Agile in Education: Defining the Movement

First, an inspiring video of the first Agile in Education Gathering and defining a movement.

In early 2015, Arno Deljij from EduScrum and I, began to collaborate around the state of Agile in Education. Although we are in separate parts of the world, he in the Netherlands and I in the USA, we found our stories and thoughts uncannily similar. The more time I have worked with Arno, the more I deeply appreciate and respect who he is, and I am very grateful to him in helping to broaden my own thinking around Agile and education.

We believed that Agile in Education was not just a child of Agile in software. It was something new, forming from the cross-pollination of the education and the innovative world of Agile. That it will have its own terminology, its own methods and tools, and its own mindset. As more teachers learn, apply, adapt Agile to their world, eventually, they will contribute back to Agile Edu, growing it in new and emergent ways.

We both felt that Scrum and Agile in Education needed its own resonate vision that spoke to the hearts, minds, and needs of education. That as software has its own guiding values and principles in the Agile Manifesto, that we needed one that was authentic to education in order for the movement to grow and sustain.

We decided we needed to gather those around the world that are actually doing Agile in Education. Not those writing or talking about it, but those who are doing. Those that are sacrificing, creating, and innovating in the classrooms themselves. The goal is to create and define what Agile in Education means, what is the heart and mindset of the movement. And, to create a community where we can support and learn from one another in the process.

We reached out to those in the world that were making great strides with Agile in Education. We wanted diversity, those that were applying Agile to universities, to public schools, private schools, and even those who were creating their own alternative to school itself. Representatives who answered our call to action were:

Scrum Alliance has always been a wonderful partner and supporter of Agile in Education. I reached out to them to ask if they would be willing to help. They went above and beyond, helping us fly educators from around the world and hosting us at the Global Scrum Gathering in Orlando.

We spent a week in Orlando, creatively and collaboratively defining what Agile in Education meant. What were the values? Why is Agile in Education important now?

I am in awe of the care, passion, and vision of everyone that collaborated in our first Agile in Education Gathering. They have my deepest appreciation for their daily work to improve the world of learning. Amazing individuals, with an awesome vision, who are truly committed to helping students and schools be happier and preparing students for the new world of increasing change, complexity, competition, and connectedness.

What emerged were three main artifacts:

1. The Agile in Education Compass Statements
2. The Agile in Education Compass Visual
3. The Agile in Education Website, a portal to connect Agile in Edu community.


Together, we are discoverers of the world and ourselves.
The world is no longer predictable and learning needs to be more adaptive, connected, and interdependent.
Education can respond to this constantly changing landscape with agility.
Through our journey, new paths unfold to reveal learning authentic to us.

We invite you to use this compass to navigate the unfolding opportunities.


Prescriptive → Iterative
Visible cycles of learning.
Making intentions explicit and visible fosters partnerships and allows for a meaningful and relevant education to emerge.

Content → Culture
Learning starts with why it’s the big story.
The real lessons of life are embedded in experience.

Evaluation → Visible Feedback & Reflection
Nurturing the love of lifelong learning.
Partnering in a learning journey catalyzes continuous growth and ownership.

Control → Trust
Valuing the freedom of discovery.
Providing space for human diversity increases agency and self-direction.

Competition → Collaboration
​The power of shared learning.
Sharing the individual perspective develops the social intelligence necessary for solving problems, communicating effectively, and deepening understanding.​​


Agile Education Compass

I know this is just the beginning of a movement to transform the world of education which in turn will nurture students will transform the world of work and beyond.

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