The student is the center of the system. Whether she is a baby or a 20-year old career learner, her needs and aspirations drive a unique bundling of services that ensure she cultivates the agency, sense of self and competencies necessary to thrive as an adult. There is an expectation that the student builds her autonomy over time, taking on greater and greater responsibility for her learning.
The family and other caretakers of learners are uniquely positioned to support learners over time. In the new system, families are empowered with the resources, tools, and the guidance of their advocate to support decision-making and participation in learning aligned to each student's aspirations. Families are supported in building their understanding of the opportunities and resources available to support learning and care, and building the skills necessary to access and grow from these experiences.
The primary role of the advocate is to help the learner navigate the learning ecosystem in service of their goals by coordinating experiences, resources, and people. Advocates serve as a bridge between “the system” and the community, both locally and globally. Through the monitoring and management of supplemental tools, the advocate ensures access to relevant and timely information. Ultimately, we see the advocate as part of a network characterized by a simple, flat organizational structure with high levels of autonomy.
The new system affords opportunities for educators to take on roles that align with their own passions, interests and expertise. Educators can still choose to play multiple roles in support of learning (instructional delivery, instructional design, assessment design, data analysis, operations, peer coaching, leadership, etc.) or collaborate with teams and focus on a discrete need for students.
The new system is characterized by diverse providers coordinated to support customized learning paths. Whether attending to learning needs or supporting operations, we see an opportunity for providers to serve a discrete role, really well. For example, providers may be learning providers, such as cultural institutions, libraries, teacher collaboratives, or industry partners offering internships and apprenticeships. They could also be service providers, offering transportation, physical and mental health services, technology support, or nutritious meals.
The new system facilitates greater contributions from and to the community. The advocate network works diligently to cultivate strong community connection amid high levels of trust, and to grow a local ecology of learning support. The role of community also includes the peers, cross-generational members and experts that students interact with based on their needs and interests. This could be a local, place-based community, or a global network of learning that students access online.
Sugata Mitra, The School in the Cloud