The Motivation Equation

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 2.11.26 PMThe upcoming new ibook by Kathleen Cushman, “The Motivation Equation,” stands to expand on her pioneering work in leveraging students’ voices in shaping learning environments, pedagogical practices, and transforming how we talk about learning. And thank goodness.

Often missing from our education discourse is, ironically, the most important element of our education system: the learners.

In this newest endeavor (you can read an early release of the book for a limited time here), Kathleen seeks to provide information on “designing lessons that set minds free.” QED’s Chief Education Officer, Kim Carter, had this to say after reading the book:

Motivation is the holy grail of learning. Who doesn’t believe if learners are motivated, they have a much greater likelihood of successful learning?  From the Introduction’s explanation that “motivation is not something you have at the start” to its Appendices packed with additional resources, The Motivation Equation is brilliant on so many levels.  Let me name four:

  1. Kathleen’s synthesis of the essential mind, brain and education science related to motivation into 8 steps or conditions is mind-bogglingly clear.
  2. More importantly, the 8 steps are readily accessible and practical.
  3. The Motivation Equation is rich with student voices – offering a “unique ‘trialogue’ among students, teachers, and learning scientists” – which anchor the steps and the research in familiar realities.
  4. The Motivation Equation is the best (ever) use of the e-book medium that I have seen to date. Unerring integration of sound and video clips, call-out boxes for brief bios and research notes, links to additional resources, survey templates, and protocols for engaging learners in exploring their own motivation represent a treasure trove of value-added resources.

Still need convincing to check it out? Visit WKCD‘s new website, How Youth Learn, for research highlights and videos of student voices.

Why Giving Matters More than Taking

Below is a guest post by Nia Robinson, a 15-year old student and change agent. She has started a campaign to raise money for All Kinds of Minds. Here is her motivation.

For most people, the holidays have became a time of receiving gifts. To challenge this concept, I decided to do something I have wanted to do for a while. I asked for donations rather than gifts this year.

I plan to donate it to a charity. Being that education is one of the most important things in my life, I looked for organizations geared toward learning. All Kinds of Minds is an organization that represents what I believe in. I thought it was the best idea to give to others who give to others. The individuals I have spoken with involved with at the QED Foundation and All Kinds of Minds have been more than kind.

People who are passionate about what they do motivate me to do more and create change in the world.


Well, over the past few years I’ve noticed that people are more willing to take than give. This goes with everything from the holidays to everyday life. I think our society has evolved due to more technology and inventions.

This is a good thing, but this change also changes the mindset of people. I think if everyone saw more people giving, they would have more of a push to give. Also, if children had role models that taught them this and demonstrated it we could change this trend.

Giving could be as simple as saying thank you to people who have helped you throughout life. It could also be as large as philanthropy of large sums. I just believe there should be more done to give, and instead of taking, we should receive. With giving, comes receiving. Then the endless cycle of giving will begin.

Image: Your Secret Admiral