Agilix Buzz: Everybody talked about it. We did it.
Agilix Buzz, which was built using the Agilix Extensible Learning Infrastructure (xLi) technology, is a uniquely scalable personal learning application. Buzz is already being used in a number of Detroit schools where more than 11,000 students are benefiting from its robust feature set.
Buzz provides an extensible learning environment for all subjects, for all students. With Buzz, students manage their personal learning plans and instructors monitor their multi-dimensional “radar screens” and provide strategic intervention quickly and effectively.
Thanks to the decision to use xLi as its framework, the personalized learning model that Buzz manages offers five key components:
- Students are grouped by readiness, not age.
- Students choose learning pathways and master concepts at their own pace.
- Students self-assess their interest, understanding and effort.
- Students are responsible for their own learning and for supporting the learning of their peers.
- Students are monitored on productivity as well as progress.
Teachers guide students through this learning process and provide individual, group, and whole class instruction and intervention as necessary.
If you choose Agilix xLi technology as the basis for your next learning technology product or project, you can incorporate any or all of the powerful benefits included in Buzz with little or no additional programming.
1. How Buzz With xLi Fixes the Group-by-Age Problems
The problems that arise in classrooms and schools using the traditional “group-by-age” approach to organizing classes are well documented and widely viewed as unhelpful.
The solution is deceptively simple but requires a rethinking of the entire process of scheduling and assigning students to teachers. Instead of grouping students by age, Buzz with xLi groups students by readiness.
This means that all students who are reading at “level 2” are grouped with like students; a student reading at “level 2” could easily be matched with “level 5” math students. Students who complete a “level” are able to move to the next level at any time – they don’t need to wait until the end of the school year to advance.
2. How Buzz With xLi Allows Students to Choose Path and Pace
Everyone in the education community knows that students learn best when they can understand why they’re learning something and have some control over how and how fast they learn. The problem, of course, is that in a conventional teacher-led classroom, it is impossible to work with dozens of students, all of whom are on a different learning path.
Thanks to the state-of-the-art learning modules in Agilix’ xLi platform, Buzz allows students to be empowered to choose a learning path that suits them. Whether they learn best by an exploratory model driven by reasons for learning or by following a prescriptive course outline, they will find that Buzz meets them at their point of preference. Once they’ve chosen a path, they can largely set the pace at which they learn new material.
However, to advance to the next unit, a student must demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge in a teacher-graded activity as well as by completing a common assessment.
3. How Buzz With xLi Uses Self-Assessment as a Powerful Tool
Learning is as much a function of the learner as it is the curriculum. A student who is interested is more likely to learn than one who is not. Curriculum that is way over the head of a student doesn’t help at all. And finally – a student that isn’t trying at all isn’t learning (either they already know the subject or have given up)
With Buzz and its reliance on the xLi technology from Agilix, students have proven to be quite honest about their self-opinion. Students using Buzz complete daily self-assessments for each subject. Teachers see students’ colors change on their radar screen and can intervene.
4. How Buzz With xLi Encourages Peer Support for Learning
Individualized instruction runs the risk of isolating learners into their own little worlds. Cognitive understanding is strengthened by explaining concepts to others. Feeling part of a community makes everyone happier.
These are obvious statements, but it is rare to find a system that rewards students for helping each other and for being part of a community. Students in Buzz know that they are not alone – their peers are there to help. And they know that they have a responsibility to help others to ensure the success of the community.
5. How Buzz with xLi Helps Monitor Both Progress and Productivity
Productivity is a measure of how many learning targets a student is mastering in a particular subject per week. It is a rough indication of the trajectory of the student – either catching up or falling behind. When combined with the traditionally sole measure of progress against an arbitrary group scale, assessment takes on real meaning. It also gives students and teachers clearer and more positive feedback.
Buzz, thanks to its use of certain Agilix xLi modules, supports this advanced and more insightful assessment process. A Buzz student who is “behind” but has great productivity is “doing fine” while one who is “ahead” but demonstrates low productivity may be in need of an intervention.