2018 Gathering

Houston, Texas
November 28 — November 30, 2018

Schools Designed for Digital:
the “Flipped School”

The world is being redesigned right now in every way. Technology is playing many parts, not the least of which are ecommerce and digital communications bringing the world closer, immediate and adapted to us personally. If you had been visiting with district and school executives for the last five years in thirty-plus cities as we have, you would have noticed a struggle that most could not put words to. What you may not have reasoned is that the internal stresses are brought compliments of a tremendous outside friction, tearing apart normalcy in every sector. Clear signs like the closing of 3,800 retail stores this year alone including Sears are all attributable to failures to adapt. There is an epic change underway, fueled by a desire for less to-and-fro and more quality experience in life. In this regard, the internet is delivering even while it forces mutation such that some restaurants earn more from UberEats than visiting diners. Many school leaders and teachers alike have mentioned student opt-out to homeschooling or charters, woes concerning student engagement and their tech transition, too much testing and more, but they have typically not identified the actual target for correction. We are convinced it is something more than devices in student hands, more than classroom teachers using tech.

What is it? It’s moving the entire organizational structure, the delivery of teaching and learning, to fit the tech age. It’s not the old virtual or distance learning of the last generation, which left the hundred-plus-year-old bureaucracies in place but set up an independent method that often did not work for some students. No, it’s not a slight thing, and it won’t be easy. The new designed-for-digital education enterprise would reverse engineer the analog (people and place) aspects into a digital-first entity. It would flip to digital. Flip to student-centricity instead of teacher-centricity. Flip to workflow instead of industrial-age delivery by stair-step grades, walled-off classrooms, schedules that end at 3 p.m. and more. Such a redesign would fit current expectations because of what people experience in other sectors, where there is an App for everything. It would emphasize personalizing learning paths for real. It would leverage the teachers for their humanity and not overburden them with all aspects of lesson planning, analytics, data entry and a mile-high tech and Apps stack.

A design that starts with a student and interweaves quality experience, great projects, interactions with instructors, and social learning with other students is the probable winning formula to “set right” education for this century. Such a design would lean heavily on adaptive digital curriculum, workflow and new determinate algorithms on everything from learning pathways to scheduling and staffing. It would be like Uber for on-demand learning crossed with an Amazon-of-all-things-to-know, married to thrillingly Disneyland-like spaces, and cousins to Fed-X who did all the logistics for on-time arrival. It would be awesome for students.

When you attend the Gathering you will hear from schools doing parts and pieces of flipping their organization space and time structure. You’ll also take part in a workshop and hear a briefing on day two and three specifically about this topic. A free Special Report will give you many of the Big Ideas to take home to your school or district.

Lots of speakers, networking with other school leaders of all kinds, lots of insight. That’s the purpose of the 2018 National Gathering.