I came up with a set of professional goals before I graduated college, and they have never left me: work with smart people to tackle difficult problems, create elegant solutions, for something of value. This week has been another link in that chain!
All this week I have been able to sit in with a dynamic team from Poway Unified School District as they prepare for a unique meeting tomorrow with a group of potential partner/vendors on building an adaptive learning system. The system will be piloted when PUSD opens a new K-8 in 2014 that focuses on truly meeting the needs of every child. These are smart folks. Check. Building an adaptive or differentiated learning system is a complicated, multi-faceted problem that no one has solved yet. Check. An elegant solution is out there, but it will take time to imagine, prototype, fail, tweak, and massage. Check. Truly differentiated and adaptive learning, where teachers can do what they do best; leverage computing powers; engage student ownership of their learning; outcomes rise along with things like passion and engagement. Yep. Real value. Check.
First we had to build a frame for our picture. (I am the least savvy teacher in the room, but I am great at asking questions which push the discussion!) How are we trying to improve service? What has changed that drives us to seek an adaptive learning solution? What is the problem we are trying to solve? We have taken a massive brainstorm of ideas around the concepts of pedagogy, curriculum, staffing, grouping, assessment, and dashboard reporting, and are washing those through various filters of priority. What do we need first? What is the easiest to develop? Which gather data and which require analytics?
Now we have to paint a picture in the frame, and tomorrow share with a disparate group of potential partner/vendors so they “get it”. Great idea yesterday: lead with a few teachers each telling a short story of a fictional student and how this system might work to that students’ benefit.
Yes, you wish you were in the room for this. Vastly more to report to you in the weeks and months to come. Like my EdJourney last fall, I get to spend time with great educators and see/help the future evolve!