Future-proofing education and the Agile classroom

Working in Higher Ed as a curriculum designer made me very conscious that I was designing qualifications and learning to give people skills for jobs that don’t yet exist.

It’s kind of terrifying and exciting at the same time. (More exciting, though.)

On the one hand, I have to fully own that “I don’t know what I’m doing” feeling. On the other, admitting that if I don’t know what I’m really doing, then other people probably don’t either, and that frees everyone up to be a little bit more daring, a little bit more adventurous and ‘out there’ when it comes to curriculum design.

In order to future-proof education, why not hand the reigns over to the students themselves?

At MASH Up Training our summer camps and courses are designed to be run as sprints — as used in Agile projects. They’re designed that way for a number of reasons, but mostly because we want students to feel that they are in control of their learning environment. It also means we can address the demand for 21st century skills as there are reported skills shortages in these areas.

Whenever I spot a diagram, such as the one below, that illustrates an Agile process, I see a lesson plan. Especially in classrooms where we’re teaching digital skills like coding, web design, 3D and VR, or even robotics.

All of this is lead by the students. Of course, the tools are given to them, but they identify which feature they want to focus on, then the experimentation, learning and feedback begins.

What do learners get out of an Agile classroom, in addition to a cool website / app / robot?

  • The ability to think creatively, work creatively with others and implement innovations
  • The ability to reason effectively, use systems thinking, make judgements and decisions, and solve problems
  • The ability to access, evaluate, use and manage information
  • Communication and conflict resolution skills
  • Building confidence, resilience, grit, courage, and empathy by working through problems with others

This leads to better:

  • Flexibility & Adaptability
  • Initiative & Self-Direction
  • Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity & Accountability
  • Leadership & Responsibility

Do you use Agile in your classroom too? I’d love to hear your experiences.