Posts tagged ‘personalized learning’

Building Student Agency

“What are you doing in your classroom now that you could turn over to students to do for themselves?” By Alan November

Close you eyes and imagine what a typical day looks like in your classroom and ask yourself these questions:

  • What percentage of time are you talking verse your students?
  • How often do you let students create verse consume knowledge?
  • How often do you ask for students ideas or feedback?

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Student Agency is one of the most important skills we can give to our students. When we “rescue” students when they struggle or give the students answers because there is not enough time to get through the curriculum, we are doing a disservice and enabling them.

The below ideas will help you to build student agency in your classroom but the most important thing to remember is we (educators) need to get out of the students way and facilitate learning opportunities.

  1. Growth Mindset: Teaching students about having a growth mindset and that they can always learn new things or get better through practice. (See previous blog posts on growth mindsets to learn how.)
  2. Voice: Have students included in the conversations. Ask students how they want to learn in your classroom? Give them surveys about your projects and lessons so they can offer feedback. Another way to allow student voice is through goal setting and refection during class.
  3. Choice: No one wants to be told what to do all the time! Allowing students to choose what they want to work on builds agency and motivation. Often times teachers think that giving them choice means giving them ten things to chose from but that is not the case. Allow students to chose between two things such as which book they want to read,  what product do they want to create or which task they want to do.
  4. Thinking and Questioning: Allowing students to have time to think and process is important. Asking them questions to see what they truely know and have mastered also allows students to not only process things differently but self-regulate. There are different types of questioning strategies you can use in the classroom to also allow more student voice and thinking.  (More coming on this in next weeks blog post)
  5. Opportunities to be a Creator:  We need to change the way we see students, no longer as consumers, but as creators of their learning. Providing opportunities for students to create allows students to self-evaluate, self-regulate and self-motivate whiling showing mastery of content. Having students create podcasts, PSA announcements, iMovies etc allows students to go deeper with their learning too.

Authentic engagement occurs when students have agency and feel like they are apart of the school experience verse it being done to them. What changes will you make to add more student agency in your classroom?

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Personalized Learning Center

“Learn as if you were to live forever.” Gandhi

I am excited to be apart of the Personalized Learning Center as a coach, collaborator, and conversationalist!  I recommend taking advantage of this unique opportunity.

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What is the Personalized Learning Center?

The Personalized Learning Center (PLC) is a private Facebook group founded by Bena Kallick and Allison Zmuda, co-authors of Students at the Center: Personalized Learning with Habits of Mind. The purpose of the group is to provide grassroots, educator-to-educator networking.

What will you get as a member of the PLC?

Two primary benefits: networking and group-exclusive materials.

  • Networking: You will gain access to Bena Kallick and Allison Zmuda and — perhaps more importantly — one another. This will strengthen communication of those within personalized learning, continuing to grow national and international understanding of the concept.
  • Group-Exclusive Materials: Materials will be designed with and for you. This includes, but is not limited to: FAQs based on your questions, special publications designed with and for you, a reading/viewing list based on collective submissions, featured opportunities on the Learning Personalized and Institute of Habits of Mind websites.

How do I join?

After filling out the form below, you will be directed to a payment page. Once you’ve filled out the registration form, agreed to Terms and Conditions, and completed payment, you will be invited to the group.

How much does it cost?

Membership to the group is $10 per month or $100 annually for individuals or $400 annually for teams of five members or fewer within a specific school or district. Rates for entire schools can be negotiated. All billing is executed through PayPal.

 

Personalized Learning and Students with Disabilities

“Educators should be champions of every student who enters the schoolhouse doors.” by Carol Ann Tomlinson

Guest Blog Post by Ace Parsi

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is proud to announce the launch of a collection of cutting-edge resources and recommendations available in one central location: Personalized Learning and Students with Disabilities. The resource hub contains information, case studies, and recommendations – all with an eye on the needs and success of students with disabilities – tailored for parents, educators, school communities and policymakers, wherever and however they may be approaching personalized learning.  Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this addition to NCLD.org is the culmination of a three-year exploration of how students with disabilities can benefit from efforts to customize their learning to align with their strengths and interests.

 This new section of NCLD.org features 13 new publications, including resources and policy recommendations for states to successfully design and implement approaches to personalized learning that fully include students with disabilities, nine practical examples of schools and districts utilizing personalized learning frameworks, and a national report exploring how these efforts can best support students with disabilities.

 In addition to working with you all, to produce these resources, NCLD worked closely with advocates, parents, educators, experts and policymakers at both the state and federal levels. NCLD worked specifically in New Hampshire, Colorado and North Carolina–three states that not only reflect geographic, demographic and political diversity, but which are also at different stages of implementing personalized learning.

 The resource hub also includes definitions and key components of personalized learning systems, key questions to ask in development and implementation, and policy and practice recommendations. The resources are customized for parentseducators, administrators and policymakers so they can use personalized learning as a way to create engaging learning environments that allow all students–including those with disabilities–to thrive. These resources build on NCLD’s recent national report, the State of Learning Disabilities, which provides state-specific resources and policy recommendations for supporting students with learning and attention issues.

NCLD believes the future of education is one where all children receive a customized learning experience. Increasing opportunities for schools to adopt a personalized learning approach will allow all students to thrive. We look forward to continuing this important work and ongoing partnership across the field to ensure innovative approaches to learning fully include students with disabilities. 

Gauge Yourself: On The Path to Personalizing Instruction

“Love the process and you’ll love what the process produces.” Jon Gordon

Personalized Learning (PL) is a great philosophy to reach the diverse range of learners in educators classrooms. I often get asked, “Am I doing PL right?” when I visit classrooms and other districts. There is no right way to “do” PL if you are focusing on the students taking more ownership in the classroom. There is also no right tool or program to make this happen. PL comes down to what the teacher does in the classroom; here are three ways to gauge yourself to see if you are on the path to personalizing instruction for your students:

  1.  Your students understand WHY they are learning. It is important for students to understand that learning is a process. Students need to have time to be able to set learning goals and reflect on these goals. Having student data trackers allows them to see their growth overtime no matter where they start on the learning continuum for that objective to help guide their learning goals.
  2. Your students are learning in DIFFERENT ways: No one person learns content in the same way and a “one size fits all” approach has been proven not to work. Learning is ‘messy’ and not linear. We learn from failures just as much (if not more) as we do from successes. Allowing students to have choice and learn in different ways helps personalize it based on each students needs.
  3. Your students are connecting to their interests and/or passions: Learning is always more fun when we are learning about things we are interested in or passionate about. Understanding what your students are interested in and/or passionate about can help you connect learning outcomes for your students based on their interests/passions.

In my previous blog posts on PL, I offer lots of suggestion about how to make these changes in your classroom that you might find helpful. Creating a PL environment does not happen overnight! You should make small changes in your practice to make a big impact over time.

Personalized Learning from A- Z

Getting Started with Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning Barriers and How to Overcome Them

If you would like to see more PL posts click here to see all that I have written.

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Reframing a Paradigm for Professional Learning: Part 2

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” By Anthony Robbins

Last week I talked about why we need to Reframe a Paradigm for Professional Learning. This week I share with you some ideas of how to do this in your schools/districts. We should be modeling what you want to see changed in the classroom. Here are three ways to model.

Face to Face (F2F): Traditionally in a F2F professional development it is a sit and get and the instructor teachers to the average. In a F2F professional learning educators should take a pre-assessment and the instructor should use that data to drive the instruction and next steps. Just because it is F2F doesn’t mean it should be one and done; this is a misconception. F2F should meet throughout the year, just like a classroom, but they should not sit through lessons/skills they already know.

Virtual:  Virtual allows for anytime, self paced choice for educators to choose what they want to learn based on their needs. 

Micro-Credentials: Micro-credentials allows educators to receive ‘badges’ signifying mastery of  a specific skill. This is a ‘newer’ concept in education. Learn more about Micro-credential from these school districts that are using it: Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Personalized Learning Department, Kettle Moraine School District and Surry County

Six ways to offer professional learning that are not sit-and-get with resources to learn more on how to implement.

Here are three other ideas:

  • Teacher and/or Student Showcase: Have educators and/or students ‘share’ and ‘showcase’ something that is working well in the classroom. I have seen this done many different ways such as through old schools science fair style or through Ted Talk style approaches.
  • Innovate Time: This is time you allow teachers to research something they are interested in implementing in the classroom. The Principal or another administrator teaches the class so the teacher ‘gains’ time to do this research.
  • Project Based Learning (PBL): Educators can do action research to help improve their classroom instruction.

Do you have other ways that you, your school or district are doing professional development differently? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Reframing a Paradigm for Professional Learning: Part 1

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. ” By Benjamin Franklin

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The research on professional development shows that the older “drive‐by” workshop model does not work. We also know that no two people learn the same way;  yet many of us do not change the way we provide instruction for students nor professional development for teachers. 

Just as we personalize education for students, we must also personalizing professional learning for adults. Notice I said professional learning, this is because I want to make a clear distinction between professional development and professional learning because to me, PD is a one and done verse professional learning improves educators professional knowledge, competence, skill and effectiveness. 

Best practices for personalized professional learning closely parallels best practices for personalized learning for students. There are three key pieces we should be doing with professional learning opportunities for educators:

  1. Content: We need to relate the content to the classroom/school just like we relate content to real world for students as this is an educators ‘real world’. We also need to provide the learning goal and how it relates to the educator. For example explaining how it connects to their teacher evaluation.
  2.  Data and Feedback: We need to meet educators where they are and we can use data to do that. Having educators take a pre-assessment on the topic of the professional learning will allow the educator to start where they should. Educators should also be able to ‘test out’ of professional learning opportunities if they can show mastery of the skill, competence etc.
  3. Learning Environment: We need to rethink time, duration, and frequency of professional learning. Professional learning should be continuous and ongoing, involving follow‐up and support meeting the teacher where they are in their teaching craft. Educators should have the option/choice of face to face, virtual or blended professional learning opportunities so they can learn in their best environment.

Here is an example of professional learning based on these three key pieces. If you want educators to learn about morning meeting you need to have a goal for the content: Example – I will be able to effectively implement Morning Meeting into my classroom. This correlates to standard II of the North Carolina Evaluation. Then you need to provide the option of allowing educators to show they have mastered this topic. This can be done multiple ways for example they can provide a video of them implementing morning meeting or they can have someone do an observation while they are conducting a morning meeting. For the educators that don’t ‘test out’ we need need to have a pre-assessment to see where educators are in their understanding of morning meeting.  We need to use this data to place educators in the correct professional learning path based on their needs.

Next week I will share some of the other ways we can reframe the paradigm for professional learning!

 

Personalized Learning Barriers and How to Overcome Them

“Most schools have been designed to solve yesterday’s problems, rather than capitalizing on Today’s Opportunities to Effectively confront the issues of tomorrow.” Unknown

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In order to help Personalized Learning (PL) grow in schools and districts we must try to remove the barriers that challenge those we serve. To do this well, it is always great to do a barrier protocol so that we can be pro-active. Many times we get stuck in what we have always done so it is great to ask others. Here is my previous blog post on barrier protocol and below are some PL barriers and how to overcome them: 

  • Funding: Yes, is it nice to have money to help fund PL but you can do it on a very little budget.
    • We should look closely at what we already have in our schools and districts and ask ourselves: How might we change what we have to be more of a student-driven learning environment? For example you can utilize the teacher leaders in your building that are already trying to move to a more PL environment by having them lead PD on how they implemented ____ (fill in blank). For example if a teacher started with changing their learning environment with furniture and students choosing their seating, let them do a PD on how they did it. Utilize the other people in your building such as facilitators by having them coach teachers to change their craft to a more student-driven environment.
    • To often we think we need funding for PL because we have to get devices for the students but we can start small until the funding is there because technology is a tool to help but PL can be done without technology.
    • Look at other funding sources besides the school/district budget such as grants, PTA and/or fundraisers. Have you tried: GetEdFunding, Go Fund Me Education or these grants.
  • It is overwhelming or it won’t work with ____: We need get to the root cause of what is being said is overwhelming or won’t work. For example I often hear time is a reason that it is overwhelming or won’t work. When you start getting to the root cause of time it is usually because individual/teams are not maximize their time. For example, planning is one area many educators do not use their time wisely. Setting an agenda is helpful to stay on task and not end up talking about what you did over the weekend or what you are going to do over the weekend etc. Also dividing and conquering tasks by standards. For example have one teacher come up with three tasks for 6.EE.1 and someone else 6.EE.2  and share resources. Work smarter, not harder! To also make sure it does not get overwhelming, educators should take small action steps to make the changes to a student driven/PL Environment.
  • We don’t have buy-in with teachers: You might never get consensus but you will have momentum. To help educators have buy-in explain the WHY we need PL. The current structure of the school day is obsolete. Created during the Industrial Age, the assembly line system we have in place now has little relevance to what we know kids actually need to thrive. If education leaders refuse to evaluate and stay in touch with students need our institution will fail, just like businesses that don’t keep up with changing customers. 
  • We don’t have buy-in with parents: Explain the why to parents helps too but other ways you can get buy-in with parents is by having them be apart of the process. Another way is by address misconceptions parents might have such as students at the computer all day doing Khan videos. Helping parents understand and letting them seeing how that is not the case can be done by having parent tours of your school building and parent workshops on PL.
  • It is one more thing to do: There are a few ways to address this barrier:
    1. PL should not be an add-on but a replacement. For example: Instead of you leading a student conferring/conference, replace that with letting the student led it.
    2. Start by showing educators what they are doing well in their room that meets the PL philosophy such as if they are already allowing students to goal set or reflect.

Try to remove barriers and constraints to allow for innovation and change. We need to move beyond compliance and break the silos, be the change you wish to see!

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