Learning is the constant. An intersection at #TEDx Blvd and #EduCon / #EduCon25 Drive

Do you really believe that all students can learn? At high levels?

Do you see learning as the constant… and time and support as the variables? Or do you still see time and support as relatively fixed, so learning must then vary? (Think As, Bs, Cs, Ds, Fs – learning variability in alphabetic symbols.)

Are you willing to rethink entire educational structures in order to facilitate high-level learning for ALL children?

Is all of the above worth at least a half hour of your time – if only to stretch your thinking about what’s possible?

Then, please watch these two TEDx talks.

Beyond the Book: Mary Esselman at TEDxSarasota [total time – 12:33]

Esselman explains her experience with blowing up the construct of age-grouping and re-imagining school such that students of current understanding are “grouped” regardless of their chronological age.


We must invest in research and development in education: Jim Shelton at TEDxMidAtlantic [total time – 14:24]

Shelton shows examples of modern one-on-one tutoring that make new learners as cognitively agile as veterans – even more so. And he makes a strong case that echoes recent words from Sir Ken Robinson – that schools should be asking students, “How are you smart?” not “How smart are you?”

The two talks above come from TEDx Talks Roundup: 4 Fascinating Talk about Education. The other two talks are well worth the views, too. A hat tip to @cannonball31 for passing the blog post to me.

Also, another hat tip to @GregBamford for helping me to think a bit deeper about educational structure (versus individual scapegoating) after I participated in his #EduCon session on organizational development – “Teaching Frameworks for Creative Collaboration.”

PROCESS POST: Dreaming about learning apps that use data collection and dashboard displays

I love dreaming about the future of education. From dreams come possibilities and innovations. To stretch my own thinking, I seek inspiration from a number of sources. Frog design and TED are two of my favorites.

In the past 24 hours, I’ve thought more about data collection and dashboard display, all in the service of continuing to develop systems that visualize and enhance individual student learning. Recent inspirations for this dreaming have come from:

  • Advancing the Future of Healthcare: frog’s Connected Care Solution. I particularly love the images and visuals of the individual health dashboard. Where frog is showing dashboard items for blood pressure, BMI, physical activity, etc., I see a translation to education that could be dashboard items for oral communication, collaborative problem solving, and project management success.
  • Matt Killingsworth: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment (TED talk). In the talk, Killingsworth describes his app that collects information from a huge data set of people. In translation to education, I could see such an app being used on student smart phones, so that learners could real-time report on what they’re doing in class or at home to learn, if they are enjoying and/or benefiting from what they are doing, if they feel deeply engaged or confused or bored. That individual data could be aggregated to see a clearer picture of an individual learner’s preferences, proficiencies, etc. That data could also be aggregated on a larger set to see what types of activities are working best for various learner profiles, age groups, etc. And all of this data could feed into the dashboards imagined above.

Does any such app, data collection, and dash boarding already exist? If so, I would love for you to leave a comment and a link about what’s already out there. The closest thing I have seen personally is the data tool being developed with Khan Academy that provides individual and class data sets of learning targets, time spent on modules, etc.

Just like frog design’s CCS could reveal what’s working and what to address with a person’s health, and just like Matt Killingsworth’s app could reveal what is leading to greater happiness for folks, a comparable learning app could make tangible so much about what is working and what to address with individual learners and groups of learners.

If we can dream it, we can build it.