A New Learning Ecology

Institute for Global Civic Culture (2009-2011)

IGCC was a non profit organization founded by Thomas Steele-Maley 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.

GlobalCiv (2010-2013)

Global Civ outlasted the Institute as a multi-year design-based research project and learning partnership between Thomas Steele-Maley 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.

Global Civ will operate year round on a block schedule that will feature interdisciplinary and eventually integrated curriculum that is flexible to learner needs and travel requirements. Mentors who are specialists and generalists work directly with students in the planning process for each block and have appropriate time to develop rigorous and standards based independent curriculum that is relevant, applied, and personalized.
Through project based eLearning, individuals co-create powerful learning experiences for themselves and with other young people around the world. Individual learners are responsible for creating a dynamic record of their learning process with ePortfolios and they connect with the world through a system of web based project management|collaboration, mobile learning, and web conferencing.

Leveraging Local and International Partners.

Global Civ will leverage local and international partners to tailor the learning experience to the learner. The outcome will be the construction of interesting, relevant, and applied learning spaces that scaffold knowledge and skills acquisition while also promoting the analysis and synthesis of information. Global Civ will promote the critical thinking skills necessary to solve the 21st centuries toughest problems. Partners will include other learners from North America and around the world, farmers, marine biologists, artists, web designers, international business people, United Nations Officials, researchers, writers and more.

Project Pods

Individual learners will link into learning communities both locally and internationally to work on social, economic, and environmental issues that span cultures, polities and systems.

Problem Solving ~ Accountability ~ Rigor

Focused on the identification and framing of relevant “problems”, Global Civ learners are responsible for their learning and accountable for the outcomes that will define their understanding of a broad range of knowledge domains, their local communities and the world. Global Civ will meet internationally recognized standards*.

A Vision

IGCC has a vision to make high quality learning cost effective and available to individuals around the world. We will be a learning catalyst for global leaders both young and adult  from all backgrounds working together to meet the challenges of the 21st century and a word without borders.

More Details

Thank you for your interest in the work of IGCC and our Pilot Program Global Civ.  Contact us for more information or to find out about international partnership possibilities.


Human Experience Core Program (HE)

Core Questions and Guided Inquiry Topics

What does it mean to be Human and Alive?
The Human Experience core starts with the fundamental questions about humans and their relationship to themselves, their communities and an Interdependent world. This core program seeks to clarify the most elemental questions young people generate about their surroundings and the world.
Topics Covered: Global Studies (World History, World Literature, Philosophy and Geography); Biology (With Field Science Laboratory); Algebra 1 and Geometry; Spanish, Chinese or Arabic; Academic Writing; Visual Arts; Twenty-First Century Literacy intensive.
Travel: Regional Travel Component

North American Experience Core Program (NAE)

Core Questions and Guided Inquiry Topics

Society ~ Environment ~ Economy
Integrated, multidisciplinary, and single subject blocks will be interwoven for the 2010-2011 NAE Core program. These blocks will meet state, national, and international standards in the following domains: Humanities, Social Sciences, Experimental Sciences, Quantitative Reasoning, Service LearningThe North American Experience Core Program is a year long endeavor that immerses the Global Civ Fellow in place based studies.  Taking a systems thinking approach, NAE provides a framework for the study, action and reflection necessary to ensure an enduring understanding of ones place in North America and the world.Understanding place has become seminal for the 21st century global citizen. NAE engages place based learning in a new and exciting way. Through deep inquiry into a local ecoregion the learner will gain an understanding of the intricate systems of the society, economy and environment there. This new relationship with place leads to an understanding of the broader world systems we are a part of. NAE encompasses the traditional knowledge domains of humanities, social sciences, experimental sciences, and quantitative reasoning. These domains are woven together with socially relevant project based learning to construct an “ecology” of learning that inspires a sustainable narrative for the individual and their life long learning process. Coupled with domain knowledge integration, the NAE program allows for learning through strong and varied partnerships with local specialists, organic farms, organizations, agencies, businesses, and government. These partnerships serve as a foundation for a learners understanding and appropriate participation in regional and global issues.
Topics Covered: North American History and Literature (or Place Based Equivalent) ; Green Chemistry (With Field Science Laboratory); Algebra 2 and Trigonometry; Spanish, Chinese or Arabic; Visual Arts; Academic Writing; Twenty-First Century Literacy.
Travel: Continental Travel Component

Global Studies Core Program (GS)

Core Questions and Guided Inquiry Topics

Society ~ Environment ~ Economy
The Global Studies Core program will focus on our interaction in an Interdependent world. This core program seeks to enable the learning community to understand world culture as members of a Global Civic Culture. Issues in conservation biology, world heritage preservation, cultural relativism, new political systems and sustainability studies are considered.
Topics Covered: Global Studies (Comparative Politics, Comparative Sociology, International Political Economy, Global Literature); Ecology (With Field Science Laboratory); Computer Science, Pre-Calculus, Discrete Mathematics, or choice involving logic and technology; Spanish, Chinese or Arabic; Visual Arts; Academic Writing; Twenty-first Century Skills.
Travel: International Travel Component

Ecoregions Core Program (ECOR)

Core Questions and Guided Inquiry Topics

Individually Planned
The Ecoregions core program is an independent capstone year for Global Civ Fellows.
Topics Covered: Individually Planned.
Travel: Suggested bit up to individualized plan of study.

Block Portfolio’s

Curriculum and NAE program details have been constructed and are being tested in our pilot project.  Information will be released in 2011.

eLearning Ecology

A Learning Ecology Framework

The visionary approach to learning embodied in an integrated and integrative curricular core will be intensified through eLearning. This nexus between highly student centric curriculum and eLearning will provide the learning community with a new learning ecology. This ecology will further the IGCC vision as it allows young people and their communities both local and global to connect in authentic and effective and exciting ways.

eLearning systems

A project based and collaboration rich Cloud Learning Environment that features Mahara, Project Foundry, and Elluminate enable our learning spaces to have a flexible system to work within the institute’s many project based learning endeavors. Throughout the first year of operations and then on a continual basis, the whole community of Global Civ will find and validate new eLearning tools for the proliferation of our learning spaces. This integrative process will allow for young people to use and develop the technologies they see as integral to their learning.


IGCC’s learning ecology will provide the frameworks necessary to utilize mLearning in expansive ways. Mobile Learning using, iPhones, netbooks, and other portable tools will take learning in highly dynamic situations to a new level.

Pioneering Learners

Our Fellows

Free, Dynamic, Unique, and Inspired

The Ideal Global Civ Fellows are free, dynamic, and unique individuals from age 14-19. They are inspired by living in the twenty-first century and seek relevant learning experiences as they shape a new global society, economy and environment. They are activists, young intellectuals, and learners who strive for learning in a new and challenging and non-traditional environment. We believe that these individuals will be are the core of any new learning ecology.

A Fellow must approach learning as a culture in our endeavor. As stated in the mission of Global Civ “learners are responsible for their learning and accountable for the outcomes that will define their understanding of a broad range of knowledge domains, their local communities and the world.” To be successful with a learning ecology, a Fellow will need to be self- directed, assertive, and resourceful. All stakeholders will cultivate these characteristics in students who demonstrate a desire to achieve them.

Starting with one North American fellow for our initial Pilot Project in 2010-2011 we will evaluate our needs for growth and announce our plans for growth in 2011. Depending on curricular development and partnership development we would hope to offer a minimum of 40 full fellowships to young people from North America and around the world by 2013. More will be released on the core development of frameworks, recruiting dates, and potential programs for 2011-2012 in 2011.