Archive for the ‘eSATS design’ Category

00719 eSATS 3 Scenario Redesign

October 8, 2010

From the date above, you can see that I am a couple of months behind on my weekly blog. I will be catching up over the next few months. The main reason is a combination of vacation activities and hours a day committed to the redesign of the 2004 eLearning System for Arizona’s Teachers and Students (eSATS) design document.

For the past 6 years, we have attended hundreds of community organization and legislative gatherings, collected their ideas, studied the experts and research, and synthesized this information into the redraft. The 2010 eSATS draft recasts the K12 transformation effort into Grand Challenge mode. The heart of the challenge is for eLearning adoption to transform education which in turn reverses the downward spiral of workforce capability and employment, and economic development and prosperity. The 60 pages include new graphics and a revised 10 year time line based on three scenarios:

Freeze eSATS: holds eLearning at the existing 5% of learning but builds data decision support systems, broadband telecommunications to all communities, and increases legacy teacher professional development by a factor of ten. This low probability scenario maintains the current 68% graduation rate and is the baseline for the next two scenarios.

Current eSATS: forecasts a continuation of low growth of eLearning from 5% to a 30% level. There is State support, but most progress is by District/School initiatives. This scenario aligns with the current national trend. Graduation rate is increases to 80% due to significantly higher but fragmented motivation to learn and academic achievement.

Full eSATS: has Arizona doing a carpe diem with adoption of the eSATS Grand Challenge design. The State builds out 21st century class intellectual infrastructure and physical infrastructure to support adoption at the District/School level. Finance, laws and regulations are changed, costs savings due to accelerated learning pay most of the bill, and eLearning savvy teachers get a 15% raise over normal inflation. Districts and Schools refocus the teacher professional development to produce eLearning savvy teachers, install 1:1 computing interfaces for students and effective digital curriculum and content for every class. The individualized, competency based education for all students results in not only a graduation rate of 95% but students are prepared for post-secondary careers and education. Arizona becomes the vision, poster child, and center of the vortex for eLearning transformation of the Nation’s education system.

eSATS task team had a fruitful meeting on Friday, September 17th. We addressed how we can use this design to influence dozens of community organizations and hundreds of Arizona leaders to embrace K12 eLearning as the main dish on their plate to “fix” education.

We are redoing our web site and it will be up shortly. If you want a copy of the 2010 “Grand Challenge, Transforming Arizona’s K12 Education by Adopting an eLearning Systems Design” August 2010, send me an email.

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00621 K12 is Risky Business

October 8, 2010

ames Bagian – a NASA astronaut, engineer and currently a hospital patient safety expert engaged by the Veteran’s Administration at their National Center for Patient Safety – was recently interviewed by Kathryn Schultz in her series on “being wrong.” Their discussion focused was on health care safety vs. aviation safety.

Aviation is a highly hazardous industry, but it has so much safety designed into the system, there is very little risk of a bad event. The field has a systems perspective, and there is a huge investment in safety. They are not interested in punishing the individual but rather learning what led up to the event and how to change the system to prevent a repeat in the future.

In his current job with the VA, Bagian found the opposite. Health care is all about,”finding out who made the mistake and punishing them for being stupid.” The profession trains them “the right way” and then blames them for mistakes. But a systems analysis and transformation in one area, medication, can reduce the error rate from the current 7% to 10% (!!!) to less than one tenth of one percent.

Admonishments to double-check, be careful, be diligent, and to read the literature do not work. But reporting close calls in a non-blame environment can be highly effective. Developing a culture where breaking the law (rare) remains blameworthy but human errors are expected and capitalized on leads to both a better work environment and a safer work environment. Punishing errors is a terrible policy because it chokes off reporting the very data needed to change the system.

The most similar industry to health care is education. Each is an integration of public and private entities within a large and complex system. They deliver critical human to human service where errors can cause serious problems. Errors in medical systems usually cause immediate harm, where in K-12 education the accumulated harm is only evident after many years.

Many K-12 reform efforts produced a range of admonishments — such as more parent involvement, hire better teachers, more money in the classroom, fewer administrators, and students should work harder — but practical systemic K-12 solutions are rare.

eSATS was founded based on the use of systems analysis applied to education. We discovered a number of serious systemic issues. The isolated classrooms and schools hampered close-call and error reporting, that could support systemic changes to correct for errors. The focus on summative assessments of students, teachers and schools on a weekly to yearly basis were of little value for continuous systemic reduction of risk of student academic performance failure. This results in significant risk to the probability of student academic performance success. The labeling of schools and judging of teachers and principals on summative assessments has been framed as a solution instead of being recognized as part of the problem.

eSATS focuses on real time, data driven formative assessment within the teacher-student relationship as the most important means to assure each student performs, and rises to, their academic potential. The automated data warehouse and decision support systems in our State are being developed for legacy summative data which is a necessary step forward. But only with the application of eLearning systems that include real time student-teacher formative assessment capability, will Arizona have the capacity to remove risk of student failure from of our K-12 education system.

00607 Innovation vs. Disaster

October 8, 2010

I am blessed by people who respond to the eSATS blog with comments and support. One person recommended a list of the leading organizations in Arizona who are focused on improving education. Another thought we would be better served if we focused on “getting inherent” vs. focusing on implementation.

We are in the middle of a four month effort to redesign eSATS to reflect the latest thinking in eLearning for K-12 education. Our Grand Challenge must also determine a path to bring a rapid and effective transformation. I will describe three scenarios below. But first we must be careful to both cause no harm.

Many years ago an article posited that the best way to make a change for the good was to ride in on the chaos generated by a disaster. It is unconscionable to wish for or create a disaster. But the really is that we are living in a time of double crisis: the prolonged recession and a third of our students dropping out of high school, unready for the 21st century world of work and education.

But the real concern should be about potential disasters caused by human innovation and eLearning transformation of education is the biggest invention to hit K-12 since universal education.

Over the centuries America has had many man-made ecological disasters. The most devastation was caused by straight furrow plowing of our prairies 100 years ago. Over a decade, the “dust bowl” caused immense economic lost, displacement of 2 million refugees and human sickness and death. The slaughtering of millions of buffalo and centuries of coast to coast deforestation are also significant disasters. An 18 month oil spill in California in 1910 was twice as great as the current BP spill.

All of these were caused by unintended consequences from technical innovations of the time: axe/saw, mortar board plow, Sharps repeating rifle, and oil drilling rigs. Since there is no history of how large scale systemic transformation of K12 education supported by eLearning – unintended consequences are yet unknown.

Three scenarios face Arizona leadership as they grapple with this opportunity with an eye on avoiding disaster.

One is to call a halt to the innovation and stop any additional online or classroom use of eLearning. This would “pause” the growing eLearning support at about 5% of student learning.
The second is to let the eLearning driven disruptive innovation happen without significant State level leadership or investment. This approach is expected to increase the 5% to approximately 30% in ten years. There would be equity distortions but the average of academic gains might meet (squeaking past) State’s minimum academic goals.
The third is to recognize that eLearning is the means to solve Arizona’s most troubling dilemma and take a systems approach at both the State and district levels. With 95% of student learning supported at the most appropriate level by eLearning, academic goals will be surpassed and significant cost savings secured.

This third scenario would minimize the risk of innovation driven disaster by using a fully integrated data driven decision support system at all levels from classroom to State. It would also address the individual disaster of our 40,000 drop outs and cut short our prolonged recession.