Indigo Education Company Brings Personalized Learning to U.S. Classrooms

From Yahoo! Finance

BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Indigo Education Company promotes and implements personalized learning through non-academic, in-depth assessments and diverse school-based initiatives that put individual students at the center of education.

Indigo Education combines online assessments with an AI expert system that delivers individual student recommendations right in the classroom.  Robust professional development, an online career readiness course, entrepreneurship training, and consulting helps districts create human-centered strategic plans. By offering insights not found anywhere else, Indigo enables schools to transform their culture and improve outcomes.

Sheri Smith, founder and CEO of Indigo Education, says that her organization’s goal is to bring transformative change to public education, which has been built on a one-size-fits-all model. Smith advocates for a personalized learning approach that encourages innovation, individual strengths, and a student’s own interests.  

“The standardized approach to education is not giving students the skills and knowledge they need to connect with their futures. Students feel disillusioned,” Ms. Smith said. “Schools are eager for change but overwhelmed with daily challenges. Indigo Education offers solutions that provide meaningful impact and lead to positive results.”

Founded in 2013, Indigo Education uses the Indigo Assessment as the starting point to identify individual strengths in students as well as educators to bring personalized learning into the classroom at the middle, high school, and college level.

Indigo Education has delivered their assessment to over 75,000 U.S. students, as well as educators, in more than 100 high schools and colleges, with a comprehensive inventory of skills, motivators and behaviors based on more than 35 years of research. The Indigo Report also offers students custom post-secondary college major and career options.

Indigo Impact Initiative, the company’s nonprofit, catalyzes economic development in underserved communities by establishing partnerships that improve employment opportunities for students after high school.

Some schools and universities that engage students through Indigo:

  • Novato School District, Marin County, CA

  • University of California Irvine

  • Whitehorse High School, Navajo Reservation, Utah

  • United States Naval Academy

  • Phoenix Coding Academy

  • Peak to Peak High School, Lafayette, CO

  • Arizona State Barrett Honors College

  • Blue Valley CAPS, Overland, KS

Watch the video “Indigo Education Explained” to learn more.

For more information on the Indigo Education Company, its assessments and initiatives, call 877-665-3055, visit the website at IndigoEdCo.com, or email to info@indigoproject.org.

Click here to see article on Yahoo! Finance.

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Indigo Education Company Brings Personalized Learning to US Classrooms

Click here to download press release.

PRESS RELEASE

A Colorado EdTech company offers a range of personalized learning initiatives that focus on individual strengths to improve achievement and help students chart fulfilling futures.

BOULDER, CO. –  Indigo Education Company promotes and implements personalized learning through non-academic, in-depth assessments and diverse school-based initiatives that put individual students at the center of education.

Indigo Education combines online assessments with an AI expert system that delivers individual student recommendations right in the classroom.   Robust professional development, an online career readiness course, entrepreneurship training, and consulting helps districts create human-centered strategic plans. By offering insights not found anywhere else, Indigo enables schools to transform their culture and improve outcomes.

Sheri Smith, founder and CEO of Indigo Education, says that her organization’s goal is to bring transformative change to public education, which has been built on a one-size-fits-all model. Smith advocates for a personalized learning approach that encourages innovation, individual strengths, and a student’s own interests.  

“The standardized approach to education is not giving students the skills and knowledge they need to connect with their futures. Students feel disillusioned,” Ms. Smith said. “Schools are eager for change but overwhelmed with daily challenges. Indigo Education offers solutions that provide meaningful impact and lead to positive results.”

Founded in 2013, Indigo Education uses the Indigo Assessment as the starting point to identify individual strengths in students as well as educators to bring personalized learning into the classroom at the middle, high school, and college level.

Indigo Education has delivered their assessment to over 75,000 U.S. students, as well as educators, in more than 100 high schools and colleges, with a comprehensive inventory of skills, motivators and behaviors based on more than 35 years of research. The Indigo Report also offers students custom post-secondary college major and career options.

Indigo Impact Initiative, the company’s nonprofit, catalyzes economic development in underserved communities by establishing partnerships that improve employment opportunities for students after high school.

Some schools and universities that engage students through Indigo:

  • Novato School District, Marin County, CA

  • University of California Irvine

  • Whitehorse High School, Navajo Reservation, Utah

  • United States Naval Academy

  • Phoenix Coding Academy

  • Peak to Peak High School, Lafayette, CO

  • Arizona State Barrett Honors College

  • Blue Valley CAPS, Overland, KS

Indigo Education Explained

For more information on the Indigo Education Company, its assessments and initiatives, call 877-665-3055, visit the website at IndigoEdCo.com, or email to info@indigoproject.org.



Students at Endeavor Academy in Cherry Creek, Co. participating in a workshop lead by Indigo Director Sueann Casey.

Students at Endeavor Academy in Cherry Creek, Co. participating in a workshop lead by Indigo Director Sueann Casey.


Student at Whitehorse HS in Montezuma Creek, UT presenting his career goals at the school’s Indigo Freshman Day.

Student at Whitehorse HS in Montezuma Creek, UT presenting his career goals at the school’s Indigo Freshman Day.

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Indigo CEO Sheri Smith to Deliver Keynote Address at Annual Personalized Learning Conference

Click here to download press release.

PRESS RELEASE

“Innovation can come from the talents already hidden within the school by identifying staff and students who possess entrepreneurial qualities to drive change and create community in the process.”

BOULDER, COLO – Sheri Smith, CEO of the Indigo Education Company, will deliver a keynote address on Nov. 14 at the “9th Annual National Convening on Personalized Learning: Think Like a Start-up,” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The conference is sponsored by the Institute for Personalized Learning.

The topic of Ms. Smith’s address is “Empowering Intra-preneurial Leaders to Drive Personalized Learning.” Smith defines “intra-preneurs” as entrepreneurial-minded people with a focus on social impact and change. She will discuss research supporting how to identify intra-preneurs in your school and how these leaders drive personalized learning in the classroom.

“By clinging to old perspectives of what success looks like, you may be overlooking the greatest assets to your school,” Ms. Smith said. “Innovation can come from the talents already hidden within the school by identifying staff and students who possess entrepreneurial qualities to drive change and create community in the process.”

Ms. Smith is the founder and CEO of Indigo Education Company and the nonprofit, Indigo Impact Initiative. Indigo, established in 2013, has the vision of catalyzing a learner-centered education system that cultivates innovation, entrepreneurship and empathy.

A lifelong entrepreneur, Ms. Smith was integral in starting a metals distributor, coaching and consulting firms, and running a small retail housewares company. In 1998, she designed the first website hosted at the U.S. Department of State for Vital Voices, a global women’s rights initiative.

Introduced to assessment technology for hiring and employee development, Ms. Smith is an expert in these tools, which are used to build high performing teams, coach leaders, and align human capital to the goals of an organization.

Indigo uses these same concepts to engage students, empower educators, and transform schools.

Ms. Smith has spoken at various conferences, authored two books, conducts research, and authors papers. She graduated magna cum laude from American University with a B.A. in International Studies, and holds an M.A. from Georgetown University in Communication, Culture and Technology.

For more information on the Indigo Education Company, its assessments and initiatives, call 877-665-3055, or visit the website at IndigoEdCo.com. Our email is info@indigoproject.org.

 


Indigo CEO Sheri Smith works with elementary school students.

Indigo CEO Sheri Smith works with elementary school students.


Indigo CEO Sheri Smith.

Indigo CEO Sheri Smith.

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Assessment helps CSET engineer stronger students

Marette Hahn never will forget the day a freshly minted Grand Canyon University graduate dropped into her office, the big, bright, wide world rolling out the red carpet for him, spilling out all of its possibilities.

It was the summer after he graduated, his premed degree in biology still fresh in his hand. He was going to be a doctor.

His parents wanted him to be a doctor.

“But he had no desire to go into medical school,” Hahn said.

The student admitted to her, after four long years of climbing up that wall of chemistry and physics and calculus, “I hate it. I don’t want anything to do with it.”

Then came THE question: “Now what do I do?”

It wasn’t a fun conversation to have, Hahn said.

Members of the Canyon Activities Board took the Indigo Assessment, a comprehensive personality and career assessment, over the summer. Several Student Engagement groups and full-time employee groups at GCU have taken the survey to help with team-building.

These days, when the College of Science, Engineering and Technology student success specialist speaks to students, she often tells that story.

“I don’t want to have that conversation with you,” she tells them, at least not after they graduate: “I want to have that conversation with you while you’re a freshman or sophomore, while we still have time to figure it out.”

Stories like that are part of the reason why CSET takes a unique approach in serving its students and helping them find “their God-given purpose,” as CSET Dean Dr. Mark Wooden calls it.

Personality survey on steroids

It was in 2015, when GCU built its engineering programs, that the college started using the Indigo Project’s Indigo Assessment, a comprehensive career and personality assessment the department gives to its freshman engineering students.

This year’s cohort has until Sunday to take the survey before Hahn starts making her rounds in the engineering classrooms on Monday to “debrief” students on the results.

CSET Dean Dr. Mark Wooden said the assessment helps incoming engineering students determine early on whether their choice of an engineering major is truly in line with their internal motivators.

CSET is the only college on campus to incorporate an assessment like this into the curriculum, though Career Services does offer Career Compass to all GCU students who are trying to find a career path.

Just call it a personality and career survey on steroids.

“We were looking for something that would help incoming students determine early on whether their choice of an engineering major was truly in line with their internal motivators and capitalized on their unique strengths,” Wooden said.

Even if the student hasn’t asked, “Do I have the personal disposition and skills for the field I’ve chosen?” Or, “Will I be entering a career truly meant for me?” Wooden said, no problem. The department is asking – and answering – those questions through the survey.

More than academics

When helping craft the engineering program, Dr. Michael Sheller, Associate Dean of Engineering at the time, wanted the program to be more than merely academics.

“He wanted these engineers to graduate as well-rounded professionals ready to enter the workforce, and not a lot of college students have those professional skills,” said Hahn, who worked in Career Services before moving to CSET. “They don’t have enough experience, so he was really interested in trying to build, essentially, the career-development pieces into the curriculum. So rather than them having to go out and seek out that kind of assistance and guidance, it was just built in there for them.”

Such assessments have been used in corporate America for development training for decades. But in recent years, organizations such as the Indigo Project have found value in assessing college and high school students, too, and making them self-aware.

Not that the assessment’s value is just in suggesting career choices. It also gives insights into what motivates people, what value they have on a team and even how to improve their study skills.

The assessment incorporates the DISC model, which outlines four behavioral styles — dominant, influencing, steady and compliant.

The survey, which analyzes a person’s behavioral style, motivators, social emotional perceptions and 21st-century skills, takes about 45 minutes to complete. It asks students to rank, for example, what’s most important to them out of a list of 20 or so possibilities. Would it be a new car that’s ranked at No. 1? Or helping others? The survey wants to know if you value beautiful surroundings or if you like learning just for learning’s sake.

After completing the assessment, students receive a more than 20-page report detailing their top five skills, motivators, their strengths and their value to a team.

“It’s scary how accurate it is,” Hahn said of her own Indigo report.

A major part of the assessment is the DISC Model, which divides people into their behavioral styles: dominant, influencing, steady or compliant.

High dominants are big-picture risk-takers and go-getters, while low D’s are the more team-oriented peacekeepers.

Influencers are the enthusiastic ones who need to be in an environment where they’re working with people. “High I’s are going to be the people who talk to people on the plane sitting next to them,” Hahn said.

Those who score high in steadiness are loyal, calm, reliable and consistent — the ones who drive the same way to work every single day – while low S-scale people need constant change.

Those who are high on the C-scale, or compliance scale, want to know exactly what is expected of them. However, low C’s are “going to find a workaround; they’re still going to try to get that end result, but they’re going to get it in a different way,” Hahn said.

Building teams

Mechanical engineering technology professor Dina Higgins has used results from the Indigo Assessment to build student teams, particularly lab groups.

Mechanical engineering technology professor Dina Higgins

“That’s the biggest thing we do with it,” she said of herself and fellow engineering professors. “I put a group together based on Indigo results. … It’s interesting, because you can form groups in different ways.”

She said she has put teams together made up of members who all were congenial types that got along well. But that combination hasn’t always yielded the best results.

“The group didn’t have the person that says, ‘Hey, we’ve got a deadline. We’ve got to go!’”

Faculty have access to a dashboard and can pull up students’ profiles, see their classes, get a sense for their behavioral styles and put together effective teams based just on communication style, for example.

As for how the assessment helps students, Higgins said that those who might have doubted their choice in their career path will see their attributes highlighted in writing: “I think it’s a real good morale-builder. They realize they do have those tools to be successful. It’s like their swagger comes back,” she said.

Higgins has taken the survey herself. It helped her realize why she wasn’t the best fit for a business-development job she once had. She was good at the educational portion of that job but said she never wanted to close the sale. Looking at her Indigo results, she was reminded how money isn’t a motivator for her.

“Of course!” she said of that revelation. “Even as old as you might be, you still can learn things.”

She loves the “time-wasters” portion of the assessment, too, which details for the user what might hinder someone from maximizing their time.

Higgins said the DISC Model has been used in the corporate world for years. Having taken this sort of assessment in college gives students an advantage. They might, for example, realize their boss is a certain behavioral type and will know when to back off.

That kind of knowledge, Higgins said, “is empowering for a student.”

Team dynamics

While CSET is the only college to incorporate the Indigo Assessment into its curriculum, it isn’t the only department on campus using the survey. After hearing about the test, other groups on campus have been interested in taking the assessment, too.

CSET has collaborated with Student Engagement to help facilitate that.

The Associated Students of GCU, for one, “fell in love with it,” Hahn said. She has completed Indigo Assessment training with not just ASGCU but with the Canyon Activities Board, Freshmen Class Council and full-time staff, too.

“I just love doing those presentations so much because there’s so much clicking that happens. People will say, ‘Oh, that makes so much sense,’” she said. “It’s a little bit of personal awareness and development, but also some team dynamics as well.”

The Indigo Assessment is incorporated into the freshman engineering curriculum.

Rizella Espiritu, ASGCU club advocate and a sophomore nursing student, took the assessment with fellow ASGCU members during leadership training at the end of summer. The students shared their results with each other and attended roundtable discussions.

“A big part of it was to learn from each other and learn how we work differently,” Espiritu said.

Fellow ASGCU club advocate Madison Wade, sophomore environmental science student, said the test helped the team “get the best work out of each other.”

ASGCU’s Lexi King, a sophomore studying psychology, said the value in the assessment for her was it “helped us to know how to interact with each other.”

While the group used the survey mainly for team-building, King said it also guided them toward careers that meld with their personalities: “It helped you to know what environment you work best in,” she said.

Not that the assessment’s career guidance is an absolute be all, end all. Hahn said that whatever the Indigo report says, students ultimately have the power to decide what they’ll be doing after they leave the GCU campus, and they have their career and personality assessment as a tool to help them make those decisions.

“It’s not that you can’t do it. It’s that you’re really going to have to push yourself to do it if it doesn’t come naturally to you,” she said.

While engineers are high in steadiness and compliance, Higgins said she doesn’t fit the mold. She scores extremely high as an influencer and is an enthusiastic people person. 

“Engineering is not on my Indigo Assessment list for jobs,” she said, making this point to her freshman engineering students: “When you get this (Indigo Assessment) over the weekend, if the word engineering isn’t on there, don’t freak out. … We’ve got three engineers (on the faculty) who are high I’s. That’s not an engineering personality.”

So many different things go into engineering, she pointed out. For her, when it comes to an “engineering personality,” really, “There isn’t one.”

What there is is the knowledge that the world still will be rolling out that red carpet and spilling out all of its possibilities.

Click here to see article on GCU.

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Student Voice: Ahrash

Student Voice: Ahrash

April 25th, 2016, written by Nathan Robertson


I met Ahrash in a Kansas City suburb. I was working with 100 or so students doing workshops at his school, Blue Valley CAPS. At the end of the day, one of the administrators pulled me aside.

 

“Hey Nathan, can you talk with one of our students? I think you may have some good advice for him.”

“Sure. What’s his name? Anything I should know about him?”


“His name is Ahrash – he owns his own business. He’s trying to increase sponsorship for gaming tournaments he runs, thought you may have some good thoughts for him.”

 

There is something you don’t hear everyday – an 18-year-old seeking advice on business sponsorships.

Ahrash is as intense and passionate as you might imagine. Not only is he running a business, but at the time he was working on a research paper about why testing is not an effective way to prepare students for the real world. He’s a teenage business owner writing about how the education system hadn’t served him correctly.

After 20 minutes with him, I knew I had to get Ahrash on our website.

I’ll get out of the way to let Ahrash do the rest of the talking. Below is a short interview of him talking about his journey, his thoughts on testing, and why he thinks more schools should look like Blue Valley CAPS. If that is not enough to inspire you, scroll down to read his research paper.

Our youth are powerful. They have passions. They have a voice. Is your school empowering students to speak in this way?

The Effects of Academic and Standardized Testing on a Student

By Ahrash Karbasi

In today’s society students are being bombarded every day with test after test, resulting in grades going down, and in some cases, depression. There are many students sitting through an 8-hour school day learning things that they don’t want to because the school cannot offer a class to teach them what they want to learn, leading them to not try for tests and assessments. Because high-stakes academic and standardized tests fail to measure a student’s future academic potential or creativity and cause undue stress for students of all ages, academic and standardized testing should be eliminated as much as possible.

High stakes tests can be different for every student. For a student who is doing poorly in the class, it could mean that every test counts towards them graduating and passing the class. For someone that takes tests easily without the need to study, Finals, the ACT, SAT, or other college entrance exams are probably the high stakes tests. People may wonder who makes these tests; why are they so hard, and why do they decide your future. Alfie Kohn explains in his book The Schools Our Children Deserve, that there are these so called “educational authorities” that have been given the right to create a test that decides ones future. However, those people did little to take into account the different: learning styles of students, skill levels, or even where they went to school. Kohn also explains in his book that students that are in a lower income based town are inherently going to be worse test takers and in turn more trouble makers. It is almost impossible for the “educational authorities” to take these multiple factors into consideration even though they should, after all, it is a test that decides the rest of your life. If the school system continues like this, with these standardized tests and college entrance exams, we will end up living in a society much like the society in The Giver. People will start taking tests and it will decide where they will be “placed”, like they have no choice at all, almost exactly The Giver portrays when they have young teens placed into their “correct job”, apparently fit for them.

There are multiple alternatives to the methods that we have now. Howard Gardner explains in his novel The Alternative to Standardized Testing that schools and testing methods should change to how most pre-industrial societies were like. They slowly integrated children and young teens (depending on skill level) to a hands on learning environment and gave them a learning figure based on not only what they were good at, but what they wanted to do as well. Gardner isn’t the only one talking about this. Khon and Gardner both talk about apprenticeship learning in their novels. Apprenticeship learning is a fancy term for saying hands on learning. It’s the more modern version of the pre-industrial integration/learning process for teens. Very few schools around the world give students an opportunity to do things like this. For example, Blue Valley CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies) does this almost perfectly. With the combination of connections, guidance, and tools, the students are able to not only have a more relaxed and comfortable environment to work in, but they also go off campus for research, meetings, learning sessions with mentors/sponsors. That combination gives an edge up in the real world for students that have the opportunity to do such things. They have basically been introduced to the work force, giving them insight on what they would like to do after high school or college. However, the only way they are going to get to any of those jobs is by passing all of those exams.

Some may think that testing isn’t bad at all. And personally I agree with that, most people do. Testing is a great way to set aside the prepared versus the unprepared. However that’s only in ideal conditions. There are multiple factors to take into consideration when looking at students test scores, from if they studied to just having a bad day or week during the testing period. I interviewed Nathan Robertson via email after listening to his presentation over Indigo at CAPS. Indigo’s main goal is “empowering students with non-academic assessment and analytics”. Meaning that they go around providing schools with a different method of testing. One that shows a student’s weaknesses and strengths. Robertson is working with his team to bring this to a national or even an international level, shifting the current regime of testing to a more modern version of placement testing. Even Robertson says, “Testing in itself is not inherently bad. It’s important to discover an objective metric by which to measure achievement. Where I think our education system is currently struggling is that tests such as the ACT or SAT do not account for the things that make us human. How do you account for creativity? How do you measure presenting skills on paper?” Just like Robertson said, there is no way the SAT or ACT can measure a students passion for a project, creativity, and certain skill sets. The only thing those tests can do is tell if a student is good at memorizing equations, viewing and analyzing charts, as well as working through a math problem. He goes on to explain how standardized tests have no way of proving one’s career success, or how they will act and live in the real world.

            Laura-Lee Kearns explains in her section within the “Canadian Journal of Education” that an improvement in test scores doesn’t always mean an improvement in learning. Just like Robertson said in my interview with him “… a school can prove they are ‘good’ if their ACT scores rise, or ‘exceptional’ if a certain percentage of students get over a 30.” Meaning that it’s just a false sensation of someone getting better. Sure they might get better at memorizing it, but did the student really learn that, and are they even going to remember it past high school, or college?

Students aren’t the only ones effected by this push for more testing. Stress is brought upon teachers as well. A student and teacher can only teach do so much when being lectured and pushed by his/her parents, administrators, peers, or even the media. That is exactly why “…standardized testing brought about a real sense that there was a lack of care and concern for their well-being and that of their peers.” (Kearns 118) School used to be people’s safe place, their go to when they had stress and just needed to focus on something they were passionate about. Teachers used to be the ones students went to for help, not only with school but life choices as well. Now all of that is just clouded up by the stress that the administrators push onto their teachers and students. “Some students not only expressed ‘shock’ and a lack of understanding at the test results, but some felt ‘shame,’ ‘degraded,’ “humiliated,’ ‘stressed,’ ‘a little less smart,’ ‘like a loser,’ and expressed ‘fear,’ upon learning that they had failed.” (Kearns 119) Those things that students think about themselves cause so much stress, sometimes so much that they cant handle it anymore, leading to increased dropout rates, depression, or even in worst cases, suicide, all things Kearns says in her study. The educational system is beginning to become corrupted and turning into the opposite of what it was meant to be.

Even many intelligent and very smart people have to deal with things like this all the time. I personally struggle with theses high stakes tests every day. My high school administrators will look at my ACT score and my GPA and deem me an “at risk” student (qtd. in Kearns 115) Meaning that I might not even pass or graduate, and that I certainly don’t have the potential in college or past that. However, they don’t look at the long lasting business that I have been working on for 2 years, one that has gotten me scholarship offers to schools that know my grades and ACT scores, and even gotten me money after the point where I started braking even. The school again, doesn’t take necessary things into consideration when they should. Nathan Robertson talked about how he too was affected by this for 19 years, trying to figure out why the educational system was like this and what he wanted to do with his future. He said, “I was a kid that didn’t fit the high school system. I had 30 on the ACT but only a 3.0 GPA. I was bored, restless and unable to see the value in my education.” And that’s exactly what brings students down, some that are even too accelerated for their classes become affected like Nathan was. That’s exactly why he started working at Indigo. He wanted “to help students make those type of discoveries about themselves when they are younger. The sooner you figure out what makes you tick and how you can be confident in that, the sooner you can go out into the world and do big things.” Assessments that Robertson and his team at Indigo create should be the new method of testing in today’s modern society.

Overall, testing isn’t a bad thing. And many anti-testing representatives agree with that. There is just a limit. There should be testing in the form of quizzes, unit tests, and maybe even finals. But to go as far as having a test such as the SAT or ACT decide the rest of your life for you, well that’s a line that shouldn’t have been crossed in the first place. After all, we don’t want to end up living in a society like The Giver.

Works Cited

Gardner, Howard. Evaluation in Education and Human Services. Vol. 30. Boston;

Dordrecht: S.n., 2000. Print.

Herman, Joan. The Effects of Testing on Teaching and Learning. Washington, D.C.:

Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse, 1990. Print.

Kearns, Laura Lee. High-stakes Standardized Testing and Marginalized Youth: An

Examination of the Impact on Those Who Fail. Http://files.eric.ed.gov/. St.

Francis Xavier University, 2011. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.

Kohn, Alfie. The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving beyond Traditional Classrooms

and “tougher Standards” Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print.

Reddell, Samantha. High Stakes Testing: Our Children at Risk. Print.

Robertson, Nathan. “Re: CAPS Presentation” Message to the author. 2 Feb. 2016. E-mail.

 

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Student Voice: Abram

Student Voice: Abram

April 12th 2016, Written by Nathan Robertson and Abram


When talking to skeptics of personalized learning, a common argument I hear is, “Well, the students don’t care. Why put in the effort when they won’t put in the effort?”

For those who hold to that argument, Abram disagrees with you.

We are constantly getting feedback from students after working with them. They feel empowered to make changes in their schools and to advocate for themselves. Abram decided to put his thoughts about his Indigo Report and education down on pen and paper. It’s a powerful example of what students can do when you give them an opportunity to speak. Student voice, student choice.

I’ll let Abram take it from here.



Hello my name is Abram and I am a sophomore at New Technology High School;. My definition of being successful in life varies from the social norm of simply getting rich and owning a lot of things, my definition of being successful is being happy and feeling fulfilled with you life. The Merriam-Webster secondary definition of success is the attainment of wealth and favor this definition is entirely subjective. Now what is my interpretation of this? My interpretation is that we value materials over personal relationships.  In a paper by Bill Mckibben he concludes that as our houses get bigger, our personal relationships become fewer. This is disturbing to me, how can we be so lonely but still want more? My question for the world is what’s the point of all of your hard work if you just want to spend it all on yourself. In The United States alone 53,000,000 million people face hunger, a large portion of this number being children.


I’m lucky to go to a new tech school because I can express myself more than kids at others. This is a hard fact to come to terms with since I don’t think I express myself and show my full potential. However I find it harder and harder to be truly happy and fulfilled with what I do as a student, as the “challenges” we are presented do not work our minds but simply require a google search or a calculator. Guidelines are getting stricter, lessening my ability to express myself through school. In one instance my teachers did this really neat simulation of what a school in the industrial revolution would be like, they referred to us by numbers and wore old timey clothing, and it was really interesting for me, but my classmate sitting next to me became angry as the figures of authority became stronger. This was an eye opener for me because it showed how it wasn’t just the older generation that prefered standard types of learning and routine. 


What I would like to see in education is small groups of equally talented individuals given a real world problem to solve by a teacher and solving it. My school has given us a few of these real world projects and in my school’s environmental studies class that I TA for they are doing exactly this, they planted oak trees at Skyline Park and helped with taking out invasive species of plants at the Oxbow flood overflow.  To add to the first part of that, I find that my teachers seem to disperse the more motivated students among the less motivated to take the brunt of the work from them. This is unfair to the more motivated, as it hinders them with what should be others responsibility. My favorite project I worked on was during my Freshman year. The project was to present a solution to a real world problem to our class. This was really interesting because we had to learn from others solutions and research, instead of just teaching about something that was already known about. For the final we presented a model of an easily constructible home for refugees. 


As you can see from my report I am not motivated by traditions. I do respect them but I disagree with many that have lost their relevance. For example the division of labour between men and women was useful when we were dropping like flies to disease and conflict, but in our modern world basic survival is not a thing that we need to worry so much about. The discrimination of women in the working world is unacceptable. One of my least favorite phrases is “It’s always been done this way” this saying drags us as a society down because it provides no other reason than it was relevant to people before me. Times change rapidly and relevant information of the past becomes quickly irrelevant. In my opinion this is not a basis to make a decision. I do realize how helpful it is to base our decisions off of prior knowledge but their is a difference in relevant and irrelevant prior knowledge.

Thank you for listening.

-Abram

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