The Holy Grail of 21st Century Education


The one Billion dollar question which challenges software and hardware companies around the world is how to develop a product which is produced in a standardized pattern; however when consumed, it somehow adapts itself to specific needs of different clients

They seek a product which is manufactured in a one size fits all production-line, nevertheless as customers we feel as if it was prepared to suit our own preferences.  It is that perfect combination between wholesale and retail, between the low prices which are enabled through mass production, and a rigorous and high quality and personalized process, which seems to be possible only in hand-made boutique workshops

Think about your car, your smartphone, your Facebook page, we know it is pretty much the same for everyone, but we all believe they were made just for us

all sizes fit one

all sizes fit one

This is also the Holy Grail of teaching. Every teacher asks herself, how can I implement a one sized curriculum, aiming at a standardized goal which is measured in a unified manner – and at the same time to cater to the individual capabilities, difficulties, learning styles, way of thinking and the pace of each and every student in a diverse class of 35? Or in other words, how can I operate clinically in an industrial environment? As parents we seek the exact same thing, as we want our child to be noticed, and that her uniqueness and talents will be nurtured

This is where the promise of diagnostic assessments comes in, and this is where you all come in.   The promise is that teachers will hold relevant data on each student in real time, such data which will enable them to adapt their teaching to every student.  It will enable students to claim greater responsibility for their own learning process. And it will assist parents and policy makers to be aware along and to provide assistance on time. I am eager to learn in the coming days as for how this promise turns into reality

always look on the bright side of life

always look on the bright side of life

I am mostly intrigued to learn how diagnostics are performed in practice and at scale. Is it a standalone product, or is it more effective when implemented combined with other elements, such as through Professional Learning Communities of teachers, and or via a deeper reflection by using classroom-based video documentation? Does it fit into the regular, standard curriculum and classroom management, or does it transform them all together

If we can learn from successful high-tech companies, we see that their products are plugged and played immediately. They do not require their costumers to go into professional development courses, nor even to use a manual guide. If they need that, it means they got it all wrong, and they would fail. Successful products are those that fit smoothly into our ongoing daily routine like a glove. Is this already the case in the implementation of diagnostics in education, is it at all possible, or just a dream

That is a huge challenge, and in our Holy Bible there is this beautiful and very relevant phrase in King Solomon's Proverbs, chapter 22 phrase 6, saying: "train up a child the way he is, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it". (חנוך לנער על-פי דרכו, גם אם יזקין לא יסור ממנה). This is a remarkable vision of a very smart man, and we say in our country, we were only left with the twists and turns of how to transform the dream and the promise into a flourishing reality

Opening Remarks the the Weizmann Institute Conference on Diagnostics in Math Education, January 6th, 2015

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