Complexity in schools in 3D

OverviewMany of the connections among the traditions in our schools have obvious links – teachers/resources/instruction, or students/ instruction/teachers/outcomes – while others are more complex.  This complexity of schooling – school leader as advocate for the students, or the range of items that might be considered as resources beyond instructional materials such as meals and transportation and the focus of our efforts to drive improvements is regularly captured in the variables between various frameworks, research studies, beliefs and practices.

Maybe it’s the air of summer, or the need to escape political discussions, or that conversation with a nephew about creating 3D imagery, that set this idea floating through one night which lead to messing around with ways to represent the notion, and consider how it might have value in the complex and often messy world of changing the outcomes we are getting in too many of our schools.

Each of the si1x3.1 panV1x3.2 panVx core elements has crosslinks to the other core elements and it is the intersection of these crosslinks and the complexity of how those links drive each other that is the heart of this visual.  One challenge is that none of these arrangements are fixed or all inclusive e.g. the “students” map does not contain resources, yet students are the primary beneficiaries of the resource allocations and students do utilize those resources be they textbooks, technology or lunch. – but there is generally an intermediary between them.

That is the nature of the complexity that I am hoping to explore in the 3D perspective in this model where  each core element is the face of a cube – like the six sides of a die. Disassembling the die gives each face a pyramid shape that joins all the other elements at the center – a confluence I am considering as the school culture resulting from the effects of all six elements working together.  If you can visualize that projection – each exterior edge aligns with one edge of four other facets, and inside the die, each corner and edge of the pyramid intersects with the corners and edges of two others – e.g students, teachers and instruction… (resources are linked to students through teachers “utilization” of resources, and “guidance” from those instructional resources).  This is the area I am working on next – how to describe and support consideration of what happens in and around those adjoining elements that create the school culture and what can we do intentionally to make it better.

Instruction Outcomes Resources Leadership Students Teachers

In the 3D model I have added a label at the point of intersection of the faces on the dice as an effort to offer a broadly descriptive starting point for considering the relationship between those facets- though like all such labels they are not intended to limit the scope of the relationship – just provide a starting point for consideration.

My thought is to turn this into a 3D space that has both a fly through to visit the concept intersections, and a walk through experience with attached guiding questions, along with follow-up sharing of the ideas and complexities that emerge as a point for further discussion.  (The screenshots above are from my first effort to remember how to build 3D models – its been a few years – but this is one of many free tools out there).


Improving education stats

Linda found this one: Arun Ramanathan of Pivot Learning Partners on statistics in education and statistics in baseball.

Stats OPS wikipedia
image source:

“So, why is education so old school?”
…and not just the data…
• We’re talking about public money so accountability is a must, but do we have to spend fiscal resources on the same things, in the same ways, with the persistent inconsistent results (as measured by our oversimplified indicators)?
• Is teaching more complex than playing ball? As you said, what measures might matter if we wanted to instill a more challenging level of play into the learning field by being better informed about how well we are playing the game?
• How does this work when the students, parents, advocates and data savvy teachers have a deeper and better grasp of the scope and implications of the data than the educational leaders?
• And then there is that old assumption that just because every game starts out with a nine inning expectation (and a television time slot with fixed commercial breaks) that the game will end on time, that the outcomes can be simplified into a win or a loss, and the fans will have had an adequately good enough time when the talking heads have filled out all the available air time…
We have to talk about systems as variable as the weather but most of our data only tells us about the conditions at one point some time in the past, that has few reliable reference points for what we might best do tomorrow.