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Aurora Institute

Carpe Diem: Integrating Competency-Based and Blended Learning:

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Lead Change and Innovation

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 11.48.54 AMAmerican Radio Works has released a great piece on digital learning One Child at a Time: Custom Learning in the Digital Age including case studies of the Carpe Diem school in Indianapolis and Mooresville Public Schools in North Carolina.  For schools trying to think about how to integrate digital learning into a competency-based framework the chapter  on Carpe Diem will give you lots of ideas. My guess is it could make a pretty good discussion tool.

The Carpe Diem case study raises lots of  design issues:

  • Students operating at a variety of levels: ” Some students are way ahead. One girl, a seventh-grader, started the year testing at a ninth-grade level in math. She ended the year at an 11th-grade level. The same student came in at a second-grade level in science. By the end of the year, she was testing at a sixth-grade level.
  • Mix of Traditional Classrooms and Online Learning: “When you ask students what grade they’re in, some of them will look at you funny. One student said: “Do you mean upstairs or downstairs?” Upstairs is the learning center where students work at their own pace on computers. There they don’t really think of themselves as being in a particular grade. Downstairs is different. That’s where students go for their classes, which are called workshops. There they are grouped together by the grade they would be in at a conventional school.”
  • Student Agency: “Kristina, who is shy and soft-spoken and wears a huge flower in her hair, says the difference between Carpe Diem and the school she attended last year is this: she feels in control at Carpe Diem. Every day she knows exactly how she’s doing; it says so right on her computer screen. At her previous school she would take tests and hand in assignments and sometimes wait weeks to get grades back. By the time she knew she was failing, it felt like it was too late to do anything about it.”

FYI — If you are really interested in learning more about digital learning so you can better integrate it into your competency-based school, check out MOOC-Ed. They are offering a course Digital Learning Transition to help you understand the potential of digital learning in K-12 schools, assess progress and set future goals for your school or district, and plan to achieve those goals. (They also have a course on Mathematic Learning Trajectories that looks really interesting!)