eduScrum - why do we need it in Education?

June 09, 2021 ⌛ 9 min

#eduscrum
#learning
#education

This post is dedicated to everyone who cares about Education and who would like to discover some innovative ideas on how to help students to grow. You will learn today about eduScrum - a framework that I fell in love with and I would like to spread knowledge about it everywhere in the world.

Initially I was planning to write just a post about eduScrum basics, but then I realized that before explaining WHAT is eduScrum I need to tell you more about WHY.

Why do we need it in Education? Why could you even think about using that framework? Why do I like this framework so much?

eduScrum

The origins of eduScrum

To fully understand eduScrum you need to know its origins. That’s how it is described by the founder of eduScrum - Willy Wijnands:

It starts with a bottle of beer and a barbeque in the summer (June) of 2011 with Mark Reijn. Mark just finished a Scrum course given by Jeff Sutherland at the company Schuberg Philis in Amsterdam, where Mark works as a software engineer. Mark was very enthusiastic about Scrum, inspired by Jeff and he explained Scrum to me on one single paper.

He was the sparkle who put me on fire. In August 2011 I started one class using Scrum to try-out if it works in the classroom. In the beginning I was surprised that it was working. So, I began to use Scrum in all my classes with success. And so the name eduScrum was born.

When I read this story I can feel a huge inspiration and I am grateful that Willy discovered what Scrum is and implemented it in the classroom.

Why did I fall in love with eduScrum?

I am sure that behind Willy’s story there are problems that teachers experience in their life every day. He was talking with Mark , because he was looking for inspiration. He really wanted to help his students to collaborate better and to use their potential in the learning process.

I personally believe that the heart of eduScrum is care for students and discovering what can help them to thrive. That’s my WHY, the reason why I like eduScrum so much. I am inspired by this framework, because the main mission in my life is to help people to discover their potential and thrive.

If you ever plan to implement eduScrum in your classroom or project, remember - the purpose is not to give you another technique. eduScrum is not a silver bullet and it will work only if you will care about your students and give them the wings to fly.

fly

eduScrum & Scrum

As you could find out in Willy’s story, he created eduScrum after discovering what Scrum is.

If you are reading this post and it’s the first time when you’ve heard term Scrum, feel free to check out my previous posts:

eduScrum & Scrum have a lot in common, but I will explain it in the following posts. Today I would like to fully focus on WHY.

Why do we need eduScrum in Education, what are the benefits?

I’ve done some analysis below and explained 3 WHY’s to show you the reason why we need change like eduScrum in Education and what are the benefits.

Education now vs 100 years ago - linear teaching transformation

Initially, when I started writing this part of the post I wanted to mention that education didn’t change too much over the last 100 years. I will not do that, because I would be lying.

Let’s take a trip down the memory lane- what changed over the last 100 years?

  • 100 years ago education was available to limited number of people. Currently that’s the case only in some underdeveloped countries.
  • Schools are not using corporal punishment anymore. It is not legal in most of the countries in the world while it was a common approach in the past.
  • Technology is much more advanced - schools use active boards, computers, tablets.
  • In the past the teacher “was always right” even if that wasn’t the truth. Nowadays, there is more space for mistakes and teachers can make them too, because they are human beings, not robots.

What didn’t change?

I found a great picture on https://educationrickshaw.com/ that explains it well.

education

I wish I could tell you: the left hand side represents education 100 years ago, while the right hand side represents education now. Unfortunately that wouldn’t be true, because we still teach the way represented on the left hand side. Of course, there are some adjustments like rearranged desks, but one thing still didn’t change:

The direction of the arrow - it points from the teacher to the student.

T - represents teacher, S represents student and arrow shows the direction of teaching. As you can see in the picture on the left hand side, the arrow is going from the teacher to students.

What does it mean in reality?

  • Teacher is the source of truth
  • The role of teacher is to create creative, enjoyable lessons and make sure that students will remember what they are taught
  • Students job is to remember the lessons

There are few aspects in that approach that don’t really work:

  • Teachers can be great people but they they shouldn’t be the only source of truth & knowledge for students
  • Responsibility for the learning process shouldn’t be only on teachers shoulders
  • In this approach student is passive and only “receive knowledge”, while in reality that’s not the way how we learn

1. WHY: change of direction, students empowerment

Based on the analysis of the past and current approach, we can see that something doesn’t really work and that’s how we discover our first WHY:

To change the direction of the arrow. Let’s turn it all around and allow students to drive their own learning process.

Following the eduScrum guide:

eduScrum is a co-creative process in which students are no longer held responsible, but feel responsible for their own work and learning process.

student

The benefits of that approach:

  • Changing the responsibility for the learning process from teachers to students - teacher’s role is to inspire, support & guide
  • Students are more motivated, because they have autonomy and they can make their own decisions
  • It’s easier to recognize when individuals have troubles and more space to help them
  • Students can teach each other & spread their knowledge instead of being only receivers - double benefit, because they can also learn by teaching
  • Teacher can have more time for supporting and guiding students

2. WHY: 21st Century skills

In 2015, the World Economic Forum published a report titled “New Vision for Education: unlocking the Potential of Technology”.

The report describes 16 crucial skills for education in the 21st century:

  • Foundational Literacies
  • Competencies
  • Character Qualities

skills

As they mention in the report:

To thrive in a rapidly evolving, technology-mediated world, students must not only possess strong skills in areas such as language arts, mathematics and science, but they must also be adept at skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration and curiosity.

(…) in today’s innovation-driven economy workers need a different mix of skills than in the past.

Do we currently develop all those skills at school?

I am afraid that in the traditional linear way of teaching, we focus mostly on Foundational Literacies, while Competencies & Character Qualities are left behind.

That’s where we found our second WHY:

To help students develop 21st century skills that are required in our rapidly-changing world.

That’s exactly the purpose of eduScrum:

In eduScrum learning is central: learning smarter, learning to collaborate better and getting to know yourself better. In addition, this way of working provides more responsibility, pleasure and energy, resulting in better results and shorter lead times.

compass Source: https://www.eduscrum.nl/resources

The benefits:

  • We create better future & society members who will be able to adapt to changes. Students can learn how to collaborate. They will need that skill in their future work, relationship and family.
  • We shape human beings who are not only receivers, but they can think critically, have their own opinion and are able to decide what is the best solution. Their persistence, creativity & curiosity will help in solving problems in our society.
  • What is more, they can critically observe their own actions and improve themselves.
  • Communication skills will help students to express their needs, but also to be mindful about others, listen to them & develop empathy.

3. WHY: motivation & results

Some of you can think - “Wait a second, it sounds like a beautiful story, but we still need to prepare students to pass exams, we still need to help them to have the best results”.

That’s the moment when part of myself is sad, because I know how much we are driven by results and I know that during that process of achieving more and more it is easy to forget about people.

Buut, don’t worry! eduScrum: has it all covered:

eduScrum is a framework within which teachers and pupils tackle complex, challenging problems and pursue learning goals of the highest possible value in a productive and creative manner.

Teachers are frequently struggling with students’ lack of motivation. That’s the reason for our third WHY:

To motivate students intrinsically by giving them autonomy what leads to improving academic results.

The benefits:

  • Initially it will require more effort to change the approach, but once students discover their strengths, they will get motivated and their results will become better.
  • Students will not be learning only to get better results, but they will become more curious.
  • Teachers don’t need to explain how students need to achieve learning objectives, they determine only why and what.
  • At some point, students will not be learning only based on Curriculum, but they will be discovering more out of curiosity.

What is your WHY?

I know that this post is long and I didn’t really explain exactly what eduScrum is, but don’t worry, I will explain it in the following posts. I wanted to start by analysing our world’s needs in education first, so that you can use it later as a reference.

I could explain more and more reasons why I believe that we need a framework like eduScrum in Education, but I will leave some space for your personal reflection.

Why do you think we need some change in Education? Have you ever experienced difficulties at school either as a teacher or as a student? Is there anything that you could make better in education if you could?

Why

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Written by Renata Blicharz, a passionate Scrum Master who uses Scrum and eduScrum to change the world. Find her on Instagram and LinkedIn.