Adaptive Expertise – Part 3 of 3

Author: Patrick Baker  • 

Quiz time.  Complete the sentence.

“Technology is…”

A) bad.

B) good.

C) taking over

Since arriving at Allen Academy, we’ve talked a lot about the concept of Adaptive Expertise.  We’ve embraced it in the classroom and even into our mission statement. In this final piece of the three-part series on Adaptive Expertise, we will focus on how technology and Adaptive Expertise merge almost seamlessly.

At a big picture level, both hold dear the concept of never arriving (always growing). Similarly, they share a basic principle of building on what is already known and creating something new that is both better and more innovative.

If you agree so far, let me also offer that in too many K-12 schools in this state and around the world, pedagogy (how one teaches) and student learning still hinges on memorizing and regurgitating. I would argue that real schools should be bolder. Why not a mantra of “Innovate don¹t regurgitate”?

If you take the premise that a modern classroom should embrace failure, engage relentlessly, and adapt regularly – you might also agree that you would see the following in a modern classroom setting:

Flipped learning (Teacher created videos and lectures, Khan academy, YouTube videos as primary source, etc.)

Collaboration (social media, Google docs, discussion boards, wikis, etc.)

Research and inquiry (using Internet searches to find credible sources, using primary sources, finding interviews and documentaries, etc.)

Showcasing (Google Slides, PowerPoints, Prezis, student-created videos, websites)

While several of these bullets are more on the consumption side of things, I believe the creation side is the most important component that we need to emphasize with our students. If we don’t teach them how to create something new and use the technology to innovate, I would argue that we are not preparing them for the world in which they will live and work. At its core, Adaptive Expertise is at its best when efficiency and innovation are high. As such, using tenets of Adaptive Expertise to add to this list above are equally important.

  • Innovate (use of technology to collaborate, dream, and discover)
  • Create (student-made movies, podcasts, streaming media, etc.)

While the pace of technology advancement can be intimidating, ultimately it can be an incredible resource for empowering our students to be adaptive experts. Similarly, while change is hard, thoughtful change is essential to thrive in a world that promises unpredictability. Adaptive Expertise is a philosophy that captures the best in both building a great skills base, but also the attitudes necessary to innovate. I am excited about the future of Allen Academy with Adaptive Expertise at the base. As homework, I would love to know your opinion. Email me ( with examples of people, industries, or areas where you have seen Adaptive Expertise at play.

Leave a comment: