Lightning Talk: Abolishing the traditional high school structure

Update: You can view the actual talk on YouTube.

There is much in public education that works well; more than is often reported in the current political climate.  But there is also much about education that is done poorly.  When education is done poorly, it can be traumatic to many people.  Competency-based education restructures the school environment in a profound way.  Recent education research shows that competency education can be really effective.  However, almost every school that implements competency education runs into similar technical issues.

The following document gives a one-page overview of competency education, and an outline for some open tools that would help schools implement competency education efficiently:

A one-page overview of competency education, and some open tools that can support competency ed.

A one-page overview of competency education, and some open tools that can support competency ed.

Here is a slideshow covering the same material:

We are starting to work on the first piece, opencompetencies.  You might want to visit the github repo.  If you have questions or comments about this project, please get in touch!


About ehmatthes

Teacher, hacker, new dad, outdoor guy
This entry was posted in education, programming and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lightning Talk: Abolishing the traditional high school structure

  1. Joe says:

    I’m working on some proprietary tools around mathematics assessment and curriculum planning. And as my partner and I have been working on that, we’ve imagined that it would be ideal to have some kind of open framework/api for those modules (and more) to communicate. So, I might develop a proprietary tool for mathematics competency assessment that someone else’s (speaking in your framework) broader competency tracker can interface with nicely. And then someone else’s goal setting module can interface nicely with that competency tracker. If we all speak a common API we can develop (on any revenue or lack-thereof model) an a la carte system.

    I’m not really adding to anything to what you’ve written; just expressing interest and common thoughts.

    Any interest in working in village YK Delta? We’ve got a couple hacker teachers forming a district-wide math department up here. Better pay, but SE might be better for your kid and I don’t know if there’d be a position for your wife this year.

    • ehmatthes says:

      Hi Joe,

      I completely agree that we need an open framework for ed tech modules to communicate. I think that is one of the values of creating the middle piece of the system, the open curriculum builder. Making that component requires nailing down some terms for how we organize learning experiences. We will be forced to identify meaningful and trademark-free terms to specify a structure for learning.

      I also believe there is room for open and proprietary pieces in the ed tech ecosystem. However, I firmly believe that no proprietary solution will enable widespread systemic change in a minimal timeframe. That can only be fostered by free and open tools, which remove purchasing friction from the adoption process.

      Thanks for the invite, but my wife and I are not up for moving to an even more remote part of the state. It might be good to create a google hangout at some point, because the only other real hacker I know in my town is one of my students.

      Thanks for the response, and feel free to get in touch.

      – Eric

  2. I’m still upset I missed your talk itself – I’ve seen several videos of lightning talks since the con ended, but haven’t found yours yet. If I do, I’ll post it here.

    If anyone else finds one, please do the same:)

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