The Case for Hybrid Logistics to Solve Inequity
By LeiLani Cauthen
Editor’s note: This is part one of a two part series.
First of all, hybrid logistics is a trending thing. Hybrid is the new word for schools that are delivering live teaching for students that are either remote via online connection, or they are on campus or both. Because of the pandemic, schools are working towards transforming for better student experience, what has long been discussed by the Learning Counsel and the EduJedi Leadership Society as “Becoming Expo Learning Centers.” Logistics is the word for how you would manage the workflow complexity in the schedule and teaching and learning using technologies.
Hybrid Logistics reimagines the old grade and class structure in favor of a course structure that includes digital workflow management. Hybrid logistics creates independent student progression and a rearrangement of students into fluid memberships of large main rooms or “houses,” possibly multi-grade, overseen by rotation of teachers and paraprofessionals while students learn asynchronously. The intersection with teachers is based on pace through normalized pre-set lesson sequences for whole or small group lessons (in-person or virtually). Algorithms determine when to close a cohort in a lesson for a live teaching intersection point, schedule the teacher and classroom space, and trigger a notification to all calendars. Teachers spend their asynchronous time on one-on-one direct instruction and other duties personalizing learning. Students jump to other subjects if they get to a live teaching intersection and the class hasn’t been triggered yet. Hybrid logistics disassembles the classroom whole group and streamlines lecture-style and individual instruction, removing a lot of the management of digital traffic, as well as classroom management.
It is not regular workflow with manual spreadsheets and documents of pacing guides, separate schedules, separate lesson planning for every single teacher using multiple systems, and then independent practices of blending tech and various apps into the learning experience, or all teachers managing the traffic of simultaneous lecture-and-lead classrooms where some students are social distanced in the room and others are video conferencing in. Nor is it the same “form” where leaders and teachers struggle to keep the manufacturing-line orientation of grades and classrooms while mutating in too numerous ways for the flexibly present student body and truly personalized paths. It’s a new form that retains live teaching with a more succinct definition of what constitutes teaching.
A Hybrid Logistics Interchange is a software system to automate multi-tiered master schedules, school space use, teachers and students. The interchange algorithmically interrelates pacing guides; flexible four-level schedule calendars, and lesson paths with specific points marked for live teaching intersection, auto-cohorting and auto-routing. All other learning is asynchronous with choices for learning oversight based on student age, and whether the student is on-campus or remote. This is a new emerging technology.
The Case for Hybrid Logistics Transformation
What could be done about a traditional schooling system that seems itself to be a major part of “systemic inequity” because of its ancient structure? It’s not such a leap of faith to consider that inequity programs will not go very far if they don’t address the very structure and methods of teaching and learning that arguably are systematized to create nondiversity. A gloss-over with a new program teaching that there are inequities without truly addressing them with a rework of personalized delivery of schools themselves may even be hypocritical. 9 Since traditional schools are engineered for the non-specific collective, a one size-fits-all which then has to be constantly tweaked to be “personalized,” what about instead starting with personalized paths? Backwards engineering the whole thing? That would mean not thinking with how humans are typically organized pyramid-like in large organizations, as well as classroom-levels, where teacher over-whole-group-of-students is the original blueprint, but instead thinking with digital structure. Digital “structure” is more of an un-structure, with direct and on-demand paths. Digital is network node-and-line where the end-node is a human-with-computer, but the line goes to any content and any other human anywhere. What if what was engineered through digital systems was a personal path for every student, at least based on pace at first? Then built-out with more alternate learning off-shoots based on individual needs until eventually the potentials are awesomely personalized? How could that possibly work to still intersect with teachers without overwhelming complexity so that the teacher had to know all the different path content? How about the social community aspects? What about the youngest students? How are truly personalized paths even possible without the now much maligned all-online and mostly without teacher models? Aack!
What’s missing is an understanding of the true capacities of tech, which are dramatically underutilized due to the nature of software being built for the existing way schools are structured – either for the bureaucracy or for the teacher, but rarely for the student, with all workflow logistics considered for how teachers would intersect.
Of course, digital is not a human replacement. It should, however, be allowed to achieve its role of isolating and elevating human instruction, particularly 1:1 direct instruction, but how?
The way out is the way through. A software model architecture, meaning a compilation of systems and digital lesson pieces and courseware, put together so that they intentionally invert the roles of teachers, is leading through digital systems. Teaching is then isolated into those moments of helping students understand a concept and social-emotional inspirational moments.
Tech has replaced a whole lot of human function already with grading systems, reporting, testing, and more, but these were always considered by teachers to be drudgery. Its incursion into the construct has largely been administrative. Yet when it comes to the purveyance of knowledge, “Whoa,” saith the educator, “Stop right there. All eyes on me as the teacher, please. I selected the bits and pieces to learn against the standards and wrote the lesson. I’ll tell you what to read next, show images, ask questions, and deliver through the modulation of my voice the emphasis on the things to know while shepherding all of the class’s attention. I will do all the issuance of every assignment, receive from each and every one of my students each and every response. I will check more than a dozen digital dashboards a day and try to do a few things to personalize some learning. I will manage all the traffic for all my students and somehow pay enough attention to every student so that every single one achieves.” The ancient art of teaching is replete with tremendous significances about how it is done, and no outsider may question this. Individual subjects are whole universes of methodology to master.
Besides, teaching is a specialized performance art and requires being a skilled disciplinarian over whole groups.
End of part 1
About the author
LeiLani Cauthen is the CEO and Publisher of The Learning Counsel. She is well versed in the digital content universe, software development, the adoption process, school coverage models, and helping define this century’s real change to teaching and learning. She is an author and media personality with twenty years of research, news media publishing and market leadership in the high tech, education and government industries.