A Message from Phil Dawes, Edushift Lead and Founder
Hello, and welcome to Edushift!
I have a question for you. Have you ever been the casualty of a wrong system?
From time to time we all find ourselves immersed in systems that, for many reasons, don’t work for us. It could be the slow or ineffective transaction that you are trying to navigate through an on-line platform that doesn’t work as it should. Or perhaps you find yourself in an unnecessarily long lineup due to a poorly organized service setup. The point is, our day-to-day lives are impacted by systems. Systems are necessary. Good systems effectively connect the necessary actions to achieve something of value for the user and the system itself.
The digital world we live in now is changing our expectations for service delivery systems. We want, and increasingly expect, more personalized services. The technology and information at our fingertips can inform and deliver what we want and need as individuals. We can connect with anyone or anything, anytime.
It is not surprising, therefore, that we are seeing an increase in the demand for personalized educational services. The term “personalized learning”, which rarely existed ten years ago, is now at the forefront of educational improvement efforts everywhere. Unfortunately, a critical aspect of this important discussion seems to be missing; that is, our educational systems were not designed to provide personalized service.
Our industrial age educational systems have served us very well. But they were designed in a different era to support the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student. When we see innovation that promotes personalization through more student ownership of the learning process, we need to acknowledge that this is happening despite current educational system design, not because of it. Our educational systems need to be re-oriented to account for the individual needs of students. They need to become learning systems.
Our educational systems are designed from an industrial era perspective. The system is organized to group students by age. Curriculum is packed together as isolated courses. Students pass or fail based upon the amount of correct information they have retained as transferred by the teacher. In contrast, learning systems are designed to support teachers and student as partners of the learning process. Through this system structure, the student is empowered to assume greater ownership of the learning process that works for them. The need and capacity to restructure our educational systems to learning systems is directly related to technological advancements.
In short, our educational systems need to shift to a student-focused mode of service delivery. This is more than simply acknowledging and respecting "student voice." It implies a redesign of the three interconnected systems that encompass education as a whole; the classroom, the school and district level. Instead of the student meeting the needs of the system, learning systems meet the needs of the student.
Industrial era service delivery is founded upon information flow and resource allocation strategies that transfer from the district, to schools, to classrooms, to students. In comparison, meeting the need for personalized educational services requires service delivery that promotes a direct connection between the student and the classroom, school and district level systems. But integral to this service delivery change is an understanding and ongoing application of information from the student perspective. That is what Edushift is about.
Edushift is a community that is assisting the necessary change to a personalized service delivery model of our educational systems. A platform to share information and ideas, Edushift is building momentum and optimism for change leaders including students, parents, teachers, administrators, support staff, district leaders, tech leaders – anyone interested in joining this important movement.
Feel free to learn more by visiting my portfolio at or reading some Edushift articles. Help Edushift to help education by taking the Edushift needs assessment poll, sharing your ideas, or telling a friend or collegue. There is something for everyone who wants to participate.