Saturday, February 2, 2013

5 key reasons we are poised to take the next step

“There is nothing more resistant to change than the public school system.” - Joel Klein

Joel Klein is the CEO of Amplify, an innovative education technology company.  He was the Chancellor of New York City Public Schools.  He was on the Foreign Relations Committee that described our public school systems as national security risks.  In other words, he is a mover and shaker in education.

Much of what he says about education is spot on correct.  The same can be said about U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former Governor Jeb Bush.  They can all agree that accountability with standardized testing is narrowing the curriculum and forcing teachers to teach to the test, and still push policies that make it the law of the land.

In a recent article with Ed Tech Magazine, however, he stuck to areas that we can mostly agree on.  21st century learning is not simply about adopting technology for education.  The right innovative technologies for education are tools that empower students to learn.  From there, Joel Klein offered 5 key reasons why our national school system is poised to take the next step toward full-scale technology integration.

1.     The Common Core
2.     Economics
3.     More Blended Instruction
4.     Younger Instructors
5.     Investor Interest

Official Coach Lerning Academies is a 21st century concept of education and has been influenced by all of these reasons.

1.  Common Core

Common Core is a set of education standards adopted by states.  I remember being excited about Core Knowledge and the adoption of state standards.  For the first time, educators were able to agree on at least a state level what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level. Common Core brings this uniformity to the national level. 

Official Coach Lerning Academies does not lock students at grade levels by age.  We do, however, assess mastery by comparing actual performance with the Common Core and state standards.  This makes our program universally acceptable across states.
2.  Economics

Our current education system is based on a late 19th century industrial age based model of schooling meant to prepare students for simple factory work.  It is based on an economic system of mass production, monopoly, and profit maximization through cost cutting and reduction of staff.   That system of schooling is not working well in the 21st century. 

Innovation in technology has brought us Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.  Students now have direct access to information anywhere (except most public schools) through tablets and smart phones.  Technology has also provided analytics that measure individual student progress as it happens.  No longer need to wait for the return of state tests to know how a student performed the previous school year.  21st century is not about mass production of students.

Official Coach Lerning Academies provide options for students to chose from to personalize their learning.  Students also have a say in their challenged-based projects.  Mobile learning technologies also provide flexibility that includes universal membership in all of the academies as opposed to a single brick and mortar schoolhouse.

3.  More Blended Learning.

Official Coach Lerning Academies is a firm supporter of blended learning.   Official Coach Lerning Academies is a 21st century concept of education.  We blend online gamified story lines with project-based mastery at our centers.  In one form or another, we provide education 24 hours a day for seven days a week all year.  And students have universal membership at all of the academies!

4.  Younger Instructors

As an educator, I know better than to discount the value of veteran master teachers.  Younger does not mean better.  The next generation of educators, however, must be trained differently.  The focus must be on students learning and not teachers covering content.  Future educators must be facilitators and coaches.  They must have, among others skills, the ability to code and create interactive digital desktop authorship products.

Official Coach Lerning Academies are regionally accredited independent study schools with facilitators and tutors to guide students through their education experience. 

5.  Investor Interest

There has been significant interest and investment in developing educational technologies.  I will honestly state that Official Coach Lerning Academies has not yet develop a single innovative software for education.  We rely on what has already been created by others and out on the market.  We do not intend to recreate the wheel.  Instead, we rely on 21st century mashup of technologies to make what is uniquely our own.  Anyone can do it.  At the very least, we aim to show that we can do it.

We will continue to explore the uniqueness of Official Coach Lerning Academies in future posts.  Thank you for visiting.  To learn more, please continue to visit our blog and follow Official Coach Lerning Academies on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you.