After six-weeks, demo day arrived. Each team had to present the prototype of their mobile app to the district superintendent and the principal.
One by one they presented. In truth, as they were all solving the same problem, their solutions were quite similar. But it didn't matter. Each team was proud of what they had accomplished. They had done something that they never thought they could have done.
This pride in their work was contagious. There was a lot of joy and laughter that day.
Then it was my turn. To close, I wanted to provide a short reflection on this experience. As I had never met either the superintendent or the principal before, I wanted to share with them some of what I had learned in this sprint.
The only time I had previously seen the principal, Jami Fluke, was when she stopped by the class about mid-way through the sprint. She stood in the back, unannounced, for about five minutes. And then left. That was it. But the next day the teacher took me aside and said, "Jami gets it."
Dual Sine Wave
As I only had a few minutes to share my learning, I realized I needed to find a visual that could help explain this practice of interleaving that I had been using during the sprint. I wandered around the web, then found it: the dual sine wave. An image of one sine wave that has an inverted mirror, where the two continually intersect in the middle.
I talked about the power of integrating the act of creating with the act of learning – how in my software team, learning was always tightly integrated with creating.
By structuring the classroom experience to interleave the two acts, the students could be empowered and learn faster – something I called Purpose Driven Learning. While these theories could be tied back to Dewey and Piaget, it was important to find new practices that brought these theories to life. That was what I was doing in this sprint using an agile framework.
I was not teaching these students about mobile apps, I was showing them a new way to learn.
Of course, I was learning as this process unfolded. I am not, after all, a professional educator. And I wasn’t really expecting the superintendent or the principal to understand what I was doing – I was mostly putting these ideas together for my own benefit in order to synthesize the meaning of what I had just experienced.
But I didn't get the response I was expecting. Instead, Jami pointed at the graph of the dual sine wave and said, "I want that everywhere." And thus the partnership began.
DOT FROM preview-next-diagram
Next: The Partnership