The hardest part of something new is starting.

This is a reflection of the first week of school. It was intense, it always is.

I try to get to know my new students. I try to say hello to new colleagues. Luckily this school gets it. We started off with a dine and walk in ’s-Hertogenbosch. A light and informal way to catch up with my colleagues and getting to know the new ones. And.. After a few dine and walks I have a very good knowledge of the culinary highlights of ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Starting this new school year I’ll be developing and teaching a new subject. Design and innovation. Together with Saskia de Kort.

What’s in it for the students?

Computer science is a different subject than the other ones being taught in the secondary education. This subject demands that I keep up to speed with recent developments. (Windows Phone… hello?). Not only due to the technology running obsolete also because my students ask for it. With questions like ‘Can we develop in xyz’,’How about xyz’ and ‘Why don’t we have access to xyz’. It’s fascinating to see the development of my students after a few months. From a ’laid back/lying on the table’ to an active and positive attitude. They get the newest technology, the newest platform to develop and the coolest applications are being built.

How to manage learning without 20 clones of the teacher

Short answer, you can’t.

Long answer, you can.

In offering the newest technology to my students I need to manage their learning in a different way. With a lot of variations in their assignment, it’s impossible to manage it in a conventional way. By using modern software development tools like Agile (scrum) I try to keep every student’s learning focused. It still needs a lot of attention and care for my students.

By changing the mindset from ‘my teacher is my example/copy the teacher’ to ‘the teacher is my guide, my sherpa, to learn with’ the expectations changes. I am unable to have all the knowledge in my field directly available. Again, bye Windows Phone, hello Apple Watch. The technology is quickly developing, the insights on learning to change even more rapidly. The solution is to have students do the thing they are best at. ‘Eat, sleep, learn, repeat’. In Dutch, the word leerling contains the word leer. Learning can be easily seen in that word. Let them learn.

What are the tools?

I’ve worked a lot with Agile and scrum based tools. Targetprocess is one of my personal favorites. It keeps the students focused on their learning and with some tinkering, it’s possible to have a complete overview of the learning happening in a group. ❤️ Burndown chart. When the Burndown stops or levels out it’s a sign. The learning has stopped.

But an easy kan ban board also does the trick. To do | Doing | Done. It keeps the learner on the learning and the teacher focused on the learner. Starting with tools is always a challenge. Just start using them the way they were intended and be surprised!