The Day in the life of a #MCL Facilitator


Help me figure out what Iteration #2 might look like!  Please read & provide feedback via comments or on Twitter (@EClare_AHS).

Our administrative team was recently given copies of Inevitable:  Mass Customized Learning by Charles Schwann and Beatrice McGarvey.

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The basic premise of the book is that people are now able to customize most products and experiences (think Starbucks, ITunes, etc) to their personal interests/needs/wants…except of course in most schools!  The authors surmise that technology now exists to allow educators to both individualize and personalize the educational experience for learners, and therefore Mass Customized Learning (#MCL) is inevitable!  One of the chapters of the book gives you a quick peek into the daily schedule of a student learning within a #MCL environment.  Since reading this book, I have become quite obsessed with imagining what the life of a teacher (now referred to as #MCL Facilitator) might look like within a #MCL school!  So my first visual iteration of “The Day in the Life of a #MCL Facilitator” took shape in the form of my 2nd ever sketchnotes.

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While my thinking was fresh, I wanted to embellish a bit on each time segment.

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The #MCL facilitator’s day begins early with a few minutes to check in with her advisees (students assigned to him/her at the start of their learning journey).  On a walk with my daughter this afternoon, it occurred to me that a traditional teacher’s responsibilities could be “hacked” to include serving in a role similar to a college advisor. If you took my current staff and divvied up the total student population, it would equate to each staff member being responsible for approximately 13 students.  Imagine the relationships that could be built if teachers were given the time/structure to mentor just 13 students over the course of a high school career!  The #MCL facilitator could use email/Skype/GHO/social media to check-in with each advisee’s newly updated schedule.  So – a little background on #MCL – students learn approximately 50% of the required content and/or learning standards using a self-paced, online model.  This self-paced, online curriculum and instruction would be built from local teachers but might include curations of #OER.  The other 50% of content/learning standards are mastered through a choice-based approach, where students personalize instruction by self-selecting various seminars and experiences developed by teachers and published on some sort of scheduling app.  The #MCL facilitator therefore would need to work closely with students to ensure that their scheduling choices match up with both their future aspirations, as well as the defined knowledge/skills/dispositions defined as important by the school community.  I allotted about 45 minutes for the check-in activity, but the idea is that the #MCL facilitator would not need to do this every day.  In fact, what I love about the model of #MCL is that teachers are granted the professional courtesy and trust to create their daily schedules based on their and student current needs.

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As I am writing this, I am realizing that student check-in, followed by office hours might not make the most sense, but again, the #MCL facilitator has the professional freedom to create a schedule to satisfy that day’s priorities, so it could happen this way.  This hour and 15 minutes is created to first allow time for students who are not making adequate progress with their Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) – a listing of important learnings (content knowledge, skills, dispositions, etc) that are expected to reach a mastery level by graduation date – to meet individually or in a small group with their assigned #MCL advisor.  The #MCL advisor would review the progress of each individual students and recommend next steps, as well as assist students in setting short-term and long-term goals.  A second priority of this time would be for other students (those not required to attend office hours) to schedule time with their #MCL advisor, as needed or desired.  This would be a great opportunity for students to discuss project ideas, upcoming seminar topics, internship options, etc.  Just imagine the increased time that individual students might receive from an adult mentor!

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The next time segment for this imaginary #MCL Facilitator is 2 hours of work with students and a collaborating teacher in the “Inspire Studio” – a space designed with flexible furniture, fabrication tools and accessible technology.  When I created this image, I imagined the two teachers (pictured as Teacher A and Teacher B) designing a PBL unit from an essential, driving question in previous planning sessions.  The students pictured would have self-selected and been “scheduled” into the Inspire Studio space during this and many other time slots over the course of several weeks.  Students would work collaboratively to derive a solution to the essential question, and the #MCL Facilitators would serve as resources to the students during the process.  The #MCL Facilitators would also work during this time to provide feedback to the students about their understanding and attainment of important content and skills. The satisfactory completion of the PBL unit could serve as some unit of credit displayed on a traditional transcript.  I have not quite worked out how a traditional grading system might work within this #MCL environment, but maybe A, B, C, D, F grades just don’t make sense here!

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The #MCL Facilitator has now decided that a working lunch is needed with a community business partner.  The purpose of this particular lunch is to get feedback from the workforce professional on a few students who have recently completed an internship with the business partner.  In an #MCL environment, students would be expected to participate in many experiences outside the school walls.  In fact, some 17 and 18-year old students may select or be granted the opportunity to spend many of the school hours working with experts in various career fields.  The #MCL advisor of these students would then be expected to make site visits to observe students in the internships, discuss future opportunities for upcoming students, and gain insight about the world of work in today’s economy.

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In order to make all of this great work happen, it is critical that #MCL facilitators take time to work collaboratively with colleagues.  In this image, three teachers are working together to create a seminar opportunity for students to select and schedule during the next “scheduling phase.”  As I consider my image now, I think my next iteration of this image will include a community partner that would advise the teachers and add additional insight to the planning process.

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#MCL Facilitators may still do some “traditional” teaching, as depicted in the above picture of a seminar previously designed by Teacher A and Teacher B.  The image shows the two teachers providing direct instruction to a group of students on a Human-Centered Design (HCD) strategy.  The seminar topic is meant to be just one example of so many that can be designed for students.  What is not shown in this picture, however, is the flexible use of space needed for the seminar.  After a brief introduction of the HCD strategy, students are asked to try out the strategy in small groups and consider how the strategy can be used with their current PBL Project.  In the #MCL environment, #MCL facilitators are encouraged and expected to co-design and co-teach various seminars throughout the school year.  If traditional grading practices are still expected, #MCL facilitators can include various assessments within the seminars.

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I only included this last image to depict how traditional teacher roles might embrace the professionalism encouraged in the #MCL environment.  Having the responsibility to create your own daily schedule would be challenging and certainly a break from traditional expectations of teachers… Who’s in?


5 thoughts on “The Day in the life of a #MCL Facilitator

  1. Bea McGarvey says:

    Insightful – thorough! Emily, you have a firm, comprehensive grasp of the MCL Vision. One of the domains of leadership is Visionary Leadership (Total Leaders, Schwann). The VL “creates a concrete picture” of wha the vision will look like. You have done so – masterfully – in this post. Bravo!


  2. Charles Schwahn says:

    Emily . . . where were you when we were creating and describing our MCL vision?? Go to the our website ( and check the video, “Lori Does Her Learning Plan” You can also access it from Youtube. Your ideas and seem flow . . . and the design of the article . . . creative and helpful. Thanks. Joy, Chuck


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