Category Archives: Personalized Learning

Redefining Learning

Written by David Richards, Ph.D.

There is a learning renaissance happening in education.  Today, educators are witnessing a disruptive convergence of access to mobile devices, online content, demands for choice, and increased access to high-speed bandwidth. 

Our new reality includes the fact that teachers are everywhere, content is king, and students are increasingly expecting to learn in an anytime, anywhere model. To be clear, this isn’t about our schools being broken, this paradigm shift is more about redefining our learning which will result in a redesign of our schools.  Meaning – to design learner-centered classrooms, we need to begin our design thinking from the student lens.  This includes tackling tough issues like time, mastery, and student agency. Continue reading Redefining Learning

Equitable Education through Personalized Learning

Three people watching at baseball game behind a fence. The first image is labeled equality and all three people have boxes to stand on that are the same height. But the three people are all different heights so only the taller two can see over the fence. In the second image labeled equity, the same three people have boxes to stand on based on their current height. So all three people can see over the fence.
Image courtesy of Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.

In conversations around equity, we often see the image above used as a metaphor to describe how it is different from equality. As educators, we know that every student is unique and their needs diverse. This image depicts that when we provide the same supports to each learner regardless of their unique needs, only some will be able to see over the fence to access learning. We can abstract that while a one-size-fits-all (equal) system of education helps some students access learning, it leaves some without, causing inequities to grow. However, when we provide supports consistent with their needs (equity) every student is able to access learning. Continue reading Equitable Education through Personalized Learning

Small Wins for Growing Habits and Skills with Diverse Learners

Let’s be real. One of the hardest things for people to do is build a new habit. It takes commitment, focus, drive, and a constant reminder or way to trigger that action. In the learning environment habits play an equally important role as mastering curriculum. For many students habits may come naturally and become part of a routine – something they don’t even think about or focus on…they just do it.

For students with learning disabilities, habits of mind do not come easily – making learning even more complicated due to this missing ingredient. On top of the deficits that come into play for students with learning disabilities, such as, retaining information, processing, skill performance, and executive functioning, building a new habit demands a plan of action and the support of teachers. In the end, when students with learning disabilities take an opportunity to build a habit, they will be more inclined to improve their academic performance, skills, and most importantly, confidence. Continue reading Small Wins for Growing Habits and Skills with Diverse Learners

Individuals First, Learners Second

It’s the beginning to a new school year. As you start the year take into consideration this mind-blowing fact.

Did you know that the term “didaskaleinophobia” is the acute fear of going to school? And, that it affects about 2.4% of all children?

I bet you didn’t know that, or are asking yourself why I bring that up? Well, I believe it is fair to say that most students have a sense of anxiety, nervousness, or a feeling of unexpected emotions that arise from going to school each day. Although these feelings may not all be considered “fears”, they are emotions that need to be controlled and tended to in order to give a sense of comfort and focused mind to learning. When we, as teachers, understand our students as individuals first and learners second, we are more inclined to make their experience within the classroom both productive and focused to their goals and success. Continue reading Individuals First, Learners Second

Personalized Learning Conference: #PLCON18 Call for Proposals is OPEN!

UPDATE: This conference is being postponed until May 1, 2019. Please save the date. We are still accepting proposals, but it will be for the 2019 conference. We will still be holding the 2018 site visits at Kent Innovation High and Kenowa Hills. Click here for more information on site visits.

Kent ISD is pleased to announce the hosting of the third Personalized Learning Conference on May 3, 2017 and is searching for presenters to share their experiences in this evolving educational practice. Personalized Learning is a model of learning that promotes flexibility within the learning environment to allow students’ needs to drive instructional strategies, assessments, use of time, and materials. Continue reading Personalized Learning Conference: #PLCON18 Call for Proposals is OPEN!

Top 5 Sessions for Admins at PLCON 2017

“Personalized learning is intended to facilitate the academic success of each student by first determining the learning needs, interests, and aspirations of individual students, and then providing learning experiences that are customized—to a greater or lesser extent—for each student. To accomplish this goal, schools, teachers, guidance counselors, and other educational specialists may employ a wide variety of educational methods, from intentionally cultivating strong and trusting student-adult relationships to modifying assignments and instructional strategies in the classroom to entirely redesigning the ways in which students are grouped and taught in a school.” (Glossary of Education Reform, 5/14/15)

On May 3rd, Kent ISD will host The Personalized Learning Conference (PLCON). This conference is beneficial to all educators who want to learn more about personalized teaching and learning.

Leaders in education have a unique opportunity to create organizational priorities and values that support personalized learning for every student.  Administrators can maximize time and teachers to create student success! Continue reading Top 5 Sessions for Admins at PLCON 2017

Don’t Miss Kenowa Hills Personalized Learning In Action!

See personalized learning in action at the Kenowa Hills Public School District

You may have read about personalized learning in previous blog posts (5 Misconceptions of Personalized Learning) or maybe you even attended PLCON 2016, but have you seen what it actually looks like in a classroom, school, and district?
On Tuesday, May 2, Kenowa Hills is welcoming up to 50 educators to visit their elementary, middle, and high schools for guided classroom tours, mini-presentations, and Q & A sessions with teachers, students, and school leaders. This is a FREE opportunity open to all educators

Continue reading Don’t Miss Kenowa Hills Personalized Learning In Action!

5 Misconceptions of Personalized Learning

In 2015, the Michigan State Board of Education identified as a priority, “Increasing the use of personalized teaching methods, including the integration of technology for K-14 students to improve learning and outcomes.” In 2016, The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) released their plan to become a top 10 state in 10 years, which incorporated personalized learning as 1 of its 7 strategies. While  the state has a strong focus on personalized learning, many local districts in Michigan are just beginning to develop their understanding around this educational concept. Continue reading 5 Misconceptions of Personalized Learning

Closed Captioning to Improve Literacy

Captioning, or Closed Captioning, has a proven track record of improving literacy for learners of all ages. In one randomized study, students who engaged daily in content with “Same Language Subtitling” (SLS) scored significantly higher than students in the comparison condition on the reading comprehension achievement post tests.

Data from PlanetRead has shown that even 30 minutes of weekly exposure to SLS or captioning over 3-5 years enables adults and children with basic familiarity of the alphabet to become functionally literate.  The science underlying SLS and captioning is strong. Continue reading Closed Captioning to Improve Literacy

How New Teachers Are Fitting In Required PD

Did you know that new teachers in Michigan are required to have 15 days of professional development in their first three years of teaching?

It’s true.  And, this 15 days of professional development is in addition to their district provided professional development (DPPD).

Many districts do not have the funding to provide a program that supports this requirement and often ask new teachers to find their own professional development, which can also be costly to the district. While new teachers can find professional development, these opportunities may not match their specific needs for improvement. Continue reading How New Teachers Are Fitting In Required PD