Future of Learning Top Reads for week of July 30 2018

Photo by  Ryoji Iwata  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

"School without grade levels?" by Chris Berdik / @chrisberdik, in the Hechinger Report

"The goal is to stop tethering teaching to 'seat time' — where students are grouped by age and taught at a uniform, semester pace — and instead adopt competency-based education, in which students progress through skills and concepts by demonstrating proficiency.

"That alone isn't unusual; a majority of states now allow competency-based pilot programs, and many schools have fully implemented the approach. What makes Northern Cass notable is that very few mainstream schools, let alone districts, have set out to topple grade levels."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

Competency-based programs are the essential precursor to decoupling learning from age-based cohorts (i.e., "grade levels").

It is interesting to see this "signal from the edge" collect strength in public schools rather than private schools (the Montessori model being the notable exception). Independent schools that compete with public schools should pay attention to this signal.

Of note: some Mastery Transcript Consortium schools may choose to eliminate grade levels after they have implemented a mastery-based approach.


"Can a Huge Online College Solve California's Work-Force Problems?" by Karin Fischer / @karinfischer, in The Chronicle of Higher Education

"The college's scale, if successful, could allow it to go all in on wholesale change, like investing in intensive advising or a state-of-the-art mentoring model. Or it could seed multiple experimental approaches and identify what sticks. It could be distance education's largest demonstration project, a giant guinea pig."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

An online college for working adults, and especially for lower income Californians, might seem like a world apart from the concerns of K12 education, but consider second and third order effects.

If an online college can prototype "a state-of-the-art mentoring model," how might that prompt secondary schools to reimagine when and where students learn? For example, with online state-of-the-art mentoring, could motivated learners use "latent" time--e.g., a couple of weeks during the summer--to accelerate their learning without requiring an infrastructure change at the school level? And if so, how might that impact how quickly learners can fulfill high school graduation requirements? And how might that, in turn, impact tuition cycles?

This signal is out at the edge, but we will continue to monitor its frequency and amplitude...


"Universities Partner with Cities to Boost Budgets for Technology Budgets," by Eli Zimmerman, in EdTech Magazine

"Across the country, university administrators and city officials are combining resources and knowledge to create technology centers, offering students the opportunity to push the boundaries of innovation and enticing entrepreneurial graduates to move to cities."

Why does this matter to the future of learning?

As we have previously noted in our Educational Hype Cycle model, public-private partnerships are an emerging trend. Such partnerships can produce value not only for higher ed, but also for savvy K12 schools.

To be clear, tech and innovation partnerships represent just one way to create win-win scenarios. Other possibilities might include things like design challenges (e.g., "How might we reduce our community's reliance on plastic?") or a community-as-service-learning-laboratory, just to name a couple.


Question of the week: 

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