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How Do We Get From Smart to Smarter?. Kenneth L. Decroo Consultant - Virtual Teacher 909.266.1073. A Little About Me…. Educated at UCR, CSUSB, National and Capella University Mission – Seamlessly infuse technology into standards-based curriculum…..

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how do we get from smart to smarter
How Do We Get From Smart to Smarter?
  • Kenneth L. Decroo

Consultant - Virtual Teacher


a little about me
A Little About Me….
  • Educated at UCR, CSUSB, National and Capella University
  • Mission – Seamlessly infuse technology into standards-based curriculum…..
  • Residence: Running Springs, playa de estero & bahia de los angeles
  • Married – Tammy – Special ED teacher
  • Educational Consultant – Chronic Absences & Drop-out Recovery and Transformational Change - RIM
  • WASC – Team Member – Belmont HS is next
  • Retired from FUSD – Teacher, AP, Principal and Director
  • Retired as ACSA State Delegate for Educational Options (Alternative ED)
  • Teacher – Bilingual Elementary, Middle School Technology and Science, HS CSDR
  • Programs – Tapped-In,Teach the Teachers, Camp Internet, Classroom Connect, Jason Project, Discovery – United Streaming Video, Promethean – Keynote in England
  • Hollywood Movies – Owned the WATC, Stunts and Trainer
  • Faculty – Community Colleges, UC and CSU
  • Linguistic Research Scientist– Washoe Project – University of Nevada, Reno
a school district near you
A School District Near You!

44,000 students

Shift in Demographics


Chronic Absences


Under Performing Schools

Traditional Interventions

traditional interventions
Traditional Interventions
  • Independent Study Programs: Long- and Short- Term
  • Adult Education
  • AOD
  • Expulsion
  • Continuation High Schools
  • Teacher and site based – Avid, PLCs, etc.
citrus high school
Citrus High School
  • Low test scores – API/AYP
  • SAIT – State managed/Underperforming
  • Little technology
  • Talent Underused – AP, Tech Teacher
  • Several Programs not Part of the Mission- Adult Special Needs Program and ATI.
  • READ 180
citrus high school7
Citrus High School….
  • Restructure – Existing Programs – Rm. 10, Panel, etc.
  • New Talent – Strong in Curriculum and Tech
  • Remove Programs Not Part of the Mission
  • Define Mission
  • Productivity Software – Easy Gradebook Pro
  • Redefine Communication Email – Webpage – Online Bulletin
  • United Streaming Video – Discovery
  • Promethean Boards
  • Social Networks
new interventions
New Interventions
  • Restructuring of Continuation High School: SARB, Spanish, Panels, Leadership Team, Departments,etc.
  • CBI – Credit Recovery
  • Twilight Program – After School Program
  • GED – After School
transformational change the ant way
Transformational Change the Ant Way!
  • Community Research
  • Social Linguistic Research & Animal Communication
  • Animal Behavior
  • Swarm Theory
  • Bit Torrent Application
  • Change at Citrus High School
community networks of interaction
Community: Networks of interaction
  • Early definition – Geographically defined
  • Urban Anthropology and Socio-linguistics – Networks of interaction
  • Ethnography of a Deaf Community - 1978
  • Community based on a network of interaction
  • Knowledge is held both collectively and individually
  • No centralized control
  • Access is open and free
  • Open Sources – Tapped-In, Facebook, WISE, Camp Internet, Classroom Connect, Bit Torrent…..
communication vs language
Communication vs. Language
  • Non-verbal vs. Verbal
  • Gestures
  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Washoe Project
  • Phonemes – Distinct building blocks of language
  • Sign Language – Cheremes
  • Inter-specific Communication – Teaching sign language to Chimpanzees

Swarm TheoryIt’s rather perplexing to watch how the individual, local activities of an agent (ants for example) can produce, when aggregated, surprisingly effective outcomes for an entire group. Swarm Theory is a great introduction to the benefits of aggregated individual efforts…Shared Governance.


Swarm TheoryBased on the activities of ants and bees, a discipline/theory/science has emerged which is capable of providing “best options” information in very complex environments.


Swarm TheoryIt would appear that functioning in truly complex spaces moves us beyond centralized vs. decentralized debates, and puts us instead in a philosophy of simple rules, local activity, and high levels of connections/contact…Social Networks.


Swarm TheoryThe most overwhelming problems can be attended to with this simple model. The solution is not something we work on directly…instead it emerges when we attend to the individual elements…Clear Mission.

ants in the pants an overview
Ants in the Pants!An Overview
  • Real world insect examples
  • Theory of Swarm Intelligence
  • From Insects to Transformational Change
  • Real World Application – Citrus High School
  • Organizing highways to and from their foraging sites by leaving pheromone trails
  • Form chains from their own bodies to create a bridge to pull and hold leafs together with silk
  • Division of labor between major and minor ants
  • Colony cooperation
  • Regulate hive temperature
  • Efficiency via Specialization: division of labor in the colony
  • Communication : Food sources are exploited according to quality and distance from the hive
social insects
Social Insects
  • Problem solving benefits include:
    • Flexible
    • Robust
    • Decentralized
    • Self-Organized
summary of insects
Summary of Insects
  • The complexity and sophistication of Self-Organization is carried out with no clear leader…Shared Governance – Facilitator.
  • What we learn about social insects can be applied to the field of Intelligent System Design – Transformational Change.
  • The modeling of social insects by means of Self-Organization can help design artificial distributed problem solving devices. This is also known as Swarm Intelligent Systems.
problems regarding swarm intelligent systems
Problems Regarding Swarm Intelligent Systems
  • Swarm Intelligent Systems are hard to ‘program’ since the problems are usually difficult to define…Identify and Articulate…..
    • Solutions are emergent in the systems – Observing “best Practices….
    • Solutions result from behaviors and interactions among and between individual agents – Practitioners….
four ingredients of self organization
Four Ingredients of Self Organization
  • Positive Feedback
  • Negative Feedback
  • Amplification of Fluctuations - randomness
  • Reliance on multiple interactions
types of interactions for social insects
Types of Interactions For Social Insects
  • Direct Interactions
    • Food/liquid exchange, visual contact, chemical contact (pheromones)
  • Indirect Interactions (Stigmergy)
    • Individual behavior modifies the environment, which in turn modifies the behavior of other individuals – Teacher Leaders
communication networks
Communication Networks
  • Routing packets to destination in shortest time
  • Similar to Shortest Route
  • Statistics kept from prior routing (learning from experience)
Shortest Route
  • Congestion
  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility
bit torrent transformational change
Bit Torrent & Transformational Change
  • Bit Torrent Protocol – Mission/Rules of Engagement
  • Tracker - Principal
  • Seed – Teacher-Leader
  • Peer - Teacher
  • Swarm – Transformational Change
  • Clog/Obstruction – Centralized Control
where have all the students gone46
Where Have All the Students Gone?.....
  • The best teaching and interventions will not work if students are not present to take advantage of them…
  • The Interventions can not be measured if students are not present to take part in the assessments!
  • Chronic Absences (10 Absences or more in a school year)
mission of school
Mission of School
  • Facilitate students in recovering credits and graduate
  • Improve student attendance
  • Help students foster a positive connection to school
virtual programs
Virtual Programs
  • Twilight Program – Credit recovery
  • During the school day and after school
  • A+ platform
  • Align with essential standards – Marzano – Power Standards
  • Make rigorous
  • Signed off by departments
virtual learning
Virtual Learning
  • At Citrus we use technology to help the needs of our students.
  • During the day we offer computer based instruction in every content area. This allows greater fluidity in our schedule and gives the students the opportunity to work at an accelerated rate.
  • We also have developed a virtual after school program called Twilight School. This program services students that are 18 years old but still need to complete come graduation requirements. We give them the opportunity to finish their diploma, work towards their GED, or study for the CAHSEE, all within a flexible distance learning environment.
twilight program
Twilight Program

Twilight school is an alternative program that allows students to complete high school requirements in a flexible distance learning environment. Students who qualify to enroll with us have the opportunity to complete their high school diploma, earn their GED, or pass the CAHSEE

twilight criteria
Twilight Criteria
  • Twilight Criteria
twilight success
Twilight Success
  • Best teachers – Curriculum and Technology
  • Departments developed the curriculum molding A+ to the essential standards
  • Department chairs certify completion of a course
  • Assessments consisted of A+ tests and the district benchmarks
  • All staff and faculty accept that the program is rigorous
closing arguments
Closing Arguments
  • Still very theoretical
  • No clear boundaries
  • Details about inner workings of insect swarms
  • The future…???
smart parts properly connected into a swarm yield smarter results transformational change

Smart parts, properly connected into a swarm, yield smarter results-- Transformational Change.

Ken Decroo

the future
The Future?

Educational Change


Ant Algorithms for Discrete Optimization Artificial Life

M. Dorigo, G. Di Caro & L. M. Gambardella (1999).


Swarm Intelligence, From Natural to Artificial Systems

M. Dorigo, E. Bonabeau, G. Theraulaz

The Yellowjackets of the Northwestern United States, Matthew Kweskin


Entomology & Plant Pathology, Dr. Michael R. Williams addr:

Urban Entomology Program, Dr. Timothy G. Myles addr:

references page 2
References Page 2

Gakken’s Photo Encyclopedia: Ants, Gakushu Kenkyusha


The Ants: A Community of Microrobots at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab


Scientific American March 2000 - SwarmSmarts

Pages: 73-79

Pink Panther Image Archive


C. Ronald Kube, PhD

Collective Robotic Intelligence Project (CRIP).