Teaching Agile in Schools: The Triumphs and Enlightenments
Patricia Thompson

I am lucky enough to work for Capital One, an organization that believes in not only pushing ourselves to excellence, but also staying in touch with the community to improve the surrounding area. In my giving to the community, I joined a volunteer initiative called Agile for Learners as the Student Lead to bring Agile into the classroom . This was a no-brainer for me, as it satisfied two of my passions: meaningful volunteer work and Agile. Agile for Learners inspires students and teachers by educating, mentoring, and empowering them to be successful with project based learning and provide the foundation to improve their communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative thinking skills using Agile principles.

Agile is pretty simple, right? So, teaching Agile in schools should also be simple, right? Not so fast. I wish I could tell you that this effort was a piece of cake, but that wouldn't be completely transparent. This talk will share our journey, our Triumphs and Enlightenments and how we Adapted along the way. In sharing my journey, I hope to inspire you to reach out into your community to share your knowledge and provide you with some insights and suggestions to avoid some of the pitfalls.

Learning Objectives
-- Start out with fun to get students engaged (we played the paper airplane game to explain that teams themselves will find the best way to deliver value and it may differ from other teams)
-- Make sure you are delivering a valuable product to both the teachers and the students (we focused on learning tools and techniques they could apply to their own group and personal projects)
-- Limit your audience size
-- Practice Agile in running your Volunteer Group
-- Logistics matter; they can mean the difference between success and failure
-- Find volunteers who are passionate, dependable and good at interacting with students and keep those volunteers assigned to the same group throughout program
-- Focus on developing re-usable skills in the classroom
-- Don't pack too much material into one session
-- Make the material relevant to the students/teachers
-- Use simple examples when explaining Agile terminology
-- Virtual learning is more difficult and takes additional time and resources
-- Make time for retrospection and innovation
-- Make sure your program is sustainable
-- Be careful about growing program too rapidly; make sure each opportunity aligns with your mission and that you have available resources for each opportunity
-- Don't burn out your volunteers by asking too much too often
-- Ensure volunteers receive recognition for their contributions (thank you notes, kudos to their manager during performance review time)
-- Especially for virtual sessions, ensure environment for students is safe
-- Do Not tell the students you are going to test test them on their learnings (we did this once and the energy changed from excitement to dread in an instant). Instead, we incorporated retrospectives and Kahoot games to assess what needed to change.
Learning Level
Session Type
Experience Report
agile, education, Schools, Volunteer, learnings, XR