“What’s the most central, obvious change we need need to make in order to resolve the problem?” My answer (yours may vary) was the shift from a time-based to mastery-based architecture (reconfiguring curriculum, instruction, assessment, and time). For my money, a mastery-based approach changes the playing field profoundly, creating new challenges for sure but also unlocking many opportunities to improve learning.

Microlab Innovation Strategy -- concept paperThis idea is at the heart of the attached paper, exploring the concept of small, local microlabs supported by a National Lab and focused on specific changes which I believe are at the heart of healing our education system.

In the past few months, I have facilitated and participated in a number of fascinating discussions on how best to develop a new model for K-12 education that serves all children well, makes smart use of computer learning, and leverages the looming fiscal crisis towards a more cost-effective approach. A key question in these discussions is: What system of innovation will produce effective, substantive changes in practice that can be scaled quickly?

Your comments and suggestions on the microlab strategy are greatly appreciated:

  • What are your thoughts about the fostering multi-age learning communities in existing schools?
  • About empowering local teacher-innovators supported by a national lab?
  • Can such an on-site, opt-in alternative model accelerate migration to the changes needed to provide all students with a high-quality, 21st century education?

Also, please forward this plan to colleagues interested in the topic and please let me know of any potential partners or resources who might be a good fit.