"We divided the kids into little teams and they were the taskforce. And the first thing they had to do was figure out what was wrong with this city. And we gave them this Google Drive full of clues, it had different letters that had been written and reports and graphs and there was a voicemail from a mom to her doctor saying my kids keep getting sick and the kids as a group had to, in the first week, figure out what the problem was and film a press conference of them announcing what the problem is. The next week they had to come up with a new budget for the city. The next week they had to come up with a new plan for the city. The debate and discuss workshop during that cycle was all loosely related around issues relating to cities and the future of cities." - Victoria Ransom
Our guest today is Victoria Ransom, the CEO at Prisma. Victoria is a serial entrepreneur from New Zealand, having sold her last company to Google and is currently living in the U S with her partner and co-founder Alain Chuard. We are going to talk about their newest venture Prisma, a full-time virtual program (with a physical component) for middle school learners. Prisma is a full-stack connected learning network that is rethinking school from first principles.
Listen and take note of what happens when you combine a stellar team, great technology and a state-of-the-art, progressive learning framework.
In our discussion, we cover:
Many education leaders integrate peer learning, but at Prisma they have thought deeply about how learning from & teaching another child is so beneficial.
- 27:17 - Kids that are able to teach kids often use the words and the language that makes other kids really understand a concept in a way that they don't get it when a teacher or an adult is teaching it to them. On the other hand, when a child is able to teach something to another child, that really both instills it further in that child's own learning and also makes them feel really great, right?They're able to be out helping each other
Victoria seems an inflection point before middle school, where kids start racing after grades and tests. Prisma catches them before middle school starts to keep and kindle their sense of wonder.
- 33:03 - Around that late elementary, early middle school years, and it's perhaps no coincidence, because that's where standardized testing starts to ramp up, a lot of kids lose that excitement about school and start to lose confidence in their own abilities. We felt if you can catch kids at that point before that happens, then you might really send them on a different trajectory in their education than if you catch them much later and you've got a lot of repairing to do.
A coach appears as the governor of Wisconsin, a task force is put on a major water problem. Is it a classroom or a Hollywood set? Kids get clues and reports. Curiosity and motivation kick in. They launch a PR campaign, a budget...oh, and hit all their learning goals as well.
- 40:26 - And we divided the kids into little teams and they were the taskforce. And the first thing they had to do was figure out what was wrong with this city. And we gave them this Google Drive full of clues, it had different letters that had been written and reports and graphs and there was a voicemail from a mom to her doctor saying my kids keep getting sick and the kids as a group had to, in the first week, figure out what the problem was and film a press conference of them announcing what the problem is. The next week they had to come up with a new budget for the city. The next week they had to come up with a new plan for the city. The debate and discuss workshop during that cycle was all loosely related around issues relating to cities and the future of cities.
Teachers still do so much grunt work, so much waste, so much multitasking that takes their focus off the learners. Prisma is using technology and learning science to strip away the noise and let their coaches focus on delivering a pure, seamless learning experience.
- 45:53 - We wanted to make it as seamless as possible for our coaches to deliver a seamless experience. Imagine what it's like for a teachers today teaching on Zoom, they're managing so many different things. They've got five different tabs open because they know they need to play this video at a certain point and then they need to pull out this Pear deck and they're also managing chat and they're managing learners that are trying to come in from the wait room and they're also trying to take attendance. We've designed our Prisma live product so that in advance our curriculum team can basically create a timeline of how this workshop will go and so the coach is not having to worry about when to play this video or pulling open this tab. It is seamless, and we've also designed it in a way where there's a lot of change happening visually throughout the workshop because research shows that if you are staring at the same scene or the same face throughout a half hour or one hour meeting, you get much more tired than if there's change happening on the screen.
Zoom doesn't cut it for the kiddos. Victoria is bursting with ideas, both for sync & async learning that enrich and gamify the learning experience. One example: Expressing support in a virtual setting
- 47:30 - It's so amazing to see what the kids have come up with and the support that's coming from the community. But it's hard to express that support in a virtual environment, relative to a physical environment where you're clap and you'll show your emotion. So we've tried to create ways to show emotion. In Prisma LIVE there's like an emoji shower that you create. So, you know, when someone finishes their presentation or during their presentation, you can show your appreciation in a very visual and fun way.
Here are some resources mentioned in our discussion:
- The concept of Hard Fun by Seymour Papert - http://www.papert.org/articles/HardFun.html
- Prisma's Learning Framework - https://www.joinprisma.com/framework
- Prisma LIVE - https://www.joinprisma.com/prisma-live
Where to learn more about the guest:
- Prisma's Twitter account - https://twitter.com/joinprisma
- Victoria's Twitter account - https://twitter.com/victoria_ransom
- Alain's Twitter account - https://twitter.com/AlainChuard
- Website - https://www.joinprisma.com
Where to learn more about Enrollhand:
Our webinar: https://webinar-replay.enrollhand.com