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"Found a nice piece on Common Core in the States. Gives a good picture of how change happens in the States.


"The Common Core State Standards Initiative (Common Core) is being led by two entities, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center). These two organizations have come together and partnered with Achieve Inc., ACT, and the College Board. (Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], 2009, September 9)"
Although most of the blog and twitter sphere talk about the federal government role, in fact education policy is made at the State Level and the policy comes from the Governor's. "Chief State School Officers" are typically appointed by the governor although it may vary State by State.

My takeaway is the folks closest to the problem, but it's cost and the service it gives to their publics are behind Common Core. That says to me it has the political muscles to have a deep effect on education service delivery.

It's good to note that it was the Western States Governors that established one of the more disruptive innovations in teacher training. You can read more about WGU at http://www.wgu.edu/about_WGU/overview

From the link:

"Basic Tuition for Most Programs is Just $2,890 Per Six-Month Term
WGU charges tuition at a flat rate every six months, so you pay for the time, not the credit hours. Compare that with what other reputable, regionally accredited online universities charge, and you’ll discover WGU tuition is typically half the cost."

Note "you pay for the time, not the credit hours." This turns upside down the traditional higher education business where one pays for the credit hours. A number of States are now passing legislation to remove "seat time" as a metric or requirement.

My view is this is preparing the legal structure to enable anytime any where learning with competency as the measured result.

Be curious how other folks see these developments...
Abstract The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a non-governmental movement that aims to unify state standards across the nation for elementary and secondary schools. As...
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Tracee Vetting Wolf's profile photopaul ransfield (kapaigroup)'s profile photoMichael Josefowicz's profile photoTom Sundstrom's profile photo
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we have competency based assessment in nz ... implemented in mid-1990's into foundation level adult education ... and more laterly (circa 2003) applied to mainstream education (from ages 5 - 17yrs) ...

as a single state ... with a small population (circa 4m) ... we implemented this change across the nation in a relatively short time ...

i need to think through 'seat time' vs 'credit time' ... as they should to my mind be equivalent ... eg in nz 1 credit pressumes 10 hours tuition ... so by extension, if it takes 20 hours to gain 1 credit ... either there are barriers to learning and/or there is too much content ...

i do agree that all modern state governments are readying for education - anywhere + anytime ...
 
+paul ransfield +Michael Josefowicz +Assess Well +Steven Putter


Here's a different approach to seat time vs course time equivalence. The fundamental objectives for any course can be stated as the transfer of specific, operational level knowledge and skills at a specified cognitive level (like Webb's depth of knowledge). When a student has demonstrated achieving the target cognitive levels for the objectives through observations, projects or assessments, they are checked off the list. When all items for the scope of the course are completed, course credit is awarded.

In this scheme, the course objectives become the focus, not enduring seat time which may not be necessary for some students. There is a complication in that not all knowledge and skills are equally important to the multi-course objectives of the school system. My suggestion is creating two groups of knowledge and skills: core and non-core. When you master the core content, you can get the credits and a passing grade. But, in order to receive the highest grade with the credits, you must master all the content.

It seems to me if you start eliminating the seat time requirement and go with a competency based system, then year-long courses or semesters or even quarters may be too long for handling the logistics. I don’t know what the best unit is, but I’m thinking bigger than a unit, but smaller than a quarter. You might even call it a “unit”.
 
+Tom Sundstrom I have a feeling something like that approach is being used for the leading edge online education services. From what I think I know WGU has been gaining traction since it's introduction just a few years ago.

It's interesting to note that the entrepreneur who has no put in an offering to compete against the community colleges fine tuned his approach at WGU.

http://chronicle.com/article/No-Financial-Aid-No-Problem/131329/
The business model there is $199/ month for "all you can eat."

Meanwhile at the very top end of the education pyramid is this one..
http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/04/18/coursera/

From what I read they are offering elite top professors courses for free. I'm not sure yet what their business model is but so far it seems to me the elite universities are outsourcing their online offerings. It's still a bit unclear how certification will be solved.

My takeaway is that public K-12 will be the last to adjust to this new education ecosystem of competency based and freeing "learning" from seat time.

The positive spin is that if learning is disassociated from "grade level expectations" it might prove to be the opening to be able to stay with a child until they are literate and numerate instead of kicking the can down the road...
 
+Tom Sundstrom +Assess Well
The opportunity I see, but do not have the team or time (I am retired an have taken a vow not to get back in the game ) is the transition period we are now living through.

The next generation will be connected to the web 24.7. As devices continue to get cheaper the pad, smartphone will make the internet always on. It is towards that vision that Mitra's insight's make most sense. It becomes literally true that if you can read you can find almost any information that you need. Being fluent in judging, combining that information will be the mark of excellence for the next generation.

That is import of the Danish experience in allowing full web access in high stakes exams. http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/04/18/coursera/

We are now going through a transition period. The reality is that full internet access in K-12 Pub edu in the states is going to take a while and many big players are naturally bringing their legacy mindsets into play.

If someone can take the insights you folks have shared with me and be able to offer schools the ability to get minimally invasive metrics on real learning it would help minimize the human damage that usually results from periods of major transformations.
 
+Sean Grainger +Chris Jones +Jenna Ream I wanted to bring this thread to your attention to see if it resonates with your view of the trajectory of edu in the States or Canada...

+Steven Putter I also wanted you to take a look at the thread to get your take on how the work at Water's Edge fits into what I think is an uber trend in global education.

+Dibyendu De would love to get your take on edu trajectory I propose from a nemetics point of view. Seems to me if one considers that Time is the deep fundamental , freeing nemex in the sense of learning, from the inauthentic constraints of "seat time" and moving to nemex in the more Authentic constraint of the learner's desire to learn within the time periodicity of Real Life suggests we are looking at Emergence at a global scale.
 
I also favor competency-based assessment. I favor check or no check over graded checks. Distinction credits would align with the non-core content Tom is talking about.
One issue with timing in the real world... faster is not better. Kids learn at their own pace no matter what we try to do to speed things up, usually reactively "freaking out" when they don't. It's not the test, it's the timing of the test. http://www.seangrainger.com/2011/03/its-not-test-its-timing-of-test.html

At any rate though, school serves a social purpose that makes the 13 year continuum fit nicely with parents working and any highered aspirations working our realistically in late teen years once school is done k-12. Lets remember thats a lot of time to get things right for individual children.
 
+Sean Grainger Thanks for weighin in. The It's not the test it's the timing has always struck me as one of your deep insights. And precisely correct in my view.

I have a feeling everyone in this thread so far would agree. I'm very curious if you see any ezpz opportunity to get some kind of test case or proof of concept in the ground which will make your life easier rather than more complicated in any of the nemiSpheres in which you are presently entangled?

I would love to explore possible use cases in Grow Boys as it develops.. Anything come to mind?
 
Yes re. Grow Boys. Mulling and will get back to you. We have a "long-forward" research nemisphere to work with there;o)
 
Thanks +Michael Josefowicz. The Chief State School Officers better be surrounded with disruptive nemispheres like you folks.

The fact that a number of States are now passing legislation to remove "seat time" as a metric or requirement is a pretty serious deal for the enabling the "anytime any where learning" I'd like to see.

Juggling projects between a few classes at once can be stressful if the subjects don't overlap at all. I'd much prefer to plow through a couple coures in parallel, if closely linked. Or even one after the other in a sequence. Ideally the learning system would have more rapid feedback and closer contact with mentors, or coaches.

I mean, part of the issue is involves the entire 'lecture at me because i know less than you' paradigm. I see students and their parents choosing to pay WAY too much for this dubious method of learning. Students are increasingly disinterested and staring at their tablets, it seems obvious what could happen, but the status quo still honors those old school creditials from antiquated systems more than they ought to. So students get drawn in.. myself included.
 
+Dan R.D. Nice data to confirm what we all seem to see. I wonder if there is anyway we might be able to help you get all those pieces into One Vision.

Operationally it might mean trying to articulate a "master's thesis" earlier rather than later. My thought is that if that happens it will supply a way for you to mash up the insights you are exposed to various courses in your Authentic Constraints.

btw, you know I have dubious respect for experts who are teaching in Highered. nice, smart people. Don't get me wrong. But often living in an ecosystem that makes them say and do stoooopid stuff.

I still remember the work you did when you spent time in the UK. Perhaps something like that makes sense for you?
 
+Michael Josefowicz +Tom Sundstrom

My understanding is WGU has been providing decent teacher training for some time now (and is one of the few). Their competencies are rigorous and relevant. Know nothing of their business model.

"offer schools the ability to get minimally invasive metrics on real learning it would help minimize the human damage that usually results from periods of major transformations."

This would be awesome given the tremendous potential for a pending massive collateral damage to kids which many predict is on the horizon. The focus of current testing efforts and the nature of testing tools seem incredibly misguided not to mention EXPENSIVE!

" It is towards that vision that Mitra's insight's make most sense. It becomes literally true that if you can read you can find almost any information that you need."

What is Mitra's vision exactly? Computer labs are in practically every school and library on this continent and are old as the hills. Not one word he says on the videos or documents posted speaks to how kids learn to read. We know can toddlers teach themselves to surf the net?
 
+Assess Well It's specifically NOT computer labs. The insight is the mechanisms of Self Organizing Learning Environments. His practice is mostly in rural india and other rural areas around the world.

He has a nuanced story about computers making marginal differences in good schools with good students and good teachers. Where they can make a significant difference is in rural areas or any areas where the teachers are not great. The paradox he is trying to resolve is that really good teachers will not go to really difficult environments in a sustainable way.

I think we see a very similar dynamic with poor urban kids in arrival city formations in every part of the world.

Yes. He does NOT say anything about learning to read. He is looking at the post Literate condition not the pre Literate condition.
That's why I see +Brenda Erickson work in addition to +Sean Grainger work to get to a whole system intervention.
 
+Michael Josefowicz +Assess Well +Sean Grainger i spent all of the 1990's, teaching adults with no formal qualifications how to use IT ... word, windows, excel ... so that they could enter/re-enter the workforce ... after long periods of unemployment or as a result of redundency [thru nz economy loss of competitiveness re exporting stuff made from menial process orientated work]

it was in my mothers secretarial training school ... we grew this to 100 learners per day, 6 hours of face to face tuition per day, 48 weeks of the year ...

during this period, competency based assessment was implemented in nz ... initially into this learner space ...

the government paid us based on 'bums on seat' - per day ... so if a learner didn't come - we didn't get paid ...

it taught us to be learner centred ... but because it was the 1990's, we had to make our own resources because there were no IT materials, suitable for adult learners, with barriers to learning (incl literacy), that were nz curriculum/assessment aligned ... with the added constraint that software/hardware changed every 18 months ...

in hindsight ... small group [1:12 - 1:16max] worked ... simple schedules worked [learn 1-3 subject areas a week] ... flexibility with schedules worked [learners often had cognitive or dependency learning barriers] ... homework didn't work ...

a few learners ... were absolutely traumatised by testing and the assessment process ... so competency based assessment suited them ... as did self assessment ... peer assessment ... and project based assessment ...

regarding timed assessment ... generally, we offered such generous timeframes for a simple task ... with the opportunity for multiple resits ... that only a very few struggled with timing ...

however ... competency based learning ... assumes more teaching resources than not ... and over a only a few years, learning providers, short-changed/under-resourced this approach ... so that it has become a 'tick' the box space ...

this is now the case for our state funded schools ... there are limited off-the-shelf teaching and assessment resources available ... schools and/or individual teachers leverage the sample based moderation system to their advantage over the learners ... and parents can't see or understand the detail of whats going on ...

and it is on this experience ... of managing adult learning ... designing resources ... that i am now pointing my nose at the resourcing gap ... in the elearning space ... there will never be enough ... curriculum and the wider community changes too often and too much ... for the 7 year education cycle to hold water any more ...
 
+Michael Josefowicz

"It's specifically NOT computer labs."

How is it not a computer lab? A computer lab is simply a group of computers where groups of kids can work together or independently to apply their literacy and critical thinking skills or otherwise communicate on the web? Whether the group of computers is inside or outside doesn't matter?

"The insight is the mechanisms of Self Organizing Learning Environments. His practice is mostly in rural india and other rural areas around the world."

And what evidence shows the benefits of SOLE efforts outweighed potential adverse consequences of encouraging kids to congregate unsupervised 2 surf the web? He shows clips of impoverished illiterate kids playing with computers and learning to sign up for email and not much more? Has anyone seen the data or even what variables were included in analysis of findings and conclusions? That green chart in the video I cannot decipher what it says and he does not speak to it. Am not trying to be rhetorical, just really am confused as to how so much confidence is generated by outlandish claims which lack data. Or maybe the data is somewhere and if so I will appreciate links.

"He has a nuanced story about computers making marginal differences in good schools with good students and good teachers."

I absolutely believe this!!! This seems like a credible claim I would not be surprised to see data which supports the possibility that computers per se (versus how they are used by excellent teachers) are not likely to substantially impact student learning.

"Where they can make a significant difference is in rural areas or any areas where the teachers are not great."

Is the goal to find a place for more computers in the world? I understand he wants "computing environments for children that are powered by free energy and bandwidth.", however, will this priority make a dent in this problem "A recent survey in India (Annual Status of Education Report for Rural India 2005) shows that 51.9% of children aged 7-14 cannot read grade 2 texts and about 65.5% of these children cannot perform simple arithmetic operations."

"The paradox he is trying to resolve is that really good teachers will not go to really difficult environments in a sustainable way."

The paradox to me is trying to solve a massive illiteracy and innumeracy problem with computers!!! Recruiting great teachers everywhere may not be nearly as hard as many think.

I think we see a very similar dynamic with poor urban kids in arrival city formations in every part of the world.

To an extent, though not necessarily, and there are lots of exceptions. Many well trained and supported excellent teachers happily teach in some of the poorest urban communities. There are MANY lessons learned from the resilient schools out their beating the odds in the most impoverished communities. Sustainability lies with training and support in use of well validated sound efficient tools for both instruction (such as Souns) and assessment (such DIBELS or DIVAs) relative to agreed upon pivotal goals.

"He does NOT say anything about learning to read. He is looking at the post Literate condition not the pre Literate condition."

He does say something about reading. He states at the end of one video that the next step is to apply his approach of leaving kids to their own devices unsupervised with computers to learn how to read. And with respect to numeracy, he explicitly mocks the teaching and learning of math facts as menial. He says kids don't need to know their facts because they have computers. This is a dangerous assumption which is wreaking havoc in the lives of many kids, impoverished and middle class alike, and from what I see, is fueled by careless academics.

What is just as disturbing to me is audacity of a self described educational leader/guru posting an inflammatory public rant accessible to children which by pretty much any standard I think can be seen as inciting racism and hatred and bullying not to mention emotional confusion???

"That's why I see +Brenda Erickson work in addition to +Sean Grainger work to get to a whole system intervention."

I am not familiar with their work though am guessing it is interesting and important. Have checked out Sean's blog and lots seems super interesting and important there (particularly the serious biliteracy perspective:).

Collapse this comment
 
+paul ransfield +Michael Josefowicz +Tom Sundstrom +Sean Grainger

"i spent all of the 1990's, teaching adults with no formal qualifications how to use IT"

INTERESTING detailed post above. Thanks for the insight to your work and approach. I "sensed" your strong insight and understanding of the nuances of what teaching all learners well depends on. Your consideration of the well established features of effective and "considerate" instruction design is a highly UNcommon sense!

Thanks to ALL for the discourse. With Michael's leadership the world is our teacher as we can share pivotal lessons learned in our diverse efforts in achieving a common universal goal--literacy, numeracy, kindness, and sustainable communities for every kid everywhere?!?
 
Interesting I had to llok up what "biliteracy" meant... I don't beleive I've ever written specifically aobut the term or the topic;o)
Re SOLE, "self organized learning environments" don't address, nor were they intended as I understand, literacy as in learning how to read. The research was (is) around collaborative learning, choice and engagement.
 
Somewhere in your blog I stumbled upon an interesting piece relative to the importance heritage language teaching and not competing with, but rather nurturing, first languages? Or maybe I got there from a link from your site?
 
+Sean Grainger
Re SOLE, "self organized learning environments" don't address, nor were they intended as I understand, literacy as in learning how to read. The research was (is) around collaborative learning, choice and engagement."

is pretty much how I understand his work.



+Assess Well My sense is this is not the thread to keep going on the Mitra story. I'm quite happy to leave it as a place we can agree to disagree.

Just for your consideration : "Recruiting great teachers everywhere may not be nearly as hard as many think" might be precisely where the rubber hits the road. If interested please feel free to open another thread and I will be glad to share what I think I see.

you should know +Brenda Erickson is @ counterpane on twitter. The literacy approach I have found most compelling so far is based on the work she has been doing and the insights learned.

+Sean Grainger you should take a closer look at @ Newsneus in Barcelona ( +Maria Nieves Lorenzo Galés ) has a wonderful story, practice and science about "pluri linguism" as a key skill in a world of diversity.
 
+Michael Josefowicz thanks for the heads up about brenda erickson's work ... i'll follow in g+ and twitterverse ...

re competency based assessment in the 21st century cf 1990's ... what i didn't have then is a working internet ... and the range of multimedia tools on my desktop ... or hard drives and/or web connectivity in every adult/kids pocket ...

as such producing/resourcing the circa 11,000 a/v elearning objects ... essential to participate/suceed in college ... is achieveable in a finite timeframe, and budget ...

i mean, if the 850 word 'ogden' list can be resourced in 24 hours ... its not a big stretch to resource the remaining 10,000 words ...
 
+Michael Josefowicz

"I'm quite happy to leave it as a place we can agree to disagree."

As I am ready to shut up about reactions to this factor. And despite popular belief among pretty much anyone and everyone who knows me at all, I am CAPABLE of shutting up:). Promise:)

+Brenda Erickson OK! Thanks for connecting the dot! No doubt, the work of counterpane seems incredibly important in its simplicity and effectiveness in teaching a universally empowering skill set early and well. And I don't see that it could not be virtually universally taught to every and any Grandma, or Grandpa, or Aunt or any other caring community member on the planet via a simple "trainer of trainers" approach (with a diligent quality assurance element of course:). Is a universally feasible & valuable first step of sorts in educating all kids well AND could serve to keep elders at center of so often fragmenting stressed families of poverty as well as everyone else? Have tried to follow +Maria Nieves Lorenzo Galés and will do more so now. Am for sure having a hard time keeping up!!!

So on that ironic note, please DO open that thread re: "Recruiting great teachers everywhere may not be nearly as hard as many think" might be precisely where the rubber hits the road. Nothing like not being able to keep up even more challenging:)!!!

This is THE issue at the heart of many others I am very sure. Great teachers in fact are sometimes even driven out of badly managed schools which need the highest calibers teachers the most.
 
+paul ransfield +Tom Sundstrom +Michael Josefowicz

"i mean, if the 850 word 'ogden' list can be resourced in 24 hours ... its not a big stretch to resource the remaining 10,000 words"

Definitely not a stretch I'd say. And agreed!!! Gotta beat the heavyweights 2 the "ready to roll" (ready to serve everyone well) line (and am absolutely confident we could do so with ease if focused).
 
+Michael Josefowicz - the trick to articulating a mashed Master's Thesis comes down to finding the courses(units) that match my Authentic Constraints. I'd say the OI environment in the UK was certainly more conducive to how my cognition tends to roll. Some kind of middle ground would be preferable. Yes, then there are questions of costs/benefits and making the most of nemex with key stakeholders in my nemisphere. :)
 
To me language is culture. Learning different languages is good, as I understand. My kids are bilingual French/English... I am not. I endorse pluri-linguism from a "diversity is good" perspective but know very little about the science behind it. My work/experience is not focused on language specifically, or the acquisition of language
 
+Jenna Ream My reaction is that if Common Core moves into micro grade level assessments you are 100% correct.

But if Common Core is seen for what I see it to be as focused on literacy, numeracy and critical thinking I can't see why it is not universal. Consider that in this thread we have folks from Kalkuta, Alberta, BC and New Zealand who have deep experience in literacy training.

The approach they have adopted is well worth a long mull to see how we can adapt their learning to our work in the States.
 
No. But they are all focused on literacy, numeracy and life long learning.
 
Right. The real value of Common Core to me is the focus on literacy and numeracy. ELA and Math. The rest of it makes no sense to me, my understanding of the thinking behind CC is precisely that. The business of tying that to "assessment" and "tests" are merely functions of a legacy social system that is going through the motions without a clear focus on the purpose.
 
I think it's very important to see that "is" points to a very complex reality. In most places it's probably what you see. But keep in mind positive deviance as a strategy...
 
a; am; an; are; i; is; it; our; she; to; the; yang [heaven]; yin [earth]; you; we

i reckon all 17 words, listed above will make the common core vocab for literacy ... they are part of my 360u - see say spell write series ... essential vocabulary for participating in society ...

with illiteracy in the workplace in nz at about 20% ... circa 600,000 ... added to annually by 15,000 x 17 year old's without any qualifications ...

so i'm happy to suggest that employers et al ... would like to see this group assessed for competency against the above list of 17 words ... and against other vocab within the 360u series ...

feedback welcome ...
 
I'm working with four other women to put on a class on Canvas.net called "Five Habits of Highly Creative Teachers" because we wanted change but decided to target the teachers. Whether that's a wise strategy or not, the point I'd like to make is that in our conversations of how to 'count' work done, we decided to go with an evidence-based situation. They needed to show that they did the exercises along the way in the form of a journey map. They also needed to show reflection in a blog or shared doc. What if it's not paying for time or 'seat' but upon evidence of having applied yourself? (the inherent challenge is how we might judge the quality of the evidence, if we have mistrust in them putting their heart into it, but that's another discussion!)
https://www.canvas.net/courses/five-habits-of-highly-creative-teachers
I like your conversations Michael!! 
 
+Tracee Vetting Wolf Thank you for weighing in with your experience. From your link 
"This course is designed to encourage educators to develop new creative habits that foster personal learning networks, content creation, and innovative learning practices that embrace curiosity, failure and reflection. Each week a new creative habit is explored through the examination and understanding of one’s own relationship to creativity." 
Sounds great. 

I noticed with great interest "Northwest Colorado BOCES" I've often felt BOCES are a natural platform for real work with real teachers.

You may be interested in a recent development in NYC.
De Blasio Unveils New Plans for Troubled Schools in New York
"Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new approach to fixing New York City’s most troubled public schools on Monday, offering them more money and staffing, extending the length of their day, and arranging for social services to be delivered to students and families on site"

"Students at those schools will receive an extra hour of instructional time each day, teachers will have extra professional training, and the schools will be encouraged to offer summer school.
http://nyti.ms/1x3sGYV

From what I have been able to find on the web, I do not have much faith on the whole in "professional training" In fact it is a big business. With many consultants invested in the problem, not the solution.

Any more details on the work you are doing, much appreciated. I agree that the "the inherent challenge is how we might judge the quality of the evidence"  I am always thinking about ways to judge the quality of art and writing that is consistent between teachers and grades. If there is any light you can shed it would be a service.
 
I have a similar mindset --- the more I hear of professional teacher training, the more I feel like teachers need the empowerment to go get what they need from a grassroots level. Who cares who's coordinating, watching, enforcing, counting, evaluating, whatever. Most of that seems to be instituted because of lack of trust which ruins it for everyone else, especially the real creative go-getters. I like to work with the ones who want the empowerment and seek it out. They're curious and they don't tend to need evaluation -- they show up, they apply themselves, they get what they need. Given the climate right now, if they're being that proactive, I'm not worried about evaluation. This could be a very naive stance at some point and for some people, though. I guess I don't want that to hold us up from empowering those who are seeking it. 
 
To your point. "work with the ones who want the empowerment and seek it out"    +Tracee Vetting Wolf 

I have a good teacher friend in Australia. They were doing "professional development" although they called it teacher learning. The inflection point was when they made in voluntary and held early in the morning before school. As might be expected about 3 or 4 people showed up at first. After a couple of months word of mouth got to 20-25 teachers. I think there is lots to learn from her blog. http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/?s=teacher+learning

I think I noticed you were also using a MOOC format. It will be very interesting to see how that works out.
 
Oh I like that! Thanks for the link, I look forward to reading it. I anticipate lots of inspiration there!!

We've done our class twice now and its hard to tell by numbers so far (1300 the first time, almost 1900 this time). Getting them to forge relationships that will outlast the 'class' so they can keep going is the challenge!
 
From what I can tell from looking at a couple of MOOCs is keep going. +Sean Grainger is involved in a teacher focus  MOOC . Perhaps he will have a chance to weigh in.

My ideas -still unproven in the field :

Identify teachers in the same schools or close to each other. The most natural way to keep it going is with face to face meetings on the ground.

Identify the most active on the MOOC.  That's the core around which we can build resilient networks.

In the world of marketing and business keep it going is similar to the notion of getting to scale. Seth Godin, who for my money is the smartest around for "marketing,etc"  has a number of posts on the problem.   If you search "Seth Godin" scale you'll find them.

Just one http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/07/getting-to-scale-direct-marketing-vs-mass-market-thinking.html 

Last paragraph..

"Get it right for ten people before you rush around scaling up to a thousand. It's far less romantic than spending money at the start, but it's the reliable, proven way to get to scale if you care enough to do the work."
 
woah ... we think the same ........ although you said this far better than I could have. I'll match your "get it right for ten people" and raise you "let them decide to scale it themselves". The top down initiatives only create sheep. 
 
for me ... sweet spot for resource content [ production | testing | monetisation ] via online delivery is ... team size of 30 ...

where 10 is workable ... 20 is profitable ... 30 is center of excellence ...
 
where ... 30 people are producing and uploading for use ...

30,000 new learning events per week ... or 1.2 million per year ...

and, on any given hour ... learners can select between 15,000 learning events ... which are in themselves, the requisite skills for attempting any given state sanctioned standardised testing ... 
 
as such 10 people is workable ... whereas i'm comfortable to suggest 30 will operate more as a centre of excellence
 
+paul ransfield I see what you mean. For my work I've found the best entrepreneurial team starts with 3. 1 or 2 are not enough.  Often 4 5 or more requires too much communication overhead.  The challenge is leadership. Once a good team is in place adding people to get to production capacity is much easier.
 
+Tracee Vetting Wolf We do seem to think alike. Top down is just the wrong strategy. It doesn't work to get a sustainable resilient effort going. What I was trying to say is to nurture leadership teams. The single most important factor in making anything happen are teams that people freely choose to join.  Looking at your website you look like you have a great group.  The best thing I've ever seen on building a team is the work by +Vickie Gray in Canada. Her twitter handle is @ adaptivecoach A link to her books http://www.simplerulesandtools.com/books/  Highly recommended for folks trying to "change the world :-) 
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