How to Implement Scrum4Schools in Schools #1 – Basics

For about three years we have been helping schools and universities with Scrum4Schools to design their lessons in a student-centered way – away from the classical frontal teaching. And with success: In the meantime, numerous fellow practitioners are using Scrum4Schools or are newly interested in it. In addition, we are constantly expanding: Our colleagues Laura and Anna have been driving Scrum4Schools forward as Program Managers in Germany and Austria since September of last year. Our common mission: to anchor Scrum4Schools as a standard in the German and Austrian school system.

Scrum is not complicated

Especially when we get in contact with schools or universities for the first time, we often hear: Is there a manual for Scrum4Schools? The simple answer: every school and every challenge is of course a little different – but the framework and rules of Scrum4Schools are always the same.

In this blog series, I’ll give you the basics. First of all, the processes and the new vocabulary should not scare you: Scrum is logical and much less complex than it may seem at first. All elements used in Scrum4Schools are neither new nor complicated. On the contrary: They strongly follow what we commonly call common sense. We plan and develop in a small team the part of a task within a short period of time – and get feedback at the end of such a cycle. We take this into the next round or sprint, gradually completing the task.

Specific role designations or names for the regular meetings are a nice add-on to help us achieve this goal. Nothing more, nothing less.

How do we get started with Scrum4Schools?

For the sake of simplicity, this guide is limited to the basic knowledge necessary to implement Scrum in schools. Elements like estimating the size of learning steps (user stories) or a learning progress meter (burn-down chart) add complexity and are not relevant for the start. We recommend introducing these only after students are familiar with the method.

What do we want to achieve?

In the learning context, the first step is to find a suitable learning product. This is because in the course of a teaching unit with Scrum, students in small learning/Scrum teams independently and self-organized acquire knowledge about one or more content/s via the joint creation of a learning product. What is a learning product? For example, a physical object such as the contemporary witness booklet that students at IMS Lanzendorf have created. It can also be a self-designed lesson on a specific topic in English class or an experiment conducted by the children themselves in physics class. As you can see, there are no limits to the possibilities!

My recommendation: For the first experiment, choose a manageable and defined topic with which the students can develop a learning product themselves within a maximum of three to four weeks. After they have been entrusted with the procedure, it is conceivable to extend the method to the complete lesson design in a school semester.

We have found that it helps to additionally formulate the actual content-related learning objectives that the students develop themselves in the course of a teaching unit with Scrum in an open and transparent manner and to also communicate these. Ideally, the learning objectives should include a brief description of the benefits of dealing with the topic. In addition to the content-related learning objectives, the students learn how to structure groups and teamwork in a goal-oriented manner.

What is the role of the teacher?

In the learning process with Scrum, the teacher takes on a new role. Since the various learning teams work on their learning products in a self-organized and independent manner, teachers find themselves in the situation of accompanying and supporting the individual learning teams and their members individually and according to their respective needs. A basic requirement for teachers is therefore the willingness to do further preparatory work in addition to defining a learning product and learning objectives, which I will elaborate on in the next blog post.

Further, a learning coach should determine if they would like to prescribe specific requirements during the learning sequences: What is the time frame? Should the students read texts in preparation? And: How will a possible grade be given at the end of the project?

What’s the next step?

In the second part of my blog series, you will read how to formulate an exploratory assignment, how learning steps structure the individual meetings, and what framework the acceptance criteria provide for the learning steps to be completed.

At www.borisgloger.com/scrum4schools you will find current trainings for teachers as well as the Scrum4Schools checklist and you can subscribe to the newsletter (available only in German).

The series: How to implement Scrum4Schools in your school

#2 – Create the Framework

Available only in German:

#3 – Treffen

#4 – die Lerntafel

#5 – der Sprint

Picture: Pexels License, Olia Danilevich

Written by

Carsten Rasche Carsten Rasche

Carsten Rasche gained his first experience with user-centered product development, with Scrum and Agile right in Silicon Valley. The organizational psychologist is naturally fascinated by the way in which consistent orientation to customer needs affects the internal organization of a company. Within transformation projects his expertise focuses on organizational learning and coaching of leadership teams. Next to the work with clients Carsten built up the Scrum4Schools initiative, which supports the use of Scrum in the primary and secondary education contexts. As a trained mediator & facilitator, Carsten contributes with his ability to keep calm and collected even in tense and complex situations, analyzing rationally, thus creating greater clarity. In doing so, it is important for him to approach people in an open and appreciating manner, and to create a sound base for building confidence.

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