Connection to Life and Slow Science. Deep University enjoins learners to connect deeply to every aspect of their lives. Connecting to ourselves and to our own movement within life helps connecting body and mind, and connecting to spirituality, to the natural rhythms that guide us. In many countries, schools have rigid control structures in place and are driven by standardized curricula that ensure uniform outcomes. On the contrary deep, slow education is about supporting students to develop values and ethics that will enable them to live a joyous life. Deep learning is in slow schools that connect students to wisdom, to a moral purpose and all that is important in life. Slow education respects the deep natural flow of the learner and adapts the curriculum to the natural learning rhythms in the way it is delivered, focusing on the learning process rather than the outcomes only.
Connectivity is one of the principles of new physics: universal connectivity is its fundamental postulate, which puts forth the corresponding metaphysics, as defining the nature of matter and mind, freedom and morality, and design versus evolution. This lays the groundwork for the non-materialist and non-reductionist yet rigorous paradigm that is likely to signal the next revolution in science: the "paradigm of universal connectivity" (Laszlo, 2003).
DEEP UNIVERSITY PRINCIPLES
Openness. An open system is a system whose borders are permeable which allows it to interact with other systems. This is the idea of mini campuses working as a network along with partner universities that build their deep programs. An open curriculum engages teacher and student in a personalized and customized learning process. Learners and teachers negotiate what topic and contents they want to cover in which way, what schedule of tasks is involved in self-determined or team-based educative projects, what practice to do and how to address the concepts in action. Teachers and students must work closely in an open curriculum school, so class sizes tend to be small.
Flow. The flow principle which describes the experiences of intrinsically motivated learners who are engaged in a project or an experience chosen for its own sake. Under certain conditions, people's experiences are optimal. Optimal experiences are accompanied by a merging of action and awareness, a strong focus on the task and a loss of awareness of time. Deep University aims at addressing the challenge of creating flow environments in higher education.
Holistic learning. relates to experiential learning and learning by doing, while action is balanced with a profound knowledge of details. Its philosophy is based on the premise that each learner finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to human values like compassion and peace. It calls forth from people an intrinsic reverence for life and a passionate love of learning. Holistic education is a transformative approach to learning. Rather than being seen as a transmission of information, holistic education changes the frame of reference of the learner.
Respect for diversity and service learning. The critical examination of culture and society, at the intersection of race, law and power, implies a better listening to and respect of differences. The integration of critical awareness and action guides service learning in the pursuit of equality and social justice. Service in neighborhoods that are socioculturally different implies new forms of integrated and experiential learning with levels of engagement that stimulate identity change.
Respect for deep ecology. Efforts to build a sustainable world cannot succeed unless young generations learn how to partner with natural systems to our mutual benefit. Eco-literacy find connections in seemingly disjointed problems, helps perceive patterns instead of pieces, and design communities based on the interrelatedness of all life.
Self-determined, self-regulated learning. Self-Determination enables learners to be the causal agents of their educational lives as they direct their own learning, individually or in a team. Students become self-regulated problem solvers and set their own goals, take action, self-evaluate and adjust their plans as needed. They assume the responsibility for content choices, decisions and actions. This intrinsically motivating model is at the core of instruction at Deep University.
Sustainable, life long learning represent a technology through which the movement of learning gets interiorized an intrinsic dimension of life and growth, through constant adaptation to new environments.
Transdisciplinarity crosses disciplinary boundaries to integrate knowledge into social action. It borrows from various discipline to solve world problems, thus building a form of unity of knowledge and wisdom. Deep, transdisciplinary action encompasses several levels of Reality, the logic of the included middle, and complexity. Its principle is at the core of curriculum reforms that target deep learning in education.