Welcome to Agile Classroooms

Agile Classrooms is the world's first formal implementation of the Agile methodology in K-12 education.

Why is this important?

The Industrial Age model of school hasn’t changed much. But our goals for it have changed tremendously. Where once we sought to educate only a portion of the populace, most for manual labor, we seek now to educate every child, many for knowledge work. How, then, do we prepare kids for the Information Age with an Industrial Age education system?

By becoming Agile.

What makes Agile the right solution to this problem?

Here are a few reasons:

  • Agile was created to solve many of the same problems in business that we are experiencing today in education, most notably achieving better results in less time in order to respond to the rapidly changing and highly unpredictable nature of the modern world.
  • Agile provides a foundation of Information Age practice for our Industrial Age education system.
  • Agile methods are most popular in high tech but are used in many different industries.
  • Agile methods are applied as an approach to the management of all kinds of projects.
  • Agile is a method of continuous learning, a perfect fit for classrooms, schools, and district focused on continuous improvement.
  • Much of the Agile philosophy, it's principles, and it's patterns of practice are highly compatible with world's best teaching.
  • By using Agile as a guide, we can create a "pattern reference" for classroom practice that can be shared with others, quickly learned, and easily implemented.
  • Agile increases productivity by improving responsiveness to change. (Multi-hundred percent increases in some industry projects.)
  • Agile is the “root” of STEM, President Obama's national initiative to bring more young people into careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; Agile provides the fundamental processes and skills that form the foundation of most tech curricula and careers.
  • Agile extends STEM teaching into non-STEM subjects thereby solving the problem of getting STEM skills to more kids. (Agile principles, especially iteration, are excellent very powerful in Language Arts!)
  • Agile improves “operational economies of scale” by facilitating shared practices through an easy-to-learn “pattern-based” methodology.
  • Agile overturns the “factory model” of education by getting us away from “assembly line standardization” and over to the education of individual children through a customer-focused “new product development” metaphor rather than the current government-focused “manufacturing” metaphor.
  • Agile schools would respond more effectively to the demands of the new vocationalism—the idea that all learning institutions must, in some way, contribute to preparing students for work.
  • Agile provides a proven and flexible methodological framework for new school starts and turnarounds, and offers a systematic way to develop better models of schooling and more reliable approaches to high-quality school replication.
  • Agile supports the achievement of both qualitative and quantitative goals through a human-centric approach to organizational development that enhances business discipline. As such, Agile has the potential to unite currently warring factions in education reform.

Hmmm… sounds interesting. How can I help?

Join us by contacting me at gro.smtt|ahepevets#gro.smtt|ahepevets. We need conscientious, creative, and curious people to make this project go.

  • Teachers. We need teachers who want to turn their classrooms into Agile Classrooms or who will help us understand how they are already applying Agile practices.
  • Agilists. We need members of the Agile community to help us "port" Agile to education with rigor and fidelity. We also need your ideas about aspects of classroom practice people in education may not have thought of. If you use Scrum, XP, Kanban, Lean, or any other related "Agile family" method, please lend us your thoughts and your encouragement.
  • Instructional Coaches. We need instructional coaches to help us understand how to best train and support teachers running Agile Classrooms.
  • Administrators. We need principals and district administrators to help us understand how we can scale Agile Classrooms to Agile Teams and from there to Agile Schools and Agile Networks.
  • Students. If you're 13 or older, we want to hear from you. You are the reason we are doing this. After all, the very first Agile principle starts out like this: "Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer…" And you're the customer.
  • Parents. You're the customer, too. We need you to tell us about your needs, about your kids, and about what really matters to you as they grow up through school.

Where is this going?

In the coming school year, we are going to achieve the following:

  • "Port" Agile to School. Agile matches up with high-quality schooling very well. But the vocabulary of Agile is business vocabulary and that means that some of Agile requires translation to the non-business world of school. Most importantly, some metaphoric realignment is required to deal with the reality that in school we typically have one "developer" (a teacher) working on many "products" (the class of students) while in business, we typically have many "developers" working on a single "product" or "project".
  • Interpret Agile Methods, Philosophies, Principles, and Practices. While Agile may be unfamiliar to some some software developers and business people, it's language and ideas need no interpretation. This is the not the case in school. We will be defining what core Agile ideas mean in education and how those ideas can be turned into patterns of easily replicable practice.
  • Document Real-World Agile Classroom Practice. We will be documenting our work in two broad categories: (1) Existing teaching practices that already match documented Agile patterns; and (2) The successful adoption of Agile-to-School patterns. This is not a competition to see how Agile we are; it's a way to discover how we are Agile—and how we can support each other in increasing our agility.
  • Secure Funding for a Formal Pilot Program and Study. We have already begun creating a "case" statement and "implementation plan" for the first Agile Classroom study. We expect to be fully funded as we head into 2012-2013 school year.
  • Create Standards for Development of Agile Classroom Practice. Agile itself can be expressed as a series of statements, diagrams, and descriptions of patterns. This makes it easy to learn. We will develop an equivalent way of packaging our work so it can be used just as easily in education.
  • Develop a Training Model for Current and Pre-Service Teachers. The work of the Agile Classrooms project will culminate in a new way of training teachers, a way that is more effective, more concrete, and more likely to provide the practical skills teachers need to be successful in what they do.

Any questions?

If you have questions please send them directly to me at gro.smtt|ahepevets#gro.smtt|ahepevets.

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