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					             BUILDING OUR
                           by jon madian

                        E Pluribus Unum
                      ("Out of Many, One")
                   Great Seal of United States

             Education at its best responds to diversity
               with respect, affection, and insight.
                      Stephan Marcus, PhD

  You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change
something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
                       R. Buckminster Fuller


                   PART 1 – ALIGNING PEOPLE, SCIENCE &

Our technology, organizational and learning psychologies have matured. We can apply
these to public education to respond to each student and teacher’s needs. We can provide
the kinds of learner-sensitive, personalized learning experiences that the research
recommends. While doing what is best for each student and teacher, we can improve the
efficiency of the system and our return on investment (ROI).

Provides two scenarios. The first shows a day in the life of a student in a 21st century
learning community. This illustrates how the development of a personalized pedagogy
based on both universal and unique learner needs and mediated by Information,
Communication Technology (ICT) will affect the roles, learning, and work processes for
students and teachers.

The second scenario illustrates how the role of the teacher changes as she applies a
personalized pedagogy and uses ICT in her classroom and in her enriched professional

Summarizes key community, design and technical principles, elements, and processes to
evolve public education into the information age.

Parallels are established between personalized medicine, or the Genome Project, and
personalized learning, a Learning Genome Project. The value of building face-to-face and
virtual communities of practice to support local and global learning opportunities is

User and research-centered approaches to design, build and implement ICT supported
pedagogy are discussed. The goal of developing reflective learners and practitioners is
related to the design strategy of users as co-creators, interacting with, evaluating and
improving the pedagogy, resources and ICT systems. A central research and instructional
role for e-Portfolios is described.

Presents a personalized accountability concept that maximizes the value of standards.
Suggests that supportive collaboration trumps externally established goals and top-down

Concluding comments for a 21st century learning ecology are offered.

                    PART 1 – ALIGNING PEOPLE, SCIENCE &
                      TECHNOLOGY TO SERVE LEARNING
Our social contract guarantees each citizen the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. Our courts safeguard the first two; happiness relies on many institutions and
none more than public education. While our Founders purposes for forming the union
were humane, two centuries later learning research confirms the wisdom of their
principles. We now know that choice (liberty) and happiness increase learning.

We are eloquent about educating the individual. But from the time a child enters
kindergarten his unique maturational needs are often subjugated to a generic scope and
sequence of skills. Current curricula based on covering specified content without
adjusting expectations to a student’s abilities, interests and inclinations can’t claim to
educate the individual for the pursuit of happiness.

This very system, designed to achieve accountability, and thus to provide equity to the
underserved, is a textbook formula for under performance--predicted by numerous
studies of learning and group behavior. Those who care too much for test scores and too
little for the lively, brilliantly inquiring nature of young hands, legs, hearts, and minds,
equally under serve the continuum from gifted to challenged.

This disconnect is reflected in student responses when asked how they feel about their
time in school. Students say they find their work boring, redundant and irrelevant. This
largely explains why approximately 30% dropout before the end of high school, and half
of those who graduate and go to community college will also dropout. Only 20% of those
who stay in high school say they believe their education is “relevant”.

As a species, we wisely devote extensive time and resources to educating our young and
providing an infrastructure for life-long learning. We believe that learning and creating,
problem solving and communicating are deep, flowing wells from which all, and
particularly our youth, should draw life long sustenance. So why is public education such
an arid landscape?

It seems clear that what happens during far too much of the academic school day, takes
away children’s curiosity, expressiveness and therefore happiness. If we make learning a
competitive, autocratically managed and externally rewarded activity, how will young
people engage and discover how to create their own happiness in school, the workplace,
or in their lives?

In recent years both our science of learning and our Information Communication
Technology (ICT) have matured. If we coordinate the application of both to improve
public education, we can more accurately respond to each student’s needs. We can
provide the kinds of learner-sensitive or personalized learning experiences that the

research supports. In other words, while doing what is best for each student, we can
improve system efficiency and our return on investment (ROI).

The science of learning is rooted in the sciences of organizational, industrial, cognitive,
social, clinical, and perceptual psychology as well as sociology, and anthropology. Taken
as a whole this work provides clear, consistent insights. These sciences, while quite
sophisticated, are still relatively young. As they are applied, they will be refined to build
developmental models based on people’s bio-psycho-social- and cultural needs. These
models will guide how we organize learning to develop a wide range of skills and values
across all subjects, ages, and stages.

Prior to the Internet, building a complete pedagogical model of the learner was not
practical. Today we have sufficient knowledge and technology to make very steady
progress in linking individual students to ever more meaningful and engaging learning

We can move beyond our current, top-down, skills focused pedagogy to become more
flexible, student, and group-centered. This engaged learning involves a rich range of
interactions that extend across disciplines and into the world. What soil, water and light
are to life, humane engagement with each other and our living world are to curiosity,
questioning, critical thinking, discovery and expression.

A key concept that makes personalized learning practical is collaboration between
learners and educators. Linking the student to learning situations occurs most effectively
when the student understands himself as a learner with choices who co-creates his own
learning and assessment. Once the teacher views the student as a responsible person, and
the student experiences respect and a collaborative role, school becomes more
democratically self-organizing. The learner takes initiative and responsibility.

The teacher’s role then shifts from one of autocratic authority (against which students
rebel) to that of facilitator, guide, cheerleader and partner. This movement from boss to
collaborative relationship generalizes to produce supportive rather than competitive and
even destructive relationships.

Before we talk about how we will achieve personalized learning supported by ICT, let’s
imagine a day in the life of a student and her teacher who have the benefit of these new
ways of organizing teaching and learning. They belong to a community of practice.

To ground our perceptions, let’s look at a day in the life of one student just two or three
years following R&D, organization, training, and ICT investments to support the design
and delivery of personalized, intrinsically motivated learning.

As school begins, Maria and her middle school classmates view their monitors to learn
the day’s plans while their teacher’s computer takes role by noting who is in online.
Maria makes her lunch choice from the cafeteria’s e-Menu that appears on her desktop,
helping eliminate waste and giving Maria power to participate in planning her day.

Then Maria views her day’s schedule for her many on- and offline activities. She sees
that her collaborative social studies project-group meets in the library at 11:15; there are
two RSS feeds about endangered animals around the world, a favorite topic for Maria and
her pen pal in Rhodesia. There is an RSS feed about a girl her age who created a business
training birds to talk, and another about a six year old who raised money to care for
homeless people by collecting bottles. This reminds Maria that she needs to schedule a
reading session with the first grader she is tutoring, so she does. She also notes that she
needs to review a math assignment before going to collaborative math group at 10:00AM.

Two classmates, a friend and her grandmother have responded to the story she posted
yesterday in the My Writings section of her e-portfolio. She sees that a classmate has
posted his research report for Maria to review. Her blog on ways to decrease waste in the
school community has several new responses for her to review. She takes special note of
the Meet Ms. Chan to Plan Independent Project @ 9:30; it is color-coded bright orange
to indicate priority.

Maria reviews the comments she has received on her story. After reading these, she does
some revisions. Then she runs the automated style analyzer that is customized to her
stage of writing development. Maria knows it is not very good at analyzing stories
because when it comes to voice it is “stone stupid”. After she reads its review of her
vocabulary, organization, syntax, and mechanics, she writes to Marvin, the automated
style checker, to explain why she disagrees with some ratings and does her own rating
using sliders to rate herself in these categories.

She then re-posts the story in her e-portfolio asking that all previous recipients be
updated. This triggers emails to Maria’s group of writing reviewers that includes peer and
cross grade responders as well as family members and her online mentor, a retired
teacher. She also sends her self-ratings and Marvin’s ratings to her reviewers along with a
note asking them to use the same rubric to agree or disagree with Marvin and to comment
on her own evaluation.

At 9:30 Maria goes to Ms. Chan’s desk. They look at Ms. Chan’s monitor as she clicks
on Maria’s name. There is an Audio Note Template that states:


I want to learn _____.

I want to learn the history of the biggest and smallest dogs on earth, Maria explains.
Speaking into a microphone, On the screen she sees her speech translated into text.

Ms. Chan asks, Maria, what are some questions you want your research to answer?

Who bred those dogs and why. Both of those dogs must have been bred for a purpose.

Together they generate a list of questions and hypotheses, then a list of ways to find
answers: interview people--a vet, someone from a dog club, library books, do web-
searches, and __.

Together they speculate on why people would want to breed very big and very small

Ms. Chan asks, Maria, how will you monitor your progress and know if you need help.

Maria responds, I‟d like to keep a journal in my research-map and list progress and
problems on my smart-cards.

Finally Ms. Chan asks, how will you share what you learn with classmates? What criteria
will you use to evaluate the quality of your work?

Maria indicates she’d like to give her final presentation and evaluation some thought. She
explains, Let me think. I‟ll email an answer later this week, but right now I‟m thinking of
doing a dog mural and using that as the basis for a video I will narrate. Maybe like Ken
Burns does.

Ms. Chan and Maria spend a few minutes editing the Audio Notes and then send them to
Maria’s e-Portfolio—Independent Projects section.

Then Ms. Chan asks Maria to look at the Learning Management Screen that shows
Maria’s skill levels in reading and writing. She asks Maria what she notices. Maria is
quick to point out that she is reading at an 8th grade level but writing at a 3rd grade level.

Ms. Chan explains that this is not unusual for ELL students so they discuss why this
would be. Then she asks Maria to think about ways she might improve her vocabulary
and syntax when she writes. Maria suggests that she begin by noticing these two
variables in works she is reading. Ms, Chan agrees and suggests that Maria might want to
make more use of the In-line Thesaurus to improve her vocabulary. She also tells Maria
she will forward some sentence combining activities so she can practice syntax.

Maria returns to her workstation. She opens her e-Portfolio and clicks on her Smart
Search Engine. She asks for information on the world’s smallest dogs. The search engine
uses Maria’s learning profile—specifically her reading level. It asks questions about how
much time she has to browse and if she wants her activities tracked on her Project Map.
Maria begins the search. Moments later there is a list of recommended websites. They are
ordered to meet Maria’s needs by how well suited the sites are to her reading level,
learning style, and time Maria has to explore. Surveys she has taken and preferences she
has expressed show that Maria is a visual learner, so sites with multimedia are highly

ranked. Since her attention span for expository text is limited, sites that are text heavy are
lower on the list.

After reading through the first site Maria ranks the website for value and ease-of-use.
Maria knows this helps the system build intelligence about her and that it may help other
students with similar profiles to hers. She then links the website to a Smart Card. She
highlights an area in the text that she wishes to summarize. She also copies a paragraph
and photo onto the Smart Card for later review. The Smart-Card shows the URL where
these items were found, indicates the quality of the summary relative to the information
she had highlighted, and provides a date. The Smart Card appears as an icon in her
Project Map—a day-by-day running record of her activities, notes, and reflections on this

Maria sees the Change Activities button is active and clicks on it to learn that she will
join her collaborative math team in ten minutes. She needs to review the word problem
before going. She reads the problem underlining key ideas, uses bold to indicate facts
needed to answer the question; she marks distracting or irrelevant information with a
strike through. She has no trouble reading because the text is written at her level. Where
the vocabulary is challenging she clicks on text-to-speech to hear the text. If it is still
difficult the dictionary and thesaurus are available, organized in both English and Spanish
with priority for words with Latin roots.

Maria sees a word she wants to add to her personal dictionary and spelling list. She clicks
on it and drags it into her vocabulary/spelling box. She smiles; she is proud of her
progress in spelling that reports that she has learned 1,114 words. Later she will build a
weekly spelling list. The spell checker will help Maria sort her words by etymological
roots and spelling rules. Then she will add to her list taking words with related roots or
spelling rules that her spell checker has found she often uses and often misspells. The
Smart-Cards will be helpful for spelling practice and taking her personalized spelling
test. Because this vocabulary and spelling work is stored in her portfolio, it is convenient
for her teacher, parents, or researchers to note her activity and progress.

Then Maria joins her math group to work on Personalized Math Story Problems. Each
child confirms his or her role in the problem- solving group (questioner, facilitator, fact
checker, note taker). Maria is listed by the management system as the second student to
read the problem aloud. The preceding reader is more capable and serves as a model for
Maria. Maria reads along silently anticipating her turn. Group members, all of whom are
included by name as characters in the text of the story problem, diagram the problem
elements after everyone has read.

In order of increasing ability, all four students share their diagrams. As they discuss they
use a whiteboard to diagram a synthesis of facts and procedures to solve the problem.

Before using the whiteboard to share their work with the six other groups, Maria’s group
has two other tasks. They fill out a rubric that asks them to rate the math problem on

various dimensions—challenge, skills practiced, interest, fun and how it might be

They also rate their group process on enjoyment of working together; how well each
member asked questions, contributed ideas, or supported others; they each write what I
learned; and detail any problems in the group or in doing the work. Each student uses
sliders on a 1 to 5 scale to fill out the rubrics. Ratings go into the Math Group’s
Collaborative e-Portfolio and into each student’s individual e-Portfolio in their
collaborative section.

Then the group writes a new math word problem that will be revised by them and others
and will be used to have other groups solve a similar problem.

After group presentations, Maria doesn’t go back to her computer; she knows that her
schedule now shifts from academics to art and dance. Edith, her Learning Management
Scheduler, is programmed to take into account Maria’s need to not work more than two
hours on academics before having a non-academic period. Maria takes a deep breath; she
is ready for the change.

Ms. Chan is in her second decade of teaching. She remembers when students were
assigned to her whether or not her teaching style and interests would meet their needs and
when she had no idea of what the diverse needs of her students were. She remembers
when almost the entire day was spent going over the same textbooks with students
listening to her give lectures. She recalls all too clearly how hard it was to keep a class
engaged. While the worksheets kept students on task, boredom led to disruptive student

Now Ms. Chan knows that her role is to facilitate and help manage smart or personalized
learning experiences for each student whether working alone or in a thoughtfully
designed group. Now, her students are empowered to be responsible for their learning
and the classroom climate.

To form her class, she met with other teachers before school and began to review possible
class configurations that the Learning Management System (LMS) recommended. She
met with her administrator and reviewed the characteristics of each student and some
changes were made to make sure that her class was thoughtfully configured. For
example, she wanted to have at least three gifted math students so they could challenge
each other.

Ms. Chan understood why she was the best teacher for many students. She also saw how
some students could creatively challenge her. In the end the teachers and administrator
working with the LMS collectively formed the final classes. In the process Ms. Chan and
her colleagues did a good deal of cooperative reflecting and planning. Before meeting the
class, an informed creative relationship had begun.

On the first day, Ms. Chan used her computer to put her students into pre-selected groups.
Then she asked them to discuss and take notes on a wide range of questions about how
they learn; what it takes to make learning fun; and why it is important for each of them to
be responsible for their own and their neighbors’ learning and happiness. She pointed to
some signs on the wall and asked the groups to discuss their meanings:

Learning Is A Team Sport!

Joy improves learning!

Questions are more important than answers!

You are “responsible” for your neighbor’s happiness!

In the next hour you will travel a 1000 miles on the earth--
What distance will your mind travel?
How many questions will you ask?

As the groups were at work, she went from group to group, listening and making

Then, she sent a message from her computer to all the groups, “As a group, please decide
why one of these signs is the most important to your group and write a summary that
explains why. If you can‟t all agree, individuals can write their own responses.”

As the students finished, she sent a second message, “Please evaluate this activity and
say how it can be improved. Post your response in the e-suggestion box.”

A few moments later she sees lines of text forming in six blocks on her monitor as the six
groups respond.

The next period, each student reviews different examples of RSS feeds and selected one
feed on a science and one on social studies subject. Each student will be responsible to
read and write a brief summary on at least 5 feeds each week. Since there are reading
tools like a dictionary and text-to-speech, the computer tracks each student’s reading

As students use the RSS reading/writing program, progress through the RSS feeds is
noted in Ms. Chan’s management system. Students who are making slowest progress in
reading and writing appear toward the top. Based on this information, she decides to visit
several students to provide some person-to-person monitoring and coaching.

By the end of the first week, students are freely deciding when they will do their RSS
reading-writing period.

On most days Ms. Chan schedules an independent work period for most students; this
appears on their daily e-Schedule. During this time they can choose which of their many
projects they wish to work on. This also provides a time for targeted lessons for selected
students. These may be gifted, average, or challenged students, or a mix. For example,
she may meet with students who are struggling to understand percentages. She may
present a mini-lesson followed by viewing a lesson by The Math-Clown (found on You
Tube). This may be followed by discussion and then a brief online set of practice items
designed to reinforce concepts and to assess the students’ abilities to apply their

On the day we reviewed with Maria, Ms.Chan leaves school with her students so she can
get home to her children. At home she logs into the Curriculum Commons to join the free
Open Source ELL Math Group that includes a researcher and four other teachers. They
have developed lessons designed for gifted ELL students. The lessons rely on online
visualizations and manipulatives. The researcher is setting up experimental and control
groups sorted on a great number of variables tracked by the computer. Ms. Chan uses
telephony to chat with her design/research team. She explains that she would like to see
the online manipulatives replicated in an offline form and that this should be part of the
research design.

She then logs on to the for-profit ELL Math Website she is developing with colleagues.
The e-publishing system that hosts her group’s work has provided a list of blogs and
discussion forums relevant to marketing their work. She doesn’t want to work on
marketing now. She goes to her blog where she suggests a way to use English to help
ELL students whose native language is Latin-based to scaffold their understanding of
long division procedures. This suggestion is based on an experience with Maria.

That done she responds to emails from parents and a student. She scans an email
exchange between an e-mentor and student that the computer has flagged for her review.
Then she looks at reports on the day’s work abstracted from each student’s portfolio. She
also reviews the collaborative group evaluations. This information helps her reflect as she
works on tomorrow’s schedule. Clearly there is one group that will need her attention.

Maria’s day results from highly coordinated, learner-sensitive design that originates in a
shared vision of goals and steps to achieve them. The education community’s application
of knowledge of both universal and individual needs helps give Maria’s day flow.
Knowledge of curriculum enables the integration of many key ideas and skills across
subjects. Most importantly, Maria knows she always has choices about her learning; she
is an important, responsible member of her class and of each group she belongs to.

To achieve these kinds of learning experiences for all students, we must circle our
wagons around the beginning place—enthusiastic agreement among stakeholders that we
can apply the best knowledge from learning sciences and best teaching and learning

practices. Then we can use ICT to build the system that helps manage, improve and
personalize learning.

This will not involve a radical, rapid or top-down change. Rather by adding more and
better information to the system, we will naturally evolve our organization and practices
to better serve our students and society.

Smart Learning Communities, Quality Learning Networks, Continuously Improving
Learning Systems, these are only a few of the names for the Learning Communities of the
21st century.

These communities will exist at local, regional and national levels and will begin to think
and act creatively to determine ideas, values and skills they want to underpin public
education; they will gain control of their children’s education and align it with their need
to evolve sustainable cultures and economies.

Some of the defining characteristics of Learner Communities include:
    Extended community involvement with schools and students. The schools will fit
      within the matrix of community structure, concerns, and institutions in a
      participatory role. The membrane between the real world with all its marvels,
      opportunities and problems, and our schools will become transparent.

      Appreciation for learner diversity. More mature students, teachers and retired
       teachers will join artists, children’s book writers, multimedia experts, consultants,
       scientists and assessment experts with sensitivity for particular types of learners to
       develop supportive relationships and learning resources.

      Respect for the role of education. Students, teachers, or educational resource
       providers will be recognized as knowledge workers in our most important
       knowledge industry. The process of education will build an insightful lens into the
       realities of our local and global communities and into the physical, biological, and
       psychosocial systems that sustain us.

      As schools become active, healthy communities that recognize, support and
       energize people to realize their potential, students will develop the habits of 21st
       century citizens—a sense of shared responsibility, service, and stewardship.

To launch Community+ICT mediated personalized learning, let’s consider Fundamental
Research Efforts; an ICT New Design Mode; and The Role of Standards.

A. Fundamental Research Efforts
A research task force will identify the potential benefits of a Learning Genome. Research
on the unique psychology of learners will drive deeper insight into student diversity
through efficient data gathering. Learner components like social style and needs,
perceptual acuity, long and short term memory, information processing, interests,
background knowledge, special talents, expressive style, reading, math, and other skills,

abilities, and needs will become known for each student. This data will come from
students, their learning community support team…peers, mentors, teachers, parents, and
from online rubrics and computer automated collection systems.

Fruitful comparisons will be made between the Genome Project mapping the human
genome and a Learning Genome mapping intra- and interpersonal learning patterns and
characteristics. Treatment effects previously washed out in studies of large heterogeneous
populations will accurately be revealed in smaller, more homogenous populations.
Research design and control groups will achieve new levels of accuracy.

The bits and bites used to refine our perceptions and models of learning will personalize
education just as they are personalizing medicine.

For example:
    Intelligent feedback will drive evolution of the system. Use of the Learning
       Management System (LMS) will provide experience and data of use to
       continuously improve the management process. The rubric-based “thought”
       behind ICT management and feedback systems will be visible to students and
       teachers and will become a catalyst for reflection on quality outcomes.

      Student e-Portfolios, like Medical Portfolios will keep the learner „in process‟. No
       matter where the student is in his or her education there will be seamless up-to-
       date student record, assessments, reviews, self-analysis and learner variables.

      Learner Profiles will continuously refine. As new ways of understanding how
       people learn are acquired, brain based research adds new insights, educational
       methodologies are expanded, new learner resource feedback technologies are
       incorporated, we will have ever greater understanding of how an individual
       student can best be educated.

       Educational research progresses from generic to specific. A learning data
       commons/repository where student identities are protected and researchers can
       use data mining tools to confirm the expected and discover the unexpected. The
       data commons will also be used to select students for experimental and control
       groups while maintaining their anonymity. Thus the science of educational
       research and its efficiency will improve dramatically.

B. ICT New Design Mode
Current tools can be knit together to perform the fundamental technology requirements
for “Maria’s Day”. We do not need to wait for extensive ICT development. But we must
invest in this development. It is only through leveraging ICT to support the research,
design, adaptation, and publishing of resources, that ever more accurate and refined
personalized learning can occur.

As the traits of learners become more apparent and form common clusters of traits,
Personalized Pedagogy will develop. Researchers will work with curriculum and

assessment people to create and evaluate resources that are better designed for deeper,
more engaging and efficient learning for the various types of students.

An underlying principle of this design process is that students and teachers understand
the bases for guidance and feedback from the ICT or the LMS. To empower users, they
need to see how their contributions make the technology-mediated system smart. In this
way users develop critical thinking and reflective awareness. The individual student or
teacher becomes smarter as a function of reflecting on the teaching and learning
experiences that occur on and off line. The computer’s information system stimulates
learning, reflection, and argument. A slogan of this work is:

                        Smart people create smart communities
                               that create smart systems
                               that create smart people.

The next generation of Tools and ICT Mediated Processes that will support personalized
learning will include:

      The e-Portfolio provides records and documentation of learning processes and
       products. It is the repository for human generated and computer automated data.
       These records facilitate delivery of custom lessons; congenial collaborative
       groupings; and tracking for intervention. The e-Portfolio also provides the learner
       with a social support network to respond to his or her work and to provide other
       forms of guidance.

      The Learning Management System (LMS) coordinates and presents lesson
       choices and delivery (on- or off-line), learning and practice group assignments,
       and calendars to guide and inform student work flow. It is designed to be smart in
       order to maximize personalization in support of each student’s developmental
       needs. It helps teachers and students manage the flow of daily work and recreation
       in order to maximize enjoyment, concentration and energy—the essentials that
       underlie wise and healthy work habits.

      Inventories of community resources. These Resource Inventories will help match
       students with a support team…other students, mentors, tutors, advisors,
       community volunteer groups. Corresponding resources of use to the support team
       will include natural study areas (parks & preserves), educational programs at
       museums, businesses with interest in shadowing and apprenticeship programs.

      Collaborative Development Commons: Collaboration is supported and rewarded.
       Curriculum and Assessment Instruments, and Learner Support provisions are
       offered for free or for fee. Although some individuals and organizations will
       follow the Open Source model and donate their work, others will form for profit
       enterprises and be rewarded based on their contributions. Educational publishing
       will become both a bottom-up and top-down industry. Barriers to entry into
       educational publishing will be few and will be professionally vetted. Some

       schools and districts will find they can supplement their incomes with the core or
       supplemental resources they provide.

C. Standards and Accountability
Standards state what students need to know. Currently they are general and academic, the
same for everyone--future engineer, historian, physicist, educator or entrepreneur. No
matter the talents, interests or weaknesses of the student, there is one standard and one
chronology for passing. The purpose is to judge educational systems, schools, personnel
and students based on standardized tests. The good news is we are holding everyone
accountable for the same things, no matter their neighborhood.

The bad news is that people differ in how they learn, rates of learning, and the knowledge
that best serves them. Thus, we may want to have learner centered or personalized
developmental standards. Everyone may benefit if math standards for engineers differ
from those for English, business and fine arts majors.

With high dropout rates and budgets for building prisons vying with budgets for schools,
we have to rethink the needs of at-risk students. Likely this will focus us on affective and
social development as prerequisites for academic standards. Where trust is trumped by
fear, autonomy by shame, industry by guilt, and identity by confusion and aggression, an
academically oriented curriculum that fails to address developmental deficits is
dysfunctional. If standards provide what is to be learned, we still need to answer "what
for whom", " what when", "what how" and "what with whom."

Measuring the effectiveness of institutions and teachers may make sense if we track
success based on a growth-learning model for each student in each subject and within
subsets of skills. Purposeful pairings of students with teachers will provide verifiable
benefits and will help personalize professional development.

Merit pay may not prove to be the best system. There is a contradiction between building
a trusting learning community and knowing you are being judged and rewarded or
punished. But if merit pay is to be experimented with, it may become more acceptable if
it is based on more granular knowledge of students and teachers. Then learning is seen as
a function of a well-supported community rather than the product of an isolated teacher
who is assigned an arbitrary population of students and a set curriculum.

Perhaps we will find that leading people toward higher standards and achievements
involves opposite behaviors from holding people accountable. There is considerable
evidence that helping people define their goals and helping them monitor and reflect on
their progress toward achievement improves performance more than having externally
established goals and threat laden evaluations of success.

In summation:
As this new vision of education evolves, we see that educational theory and policy builds
on universal and unique needs. The opposite of a profound truth is not a falsehood but

another profound truth (to paraphrase Neils Bohr). Opposites become complements.
Success comes from the art of finding the right balance for unique individuals within
dynamic systems.

We will want to take the long view. The beginning will be bumpy. The Wright brothers’
first flight was short, and it was an unimaginably short sixty-six years between Kitty
Hawk and the moon landing. As in so many enterprises, if we build on our current
knowledge and tools the potential outcomes will exceed our imagining.

As education enters the information age, if we honor diversity and balance human needs
with technical capacities, the information age will become an age of inquiry and science,
an age of respect for community, artistic expression and learning. We will become
purposeful culture-creators. By nurturing our humanity we will naturally live and work
in harmony with the unfolding of our selves within local and global communities. Public
education will become the unending work to discover how to create a compassionate,
sustainable and inspiring world.