Project TAM: Year Zero

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of nothing (an idea that is immediately contradicted by having a word assigned to it, which implies something).  And, as Project TAM enters what I’ve been lovingly calling “Year Zero,” I find that the centrality of bringing forth something from seemingly nothing preoccupies my thoughts and the thoughts of those around me.

FLVS was recently awarded the Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant to be used for planning and development of Project TAM, a breakthrough school model that will allow FLVS to provide new student-centered, self-paced, mastery-based, and blended learning opportunities.

Yes, it’s a big thing.

The Next Generation Learning Challenge Planning grant gives FLVS time and money to let our minds be filled with this big, school-changing work.

Pam Birtolo, Chief Officer of Education Transformations for FLVS, told me recently that good ideas and executed plans often have three components.  Project TAM is no different.  It has three primary pedagogical and technological shifts that bring a new something into being.  In no particular order, Project TAM re-envisions the role of teacher; requires an elegant and agile technology framework; and creates a flexible, physical space for Project TAM students. These three components integrate seamlessly and fall into orbit around an individual student; effectively, it creates a school for one, gathered into a school district of many, which is then part of a larger ecosystem of learning spaces.  In future blog posts, I’ll talk about each one of these components individually.

Year Zero is the time when this project begins its end as part of a dreamy, idealistic idea, and takes form.  It’s a time of birth. I want to rush this part, always—the part where something begins to come together and show its true self.  The tendency is to rush and figure it out, but Project TAM has lived in the brains and hearts of FLVS employees for so long…it deserves Year Zero.

There will be time enough later to see what TAM looks like in real life—how it all  falls down to the Earth and becomes practical and wonderful and dynamic.  For now, though, it lives in minds and thoughts; it’s an ether-dweller, but it’s coming into being.  It’s becoming something.

Amanda Mann, competitive grants manager for Florida Virtual School, recently wrote about Project TAM for the FLVS Virtual Voice after traveling to the “Designing Breakthrough School Models Summer Institute.” View her first post about Project TAM (Tomorrow’s Achievement Model) here.

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