Agile in Education


Hi all!
After attending the AgileEDU sessions at the Scrum Gathering in Orlando, my husband and I put our heads together about implementing scrum in his classroom. He teaches 10th and 11th grade AP English, and was looking for ways to better engage students and assess their learning in a more holistic way. We are now almost a month into the school year, and this experiment is working better than we could have imagined. We’ve heavily leaned on John Miller’s and eduScrum for resources.

Here are a few takeaways:

  • spent the entire first week of school building culture . Talking about 21st century values (also from agileclassrooms) and completing some values exercises
    -at the beginning of week 2, split the classes into learning teams based on what values they most identified with
    -embarked on first sprint, defining their DoR and DoD and planning.
  • completed first Sprint Review on Friday, and the kids demonstrations were fantastic
    -completed first Sprint Retrospective today, and the feedback was remarkable. They were quite self-aware, and much of the feedback was the same that we see from our adult agile teams. They talked about pacing, communication, eliminating distractions, etc.

I’ve been bugging Wendell (husband) to write a journal or a blog so we don’t forget all this stuff, but he is swamped with non-scrum teacher stuff at the moment. I’m hopeful we will get something going.

Anyone else with any agile in education experience or ideas? Is anyone doing this in your area?


Have you seen Mike Vizdos project here?


Yes! We are in an online group with he and a few others who are experimenting with this. He, John Miller, and the eduscrum guys have been instrumental in our ability to do this. They did a lot of the heavy lifting. :slight_smile:


I’m in a slack channel, are you in it as well?


This is an awesome endeavor. Wendell gets my vote for “teacher of the year”. Conferences have been looking for these case studies. If you havent checked out Nureva, there could be some cool “cross-school” collaboration projects that you could explore.


Edweb hosts a number of webinars that would be applicable to this type of interaction with students. I have the opportunity to consult with teachers around use cases for technology. I think agile is a great opportunity.

One of my ideas was to integrate agile it into meaningful goal setting. Think of two week sprints for each student that begin with a collaboration between teacher and student to identify immediate, attainable, measurable goals. Progress could be tracked by the student in a deliverable format, perhaps kanban. At the end of each sprint, students reflect, identify ways to continue to improve and return to collaborative goal setting. There are also built in opportunities for ceremonies, like retrospectives on the process to engage students more fully in taking responsibility for their own progress, behavior, learning.


Kanban or scrum? Let the kids decide!

Thoughts on Scrum-ban Approach?

@EllenAfromsky What you describe is exactly what Wendell is doing in his classroom, except in learning teams instead of individuals. The team portion has been very beneficial in generating new ideas and teaching collaboration. They do use agileclassrooms Learning Canvas, which is essentially a kanban board with the goals and team name added.

The follow the scrum method, including sprint planning (including goal setting), sprint review, and sprint retrospective-- all as a 4-5 person learning team. :slight_smile:


Oh, and we can’t forget daily standup. They are doing that too, which has been really helpful is focusing young minds on the task at hand for the day!


Hi there. Curious what this online group is. I would like to join the discussion. Is it open to new participants?


Of course! You can learn more and sign up at See you there!



So after teaching for 15 years and transitioning to an organization that utilizes Agile, I came to realize that my last eight years were as close to Agile as could be without ever learning about it. I used a system I created called TRIBECA (the real intentions behind education come alive) - sorry, you know teachers love their acronyms.

I taught high school junior English, and had very distinct results with my system. Many teachers still use it, and swear they will never go back. I’d love to speak with you more about it. I too would spend the first week or two doing nothing but community building. I would then spend another week or two educating them on TRIBECA, and then it was off to the races.

This is where my passion lies, and though it worked very well, I had had the time or venue to talk more about it. Happy to speak with you about my experiences and the results I saw.


I haven’t read the other comments. I’m adding some information:

I think education and Agile mindset are perfectly suited. I believe strongly that most educational institutions would be way better if we apply the values of principles of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development.


@MrCheli, I would definitely love to learn more!


Thanks for the info, David! I hadn’t come across Mike’s blog, although I had heard he was working with them. Excited to read it. Will definitely be watching that Ted Talk today! :slight_smile:


Another cool group out of NYC


Thank you Colleen. Looking forward to finding out more about this group. Especially NYC!


So excited to learn that the very first Agile Learning Center is literally in my neighborhood. I hope to visit, become involved. thank you!


Excited to tell everyone that an agile coach and myself have started an Agile_in_Education MeetUp in NYC. No date yet for the first meeting, but it is online so that you can join. URL is We are hoping for a wide representation of people - educators at all levels, coaches, facilitators, parents and students - who share the same belief that agile applied to education can positively impact learning. We plan to study agile principles, coach on the agile process, work together to develop ways to introduce agile into the classroom and, in true agile fashion - collaborate, deliver, reflect and improve. Join us!


Another use for Agile in education is Odyssey of the Mind - a creative problem-solving competition where teams of 7 students create an 8-minute skit. The teams write the script, construct the set,and make their own costumes without any outside assistance. I coach my son’s team and we established norms for a good OM teammate. To get the innovation and teamwork flowing, we played various agile games (“yes, but…” “yes, and because of that…” + superhero, sidekick, and nemesis naming and drawing).