Here is the final logo design for this site:
It is worth talking about what I like about it since I plan to live with it for the next 10 years or so.
The tree has classically been a symbol for education. Not only is it the seal of the US Department of Education, but the image has long been associated with knowledge ... perhaps even going back to the Garden of Eden concepts. Who knows, but I like plants. I like their living and changing nature. I like their cycles and rhythms. I spent much of my formative years working on a farm, so it resonates deeply with me. I particularly like how Ken Robinson talks about creating the conditions of growth for a student and that educators are much more like gardeners than factory workers. That makes a great deal of sense to me.
But, the leaves are just the byproduct of a hidden, and just as important system: the roots. And, to me, that is actually the more meaningful part of the logo for this site.
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Part 1 E
Ever since I first saw that quote used by Larry Lessig in talking about money in politics, I have loved it. In Walden, Thoreau was talking more about evil in particular and how those with good intentions and money sometimes actually make a problem worse, but the idea of something below the surface ... a "root cause" ... that sticks with me. Thoreau wanted to make sure his efforts at helping society actually impacted the roots of our challenges. For me personally, I do not want to take away from the work of so many that are actively trying to improve education. That work is needed and it actually more directly impacts the learner in real time. But, without impacting the underlying system, those same branches of evil must be pruned year after year.
Thus, much of the point of this website, and the work I hope to do over the next decade, is much more concerned with the roots of our schools rather than the parts most of us see. I'm very much convinced that the part of our schools most holding us back is the structural roots of the system which are still very much tied to early 20th century factory mentalities. The roots of the high school "credit" by disciplines (biology, algebra, calculus, European history, etc.), for instance, are deep. And, even though many have called for change, the roots persist and thus high schools do not change.
I also really like the blending between the inorganic circuits and the organic leaves. That same blending between inorganic and organic exists within our schools. Learning is a very organic endeavor amongst humans but schooling is a quite inorganic technological system. When things work right, the distinction between the two is rather seamless ... but ask a middle school student and they can already identify when the inorganic system loses touch with their organic reality.
So, that's it. For those that care, I used 99 Designs to help craft it with the winning design (this one) coming from a designer in Portugal.