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UnCommon Learning

UnCommon Learning
Creating Schools That Work for Kids

Co-publication with Learning Forward

264 pages | Corwin
This book, UnCommon Learning, challenges school leaders to adopt a growth mindset and to undertake specific actions with regard to digital media and school change. The book provides a process for schools to initiate sustainable change resulting in a transformation of the learning culture to one that works better in our digital age and resonates with our students. It lays out the elements necessary for establishing innovative initiatives that will enhance learning while increasing relevance to personalize both the school and learning experience for all students. 
1. The Challenges That Schools Face
2. Culture Shock
3. Digital Learning Across the Curriculum
4. Makerspaces
5. Blended and Virtual Learning
6. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
7. Digital Badges and Micro-Credentials
8. Academies and Smaller Learning Communities
9. Connected Learning
10. Schools That Work For Students
Appendices A-D

“In Digital Leadership, Eric Sheninger trail blazed the path many educational leaders followed to become digitally connected and now, in Uncommon Learning, he gets right to the heart of exactly what we need to do to create schools designed to empower today’s students. Eric doesn’t just talk about change; he has actually led change in his system and his story is both inspirational and filled with practical tips for implementation.“

Dave Burgess
New York Times Best Selling author of Teach Like a PIRATE and co-author of P is Pirate: Inspirational ABC’s for Educators

"Educational transformation can happen and this book tells how. In UnCommon Learning, former teacher and school principal Eric Sheninger shares practical strategies and processes to create sustainable positive changes to better serve our children."

Yong Zhao, Author of World Class Learners and Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job

"Every educator who truly wants to maximize the learning opportunity for every student will benefit from the thought provoking questions, challenges and solutions Eric provides in UnCommon Learning. He artfully provides a roadmap for creating a bold new vision for learning for both educators and students through empowerment, mindset change, blended learning, re-designing instructional practices through a true integration of digital strategies to enable students to be creative, problem solvers and owners of their learning. His lessons learned and those of  teachers will provide schools with the foundation for transforming their schools for uncommon learning."

Susan Gendron, President
International Center for Leadership in Education

"Eric's vision and collection of resources to create a student-centred learning experience for schools is something that all educators should read. Although he shares great ideas on what opportunities could look like, he challenges us to push our own thinking of what school could really look like and move forward to become the innovative educators our students need."

George Couros
Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Consultant

"With a strikingly fresh and practical perspective,  Eric Sheninger takes contemporary learning to a new level of possibility with UnCommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids. Educators throughout the world agree that we need to support "right-now" learners,  but the big question is HOW to transform the schools in our own communities. Eric has created a modern leading-manual which promises to be a must have classic for principals, headmasters, administrators, parents, and teachers. If our students read the book they will find an advocate. Sheninger's thinking on learning communities, curriculum, digital tools, networking, and makerspaces is genuinely designed to work for kids of all ages."

Heidi Hayes Jacobs
Author and international expert on contemporary curriculum and instruction

"UnCommon Learning is a book that is long overdue! In this most important book for educators at all levels, Eric Sheninger has put into writing what he has “preached’ all over the country for years – that in order to effectively maximize student learning, the technology that is all around us cannot be ignored but instead must be incorporated into the classroom learning process. UnCommon Learning will prove to be a game-changer for how we educate children!"


Baruti Kafele Principal, Education Consultant, Speaker, Author

"Unlike so many experts offering prescriptions for our beleaguered schools, Eric Sheninger has walked the walk, running an actual school and striving each day to make it better. In UnCommon Learning, his ideas, born out of real experience, not wishful thinking, will resonate with smart educators who have seen the Next Big Thing come and go with little to show. Our kids deserve to be surrounded by educators like Sheninger who are willing to examine their own prejudices and practices, then think long and hard about what needs to change."

Greg Toppo,National Education writer and author of The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter
USA Today

Uncommon Learning is a narrative-style written textbook which made it very easy to read. It offers a ton of examples educators are using and is very applicable to current educators working in the field. Author Eric Sheninger continues to expand upon building schools to meet the needs of 21st Century Learners. I would suggest it as a book study for schools.

Dr Brian Cook
Education Dept, Salisbury University
January 15, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Eric C. Sheninger

Eric is a Senior Fellow and Thought Leader on Digital Leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). Prior to this, he was the award-winning Principal at New Milford High School. Under his leadership, his school became a globally recognized model for innovative practices. Eric oversaw the successful implementation of several sustainable change initiatives that radically transformed the learning culture at his school while increasing achievement. His work focuses on leading and learning in the digital age as a model for moving schools and districts forward. This has led to the formation of the ... More About Author