Why we focus on spatial data science

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

The I in Information Technology is so broad – why is our first integrated data science problem focus on spatial data? It doesnt fit when looking on face of our Services Catalog . We get asked this a lot and this is our reason, and like Geospatial, its multi-dimensional spanning different ways of thinking, audiences, maturity, progressions, science, modeling, and time:

 

In green, x-axis, is the time progression of public web content. The summary point is data took the longest period – about 10-15 years. And data can only get better as it matures into being popular 25 years old on the web. We are in the information period now, but moving swiftly into the knowledge period. Just see how much more scientific data visualizations, and dependence we are on the internet. Just think how much you were on the web in 1998 compared to 15 years later – IT IS IN YOUR POCKET now. 

This isn’t just our theory.

RadarNetworks put together the visual of progressing through the web eras. Web 1.0 was websites or Content and early Commerce sites. Web 2.0 raised the web community with blogs and the web began to link collaboratively built information with wikis. Web 3.0 is ushering in the semantic direction and building integrated knowledge.

Even scarier, Public Web Content progression lags several business domains, but not necessarily in this leading order: Intelligence, Financial, Energy, Retail, and Large Corporate Analytics. Meaning, this curve reflects the Public maturity, and those other domains have different and faster curves. 

The recent discussions on intelligence analysis linking social/internet data with profile, Facebook/Google Privacy and use for personalized advertising, level of detail SalesForce knows about you and why companies pay so much for a license/seat, how energy exploration is optimizing where to drill in some harder to find areas, or the absolute complexity and risk of the financial derivatives as the world market goes – these technologies usually lag in how we integrate public content for googling someone, or using the internet to learn more and faster. Reason: Those do not make money. Same reason why the DoD invented the internet – it was driven by security of the U.S. which makes money which makes power. 

So, that digression aside (as we have been told “well, my industry is different”), the public progression does follow a parabolic curve that matches Moore’s Law driving factor in IT capability – every 2 years, computing power doubles in power, at same cost (paraphrasing). The fact that we can do more faster at quality levels means we can continue to increase our complexity of analysis in red. And there appears to be a stall not moving towards wisdom, but as we move toward knowledge. Its true our knowledge will continue to increase VERY fast, but what we do with that as a society is the “fear” as we move towards this singularity so fast. 

Fast is an understatement, very fast even for logarithmic progression as its hard to emote and digest the magnitude of just how fast it is moving. We moved from

  • The early 90s simply placing history up there and experimentation and having general content with loose hyperlinking and web logs
  • to the late 90s conducting eCommerce and doing math/financial interaction modeling and simulations and building product catalogs with metadata that allowed us to relate and say if a user found that quality or metdata in something, it might liek something else over here
  • to the early 2000s to engineering solutions including social and true community solutions that began to build on top of relational and the network effect and use semantics and continually share content on timelines and where a photo was taken as GPS devices began to appear in our pockets
  • To the 2010s or today where we are looking for new ways to collaborate, find new discoveries in cloud, and use the billions and billions on sensors and data streams to create more powerful more knowledgable applications

Another way to digest this progression is via the table below.

Web VersionTimeDIKWWeb MaturityKnowledge Domain Leading WebData Use Model on WebData Maturity on Web
.9early 90sDataContentHistoryExperimentalLogs
1.01995+Info HistoryExperimentalContent
1.11997  MathExperimentalRelational
1.21999 +CommerceMathHypotheticalMetadata
1.32002  EngineeringHypotheticalSpatial
2.02005+Knowledge+CommunityEngineeringComputationalTemporal
2.12010s  EngineeringComputationalSemantic
3.02015 and predictable webKnowledge+CollaborationScienceData as 4th paradigm notTempoSpatial (goes public)
4.02020 -2030Wisdom in sectorsAdvancing Collaboration with 3rd world coreAdvancing Science into Shared Services – Philsophical is out yearRobot/Ant data qualitySentiment and Predictive (goes public/useful) – Sensitive is out year

Now, think of the last teenager that could maintain eye contact in a conversation with an adult while holding phone in their hand and not be distracted by the pavlovian response of a text, tweet, instagram, etc. Now imagine, ten years from now, when its not tidbits of data, but as a call comes up, auto-searching on terms they arent aware of come up in augmented reality. Advice on how to react on the sentiment they just received – not just the information. The emotional knowledge quotient will be google now – “What do I do when?” versus critical thinking and live and learn.

So, taking it back to the “now”, though this blog is lacking the specific citations (blogs do allow us to cheat, but our research sources will make sure to detail and source our analysis), if you agree that spatial mapping for professional occurred in early 2000s and agree now that it has hit the public and understand that spatially tagging data has pass the tipping points with advent of smartphones, map apps, local scouts, augmented reality directions, and multi-dimensionl modeling integrating GIS and CAD with web, then you can see the data science maturity stage we are in that has the largest impact right now is – Geospatial.

Geospatial data is different. Prior to geospatial, data is non-dimension-based. It has many attributable and categorical facets, but prior to spatial data, that data does not have to be stored as a mathematical or picture form with specific relation to earth position. Spatial data – GIS, CAD, Lat/Longs, have to be stored in numerical fashion in order to calculate upon it. Further more, it hasnt be be related to a grounding point. Essentially, geospatial is storing vector maps or pixel maps. When you begin to put that together for 10s of millions of streams, you get a a very large complicated spatially referenced hydrography dataset. It gets even more complicated when you overlay 15-minute time-based data such as water attributes (flow, height, temperature, quality, changes, etc.) with that. Even more complicated when you combine that data with other dimensions such as earth elevations and need to relate across domains of science, speaking different languages to be able to calculate how fast water may flow a certain contaniment down a slope after a river bank or levy collapses.

Before we can get to those more complex scenarios, geospatial data is the next progression in data complexity .

That said, definitely check out our Geospatial Integrated Services and Capabilities

What do current disruptive technologies mean to the roles of the Federal CIO office

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

We wanted to ask: What do current disruptive technologies mean to the roles of the Federal CIO office? 

Currently the Counter Weights are in Legacy footprints, primarily legacy policy

Traditionally, the operating model and funding approach for IT has been based on the Brooks Act of 1965 and only added minor portfolio integration concepts based on the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. These acts were focused on internal IT cost-based centers, management information systems, mission control systems, and enterprise resource planning systems. These systems were all either internal mission or data processing systems used to run business. Since 1996, a lot has happened in the IT based. It has moved from cost center to profit center in the private sector and in the government space to service or profit center as well (i.e. profit for IRS in efiling). As normally is the case when shifting positions of an asset to the executive level, this also means the investment models change and shift as it is now a critical part of executing transactions and interactions direct with the public, yet our policies are now 20-50 years old.

A few general observations :
  1. The Federal experiment with Clinger Cohen and Circular A-130 addressing the role of the CIO and Enterprise Architecture has not neared fulfilling its objective. New strategies such as CloudFirst and Federal Shared Services are guiding investment, but not new roles of CIOs.
  2. The policy and roles need to be readdressed to manage disruptive technologies like shared services, commoditized cloud computing, information exchange or data and knowledge driven analytics and “who-knows-what-else” coming down the line.  
  3. The CIO’s shop has not been able to transform to meet the basic demands of security and infrastructure disruptions let alone attempts to solve the needs of the mission.  
  4. Additionally, Enterprise Architecture is and has been miscast and ill-defined within the CIO organization and as a result is being used for compliance reporting or to support internal CIO initiatives leaving the mission out in the cold.  

If these statements are agreed to be true, Is it a wonder that a nearly a dozen years after the circular was published that people are still asking “What is Enterprise Architecture”?  Or does the Capital Planning & Investment Control (CPIC) process really lend itself to shared services? Are these skills and tools in the right organization?

Opportunities abound if the right people are managing the disruptions

The federal government opportunities for improvement are many but the most valued will be floating betwixt and between the current organizational, process and data architectures – in the federal architecture ether. 
This poses an especially difficult task to the business.  The mission leaders need to be allocating skilled resources to understanding how to assess the value of disruptive technologies or service changes to address their goals.    It is old school thinking that the CIO as a service provider can penetrate their mission problems with the timely and appropriate application of technology.  The development of extensible cloud computing platforms with transparent accounting systems provides an essential key for the mission to step in, reposition itself, and own the movement towards shared services, enhanced information exchanges or improved mission processes.  After all, they are the immediate beneficiaries.

What might these new roles look like?

What might this look like from a 100,000 foot perspective? In a Business Week article, it summarizes the new role of the Federal CIO, historically an IT manager, is now:

 In sum, the successful CIO needs an intimate idea of how current technology can increase the company’s sales and not just reduce costs or improve clerical productivity.

Beyond the CIO role, there are several other key leadership roles to consider in new, coordinated policy.

  • The future CIO role should be targeted to managing infrastructure services and support shared mission services. The CIO can retain the acronym but in essence they should be managers of cross cutting infrastructure and once agreed to and designed and built by the business – shared mission services.  
  • The Chief Architect provides the analysis and design expertise to the Program Managers and Chief Knowledge Officer to help plan for the adoption of the disruption.  
  • Ultimate accountability for performance will be the charge of the Chief Performance Officer.  

In order to achieve true business agility while supported by the adoption of disruptive technologies and services, these roles will need to be figured out how to be repositioned to improve the government’s business capabilities and satisfy citizens, businesses, and cross-government customers.

The Surprising Reasons Why America Lost Its Ability To Compete

Blog post
edited by
Wiki Admin

Our Architecture Services Lead found this interesting Forbes article on “The Surprising Reasons Why America Lost Its Ability To Compete” written by several Harvard Business School MBA alumni. The article ultimately calls out management, not external factors as the reason for failure. 

 if there are disastrous shortfalls in the ability to compete, then surely the quality of management itself—the art and science of getting things done—must have a lot to do with it

Specifically, the focus on short-term and blaming external factors. At Xentity, we agree that though we understand management pressures in private and public sector have very impending issues to keep the organization within budget (public sector) and maintaining shareholder margins (private sector), but without and investment in outyear and next generation transformation, workforce, and research, the bailing water approach to management will not allow the organization to survive without adaptation. The article outlines:

  • Management trending to blame external factors instead of innovating, adapting, overcoming.
  • Management shifted to short-term focus and today’s numbers, versus investing in shared resources and pooling for longer haul
  • Managers have focused innovations and transformations more on cost-efficiency and cost-reductions and less on value-adding and increasing relevancy
    • Management education partly to blame focusing on short-term financial outcomes
    • Management shifted to focusing on maximizing shareholders outcomes while ignoring stakeholders needs
  • Instead of focusing on workforce/talent strategy, research, management instead continued focusing on short-term needs
  • Management can complain about government, external factors, but unless management finds way to not just focus on short-term needs, there is limited factors that government execution of new policies can do to stimulate growth
  • Management didn’t mention customer once in the report. C-level types have lost sight of understanding the communities of use, supply, and understanding their market
    • Management has lost ability to look back at the purpose of the program – to create the customer and balance with shareholder value

These observations from the study are very in-line with the Xentity’s published list of anti-patterns core architecture concepts towards view on transformation. As we published back in 2008, Our concepts are biased towards the next “generations” concept. The solutions recommended by the article generally align with our focuses on change as well:

Achieving continuous innovation and customer delight lies outside the performance envelope of firms that are built on hierarchical bureaucracy and focused on short-term gains and the stock price. It requires a fundamentally different way of leading and managing—in effect, a paradigm shift in management. It means:

Harvard Study: Management shiftsXentity Core concepts on addressing change

a shift from controlling individuals to self-organizing teams;

We are growing partners.

a shift from coordinating work by hierarchical bureaucracy to dynamic linking;

We think big on change, while changing small bits at a time

a shift from a preoccupation with economic value to an embrace of values that will grow the firm; and

We support executives transform their visions into action.

a shift from top-down communications to horizontal conversations.We share our concepts and supporting assets openly.

The article solutions wrap with balancing shareholder/budget-interests focus with stakeholder/relevancy focus:

 The article had some follow-on reads relating to this problem and emboldens many of the articles points:

And read also: 

In private and public sector, the management challenge is the same – external factors are continually battling against the mission, but management is doing the same thing to respond: Short-term cost-efficiency or cost-reduction approaches only with focus on the shareholder (private) or year-to-year budgeting (public). Management is not finding ways to balance the short-term and the long-term relevancy, and only education and leadership can help address, not waiting for external factors to make it easier.

Flattening the classroom by flipping the teaching engagement model

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

Continuing on from: The world is getting flatter – Why isnt our educational system?

With this approach, teaching resources will not be spent on redundant or duplicative efforts such as preparing and delivering the lesson. 

The video lesson and supporting services will do that.  A simple rough order magnitude business case estimates we can shift an enormous set of resources from preparation and delivery to creativity, facilitation and assessment.  Here is how significant a shift it is:

$63,033,390,000 = (180 days/year X 3.5 hours / days X $30/hr.) X 3,335,100 teachers

 

These tools will work for the vast majority of subjects and lessons. This cursory analysis assumes 2/3 of the lessons can be affected and that teachers deliver 5 classes /day with an average teacher salary of $30 dollars an hour sans benefits.  This obviously does not include the cost of developing the alternative content which should be offset by the cost avoidance benefit of not buying text books, improvement in teacher productivity, remedial education etc… 

This approach is certainly not arguing for a reduction in teaching resources or in their level of subject matter expertise.  This approach is arguing for:

  • A reallocation of the resources away from redundant lesson preparation and delivery towards ensuring the lesson is understood.
  • A role change that would place greater responsibility on the student and introduce the opportunity to customize educational delivery.
  • teachers to become facilitators of learning and apply their creativity, knowledge and inter-personal skills but at a different phase of the learning cycle.
  • students to be able to work with parents and other students to comprehend the lesson. 
  • for student centric education.

The combination of the Khan Academy and flipped classrooms allow us to do that.  The target state value chain now adopts the “create and facilitate” functions in lieu of prepare and deliver. (See Figure 2)  Ideally, if this is implemented and it provides the opportunity to save human resources by increasing the number of student to teacher ratio, the resulting resources savings should be reallocated to Early Childhood Education (ECE). Either way, as any rationale individual would conclude, ECE should be a high priority target investment opportunity due to its Return on Investment (ROI) and social benefits (3)

With this synthesized approach, we can achieve a form of scalability that allows us to focus on the application and assessment of the student’s progress.  It allows for creativity and the development of best of breed approaches for lesson preparation and delivery.  Students can progress at personalized rates using tools that conform to their learning styles.

Now, how do now get the best “quality” lesson preparation and delivery?

We take our “best” or most impactful teachers and they become the lesson producers who create and deliver the content for this new model.  We allow the best of breed lessons to develop at a grass roots level and let the market demand for quality establish what is effective.  If we empower the educators, we will find hidden stars and performers and discover teachers who are even more creative in enhancing this new model of education.  We will have tapped into a rare commodity that will enhance other teacher’s approaches and engage the students with a personalized approach. Motivating and positioning teachers to out create one another will only ensure the students are getting the quality they deserve.

Another fundamental deficiency within the current educational system is the limited role parents have.  

They are effectively shielded from the most critical part of the process – delivery. The communication model is woefully inadequate and in essence is single point of failure network with the child as the weakest link. (See Figure 3)

 

This new model allows us to “flatten” communication increase shared access to information between parents, teachers and students. It offers a number of additional possibilities.  A student will be more empowered and vested in their educational journey and will now be more responsible and motivated to set and reach greater educational goals.  The student’s goals and progress will be easily tracked and monitored by parent and teacher.  The approach aligns well with the rapidly developing technology trends on how our whole society is researching, discovering and learning new information – self-paced, personalized and content rich.  Each lesson can be the launch point for self-exploration and research on related subjects or a deeper dive into the content.  A student’s time and motivation, home support or peer group will now be the constraining factors.  The student is no longer the weak link between parent and teacher.  Parents will have the option take a more proactive role. If they do, wonderful, if not, the student has options to pursue with peers or go solo.  Inevitably, as the amount of information and content flow increases between the parents, students and teachers, the awareness of educational system performance and accountability will organically improve. (See Figure 4)

 

We will accelerate the transformation from the teacher-centered pedantic model to a student-centered responsibility model.  

Teachers will fulfill the challenging role of content creation, facilitation and assessment. If it takes the student 10 viewings to understand the lesson, they can now do that without system or peer pressure.  The student may do the lesson by themselves, with their family or with their peers. They can and should discuss it on social networks or in their friend’s basement.  Encourage educational topics to be discussed – anywhere and everywhere. Encourage the growth of educational communities.  Let’s destroy this anti-intellectual notion that we only learn in school and that it is best to learn by oneself.

Extending lesson delivery beyond the classroom, frees the student to collaborate and explore the best means to meet the lessons ends with a less restrictive timeframe.  Students could even share a computer and learn lessons together.  Why not?  Learning with peers has proven to one of the more effective means for intellectual, social and emotional growth.  Students should be encouraged and trained to learn collaboratively.  Why would we want to constrain lessons and learning to a teacher-centric classroom?  This is certainly not what will be expected of them in the workplace or in their personnel lives.  The world is flattening, why not the educational system and the classrooms?

Parents will no longer be “blind” to how good or bad a lesson has been delivered.  

They can be active participants in educating their children using a medium that is much more natural and intuitive than a text book.  They will be able to learn for the first time or relearn, as we often have to, along with their child. They will be able to take an earlier and more pivotal role in the learning process. This is potentially the most valuable and challenging departure from the traditional model. Why is it so important?  Parents will now have the option to model education and learning in addition to all other forms of social norms. Today, we have positioned parents in the background and we wonder why we do not get more school to home communication.  The achievement gap will also improve as we can shift the roles of parent and student to be integral to personalizing the educational experience.

We all know this has to change but we have never given the parents the tools to participate nor have we positioned them effectively in the learning process. 

We ask parents to help with homework but only after the child has had the lesson.  They have no insight into how effectively it has been delivered. We ask the parent to help the frustrated child when the parent has no idea how the lesson is structured or if they are contradicting what has been stated.  Let’s face it. We have outsourced education from the family. If we believe our own rhetoric and the underlying research, we all know that bridging the learning process between educators and family is transformational and the best means to ensure lifelong learners and an educated society.

Teachers should be empowered to create a “marketplace” for lessons and to be permitted to promote and sell them to schools.  

Teachers should be financially compensated for these creative outputs but more importantly honored for creating a better way to educate a student. Education is one of the few work pursuits, other than entrepreneurship, where one can readily create or influence the value of the core product or service.  We can improve educational performance with consistent content that is bundled with a customized delivery that addresses our inherent learning differences. Students should be able to choose from these alternative designs and personalize their educational approach based on what works for them.  We can develop a core lessons taxonomy and semantic model that will provide a means to catalog or organize the marketplace.  Teachers, administrators, students and parents will be able to search and discover based on content and delivery style what is needed for the individual.  Imagine a parent and child researching or shopping for a lesson to understand the Pythagorean Theorem and having choices.  No more running out to shop for just pens, notebooks, rulers and backpacks.  The family can now research and construct personalized curriculum for the school year!

This marketplace would allow teachers to develop a stronger and more creative voice, to be the principal producers of lessons and content that speaks directly to the primary stakeholders – the students. 

Teachers are the ones who get to see and assess what is working every day.  Allow them to build it, evolve it and ensure its impact.  Restore educators to a position of honor and respect.  Give a voice to students who undoubtedly will let the system know when it is not working.  Build a smart system that feeds and learns from itself and in the process let the model flatten.

If we do this with a national commitment, we will quickly rediscover the fact that children are not “robots”. 

They are much more capable of learning and taking initiative than we have come to expect from them.  What is needed is for them to know they are the principal stakeholders in their educational pursuit.  Given the chance they will take an active role in the structuring their educational destiny from the outset in collaboration with parents, teachers, friends and peers. Our future is at stake.

(1)      National Center on Educational Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84

(2)      ASCD September 2009, Volume 15, Number 3, Highly Effective Teachers: Defining Rewarding, Supporting and Expanding their Roles. Laura Varlas

(3)      The Economics of Inequality – The Value of Early Childhood Education  James Heckman, American Educator Spring 2011http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/spring2011/Heckman.pdf 

The world is getting flatter – Why isnt our educational system

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

Problem: The world is getting flatter – Why isn`t our educational system?

There are massive functional and communication inefficiencies inherent in our current public educational system at the elementary and secondary levels.  The problems are:

  • Lesson preparation and delivery work activity is highly redundant and costly.
  • Effective communication between student, teacher and parent is woefully inadequate and compromises student potential

Using simple architecture analysis techniques looking at the enterprise and specifically dissecting the education segment, these inefficiencies have been identified, modeled and evaluated and mapped to emerging educational solutions that will redress them.  The educational solutions presented in this paper have been developing organically within the education community but do not have a cohesive adoption strategy that will optimize their full potential.

What is insanity? 

According to Einstein “it is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  What does this quote have to do with our approach to education?  This is what we do; year after year after year.  During a typical school year, our 3,335,100 public school teachers working in 98,817(1) elementary, middle and high schools, prepare lesson plans, deliver lessons and assess student’s progress that to a large degree are redundant (See Figure 1).  This is performed at the cost of approximately $63 billion dollars a year.

 

Is this really the ideal way to run an educational system?  Is it the best use of skilled professional’s valuable time?  Is it a good use of a tremendously valuable and costly public resource? Here is the size of the resource pool that currently works in the U.S. primary and secondary education system:

  • ES and K Teachers 1,655,800 – Median Salary $50,150
  • MS Teachers 641,700 – Median Salary $50,770
  • HS Teachers 1,037,600 – Median Salary $52,200 (2)

To illustrate the point, every year tens of thousands of elementary school math teachers prepare and deliver a lesson on adding and subtracting negative numbers to their 25 or 30 children.  

Each teacher would have invested varying levels of rigor, dedication, creativity, design or customization to their approach.  Once done, the average teacher could probably expect a third of their students not be challenged, one third in need some moderate assistance and the rest to be struggling or in the process of giving up.

It is way too easy to blame the teachers. It is convenient and perhaps fashionable, to say it is the teacher’s shortcomings and fallback on sound-byte-based thinking:

  • They are not well enough prepared,
  • We don’t get the “best and the brightest”
  • Old fashioned, technically illiterate,
  • Unions, tenured and lazy,
  • Out of touch with current pedagogical approaches.

The vast majority of classroom teachers face the daunting reality that students learn in many different ways, at different rates, have different states of cognitive, emotional, and social readiness.  Not an uncommon phenomenon in most classrooms.  Imagine an educational model where the availability of a highly qualified teacher, their devotion or the amount time they have to solve a student’s learning barrier is no longer tied to a classroom clock.

Recent research strongly suggests that a highly effective teacher, given three years, can impact student achievement by 50 percentage points (2) when results are compared against other teachers and standardized test scores.  

 Regardless of one’s opinion of the value of standardized testing, these teachers are doing something very right.  They have “it”.  The data implies there are inherent benefits to be realized in high quality lesson preparation and delivery based on these individual success stories.  If we assume that only 5% of the teaching profession possesses this impact quality, it would leave us with a serious question: Can we significantly raise the performance of our teacher to a point that we could fundamentally change the existing educational model’s performance?  Let’s face it; teachers are no different than many other professionals.  They are subject to the same bell curve as are lawyers and doctors and engineers. We have a few great ones, a number of good ones, some in the middle amongst others. Enough said.

Are we betting our future on great teachers, a skill that seems to be pretty rare and should be highly cherished? 

Do we think we can train or re-craft even half our teachers to be that impactful?  No company of 1/10,000 the size of our education system would dream of trying such an approach.  Even if the best and the brightest wanted to commit to education, would we have enough money to pay for the quality and retain them? What would a business do?  They would analyze their value chain and the supporting processes and technical capacities to see what can be done to improve overall performance of the system.  They would not focus on just one high value component.  Companies would research and develop cost effective alternatives that drive systematic improvement.  The investment would be designed to compensate for the inadequacies of the system and attempt to improve the overall performance. 

In this case, how can we systematically improve the quality of lesson preparation and delivery to ensure greater student achievement? How do we tap some of those intangible qualities of impactful teachers and make them available to more students?  How do we increase the number of students who can demonstrate they  “learn” the lesson and improve their educational foundation? In essence, how do we create greater value from those rare teachers and their proven techniques?

Within education today, there are a number progressive grass root movements that are beginning to show the way to do just that. 

Many people have heard of the Khan Academy, an evolving multiple discipline digital video curriculum that enables students to interact with a lesson at their own pace, both outside or inside the classroom.   Another fascinating development is the flipped classroom. Here, creative teachers, once again, using digital video technology and the Internet, have developed video based lesson plans that allow the student to educate themselves, at their pace, within the confines of a coordinated schedule.  The student accesses the lesson online while they are at home or at a friend’s house.  The understanding of the lesson is assessed during the classroom hours.

While the students are learning the lesson at home, the teachers will have transformed the classroom time into working sessions.  In this milieu, the students get help with the application of the lesson via “homework” exercises, group discussions, collaborative projects and ultimately ensuring the qualitative understanding of the lesson.  Those that can learn faster learn more.  Those that need help are given assistance. These approaches allow students to absorb the lesson and push themselves towards personal growth instead of being subjected to the fundamental constraining parameter – the amount of teaching time in the class room.  A classroom of 25 to 30 students with differing skills and modes of learning are now free to spend the “appropriate” time to absorb the lesson in much more effective and personalized ways.  This can level the playing field and address the socio-economic achievement gaps within the system.

For more on the recommendation, continue reading to the next blog post: