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  • “If information delivery could happen at the student’s time and pace, couldn’t the physical classroom transform itself?”
  • real education involves real people / face to face interaction; interactivity with material (assessment tools); and community / project-based-learning that integrates school with outside world
  • current model is we batch students together, usually by age, and we move them forward at a set pace (independent of their abilities or knowledge or understanding / content acquisition)
  • imagine if we did other things in our life that way
    • home building: we have 3 weeks to build the foundation; inspector comes in, gives it a C, and we move on to the next step; this continues with each step until the house collapses; contractor, inspector, etc. are blamed but ultimately the problem is the artificial constraints on the acquisition / completion
  • create a system that allows students to progress at the A / mastery level at their own pace
  • other things do this: martial arts focuses on mastery and doesn’t allow progression until mastery is achieved
  • [This approach allows not only remediation / focus on those struggling but also acceleration. Imagine a curriculum in which a student works at a mastery pace, so that if one masters what would traditionally be offered at the high school level, that student can then move beyond the constraints of the traditional high school curriculum as time allows.
  • [A degree / report card would be awarded / given based on the level of mastery, so it would no longer look like an A in math but rather a level achieved; the higher level achieved distinguishes one student from another.]
  • [How would the mastery approach look for the humanities?]
  • the metacognitive skill is arguably more important than any content
  • the shift from a fixed to a growth mindset
  • a fixed mindset says that one’s abilities / ‘smarts’ are fixed and cannot be changed, i.e. one is good at one subject and bad at another
  • a growth mindset says that all students can learn and improve
  • KA releasing sites in other languages: Spanish now, others on the way?
  • all aspects of site, from content / videos to navigation are in the language (i.e. it’s not just a translation of the existing English site into another language)
  • I asked about the mastery approach as it applies to more open-ended subjects, like writing.
  • The answer was interesting. He focused on peer-to-peer work (which I’m somewhat dubious about) with the aid of a rubric.
  • He also talked about the importance of a portfolio as a representation of what a student can do, which I thought was a much more viable answer / approach.
  • I’ve thought about portfolios in the past and have not yet found a good vehicle for them, but I wonder if I should revisit that and see what I can come up with.
  • I imagine that, in a mastery context, having a student produce something open-ended (say, an analytical paper) a set number of times at a given level might be possible, but I wonder still what that would look like.

An excellent speaker and an inspiring talk. I kind of want to home school my kids now…. Or at least get them doing some enrichment work (but I also don’t want to become one of those crazy parents).

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