifully designed games: often only doing a couple things well rather than adding the entire kitchen sink. Well-crafted classroom protocols such as portfolio check-ins, certification processes, design thinking, conversation norming, can be simple and elegant. However, it can be difficult to think about elegant mechanics in school because so many school policies are just not simple. Instead, we have to think about what to get rid of to simplify learning. We will collaborating brainstorm elegant systems for use in human-centered classrooms.

Gamifying the Classroom: Q&A w/ Adrian Hon (March 18th @ 11AM ET): Join Adrian Hon, author of You’ve Been Played: How Corporations, Governments, and Schools Use Games to Control Us All. Adrian is an award-winning video game designer and is the CEO and founder of Six to Start, co-creator of the world’s most successful smartphone fitness game, Zombies, Run! He previously was the director of play, creating alternative reality games, at Mind Candy Gamification is a long-standing practice across lesson planning and educational technology, but it doesn’t always work out the way we expect. At the end of the day, if the nature of the task is not interesting, then what we’re creating is more about compliance than engagement. In this session, we will host a conversation on what it means to gamify content, learning, and pedagogy: recognizing potential success while advising for potential pitfalls.

...and more:

Writing: The Last of Us: Rehumanizing Mathematics For A Higher Purpose

"Rehumanizing mathematics? We’re not even close. In fact, it’s time to give up on that flower blooming in the torched soil of today’s education–which has doubled-down on testing and appeasing those who believe in competition/performance for societal productivity." writes Sunil Singh.

Event: Join us at NCTE in Columbus, OH!

We're happy to announce that Human Restoration Project will be presenting on AI, human-centered learning, and pedagogy at NCTE in Columbus, Ohio this November.

Let's restore humanity to education, together.

This work is brought to you by our supporters, three of whom are Sumer Unnisa, Jason Arnold, and Marquis McMurray!

Your support means the world to us. HRP is a 501(c)3 organization and your support is tax deductible. We greatly appreciate your support. If possible, please help us out and share our work far and wide!

Chris McNutt
Chris McNutt is the co-founder and executive director of Human Restoration Project, a nonprofit organization focused on student engagement, well-being, and motivation. His work centers on realizing systems-based change, examining how progressive pedagogical shifts (e.g. PBL, ungrading) reimagine school to best suit the needs of students and teachers alike. He was a public high school digital media & design educator who focused on experiential learning, portfolio-driven assessment, and community involvement.
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