This profile is the first in a series from the EdSurge Research team, which has spent the past six months studying the market of service providers that support schools through the redesign process. Bringing about change in schools is complex. There are organizations that support different kinds of transformation in schools and after researching and interviewing some of these organizations, we've learned a great deal about what these changes can look like, how schools go about redesigning aspects of their model, and what types of support they need along the way. In October, we will share a guide highlighting the trends, insights and challenges we've learned about while profiling five key players in the world of school redesign. Stay tuned!
In 2008, Adam Rubin and Todd Kern co-founded
2Revolutions, or 2Rev, because they believed the field of education was siloed, preventing innovation at scale. They created 2Rev as an education design lab—a place where designs for innovative learning models could be developed and tested.
From 2008 to 2011, the company worked on projects spanning early childhood, grades K-12, higher education and the workforce, while simultaneously crystallizing its philosophy. In 2011, Rubin and Kern co-authored and released,
Designing The Future of Learning, a white paper focused on the transformation taking place in the educational system. In the report, they share the 2Revolutions framework and describe six trends in education: personalization, growth in technology, more balance between formal and informal learning experiences, advances in learning sciences, shifting policies and increased economic pressures on the traditional model for instruction. The release of the paper, which Rubin and Kern refer to as their thesis, launched their next phase of work and has been a driving force behind every project since then.
From 2011 to 2015, 2Rev shifted their work to focus on assisting schools, districts and states with building future of learning models and helping those models succeed and scale. The company offered three main types of support that align with its thesis: school design, school model implementation support, and systems design and implementation. Since 2012, all of 2Rev’s offerings provide a blended experience, including face-to-face sessions as well as online learning opportunities.
In 2015, after working with other tech partners, 2Revolutions decided to build its own social learning platform from scratch. The platform,
InspirED, was released in March 2016 and as of summer 2016 it has 28,000 users, some of whom have worked in states or districts that have received design support from 2Revolutions. The platform’s goal is to build connections between educators, allowing them to create and share resources that can help transform learning. The company now aims to provide direct support at the state and district level, while also reaching an increasing number of educators through its new platform.
In addition to the platform, the company has also brought together 75 experts to form a group which they call the “talent cloud.” The individuals in the talent cloud include teachers, administrators and CEOs; 2Rev taps their expertise for specific projects or portions of projects when needed.
Who They Work With
2Revolutions works with individual schools and districts on projects of varied scale that span a broad range of challenges. The company is most excited about opportunities to collaborate with schools or districts over a long period of time so that the team can develop proof points for new models that work at the school, district and state level.
What They Do
2Revolutions provides planning, design and implementation support at the school, district and state level. All of 2Rev’s work is focused on building future of learning models, designed around an aspirational set of principles and characteristics. The company uses a blended approach pairing in-person activities with the use of the
InspirED platform to help practitioners transform their practice. The platform was designed to help teachers and school leaders communicate individually and in groups, to access content to inspire them around what is possible for their transformation and to share resources that can support the design and transformation processes.
The company works with each partner to identify goals, design possible solutions and test out those solutions by building and implementing a short cycle prototype. 2Rev’s work falls into four categories: Discover, Map, Build and Implement. The categories of work are not linear; all partners participate in some degree of map work.
A Specific Engagement
From July 2013 through the present, 2Revolutions has worked with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) to help the state move towards a next generation learning model focused on student-centered learning across its districts.The company supported CDE and CEI to explore possible strategies for beginning this transformation and continued to provide assistance as districts and schools started experimenting with changes and eventually engaged in whole school redesigns. It also worked at the district level to ensure that the conditions necessary for the changes were in place.
The purpose of the discover phase of this project was to help leaders and educators from the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Education Initiative develop an understanding of competency-based learning. Participants took an online course in the InspirEd platform to prepare for a virtual symposium designed and facilitated by 2Rev. The symposium featured asynchronous content that could be accessed at any time, and a virtual session including stories shared by practitioners from across the country with experience in competency-based education. Participants could ask questions and engage with these practitioners. From 2014 - 2016 there have been six or seven cohorts that have taken the online course and two cohorts that have taken the symposium, with the third planned for the fall.
During the map phase, 2Rev worked with the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Education Initiative to develop a clear picture of how they wanted to transform education. Part of the work was supporting state and district leaders in developing a strategy for how to make the changes, and part of the work was helping them tell their story.
Colorado wanted to build an ecosystem for innovation so that schools and districts throughout the state could participate in the transformation based on their interest and readiness. From 2013 to 2016, 2Rev helped the CDE and the CEI build a plan for the transformation. The plan included developing a broader definition of student success, experimenting with short-cycle prototypes and working toward whole school redesign. Colorado eventually adopted the InspirED platform, calling it Colorado ConnectEd.
From 2013 to 2016, 12 Colorado districts and about 150 educators participated in short-cycle prototypes around two topics: blended learning and rethinking time and talent. These prototypes were designed to prepare schools for the next steps of redesign, which were larger in scale and involved whole school redesign. There were three school districts that emerged from the prototype process as exceedingly ready for this type of work:
Adams County School District 50, Colorado Springs School District 11 and Thompson School District.
During that timeframe, 2Rev was working with the CDE and the CEI to help shape and manage the
NGLC initiative in Colorado. Two schools from each of these three districts received funding and were chosen to go through the seven-month NGLC process, which was designed by 2Rev. Over the span of seven months, the company ran seven face-to-face sessions and multiple courses on the InspirEd platform. These explored the future of learning broadly, and provided educators and administrators with a deeper understanding of complex aspects of future of learning models such as blended learning, the role of the educator and rethinking time and space. Throughout the entire process, each school team had their own coach from 2Rev.
After the six schools went through this seven-month process, 2Rev continued the short-cycle prototyping with 15 other schools across the three districts to improve their readiness for transformation. These prototypes were focused on two topics: standards-based grading and student-centered learning.
As of summer 2016, 2Rev is getting ready to begin working with the CDE and the CEI on the implementation phase. The company has plans to set up a leadership development and implementation support network. At first, this network will support 15 leaders across the state, with a goal of growing the network to cover a variety of districts from urban, rural and suburban Colorado districts. This work is supported by the CDE and in partnership with and supported by the Colorado-based
Gates Family Foundation.