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B.Y.O.T Bring Your Own Thoughts

The latest on personalized learning, blended learning, CBE and all things innovation in K-12 education. We answer questions before you think to ask them.

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

On This Episode of Mythbusters: Personalized Does Not Mean Digital

If Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters looked deep into the world of personalized learning, they would quickly note that one of the biggest misconceptions schools and teachers have is that personalization equals technology. I was in high school prior to the advent of Facebook, the iPhone, the Chromebook, and the popularization of blogs (ironic, given the medium of this article), and to this day, my most personalized educational experiences happened as a high school senior. I was a student in an Advanced Placement U.S. Government class, and I would frequently meet my peers and teacher, Mr. Allan, after school at a Starbucks.

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

Personalization: How A Change in Classroom Delivery Can Change the Outcome

School was never hard for me, it just wasn’t engaging enough for us millennials.  It felt prehistoric and bland, so I often doodled and wrote poetry. I was an average student until sports became my incentive to achieve academically. This wasn’t due to lack of knowledge, but moreso a lack of interest. However, things changed once I got to college. College was the first time I was in charge of my educational path. It was a time I felt connected to school and empowered as a learner.

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Considering Personalized Learning But Don't Know Where to Start?

Subscribe to the blog to get this resource to find out the essential areas to effectively launch, support and sustain personalized learning.

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Curriculum  |  School Districts

Want to Build a Successful Curriculum Blueprint? Here's Our Recipe

Sometimes I wish I were more like my mom. There are many reasons why, but many times it’s because I wish I were a great cook. I used to watch her in the kitchen just glance at a picture of a dish from a cookbook, then create that without ever having to follow the step-by-step recipe that was next to the picture. It was like watching a magic show.

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Education Elements  |  Leaders

Meditations on Thankfulness

Lately I have been meditating. It is only somewhat by choice – we are doing a company-wide meditation challenge and I am usually up for competitions, especially when they get me out of my comfort zone. Within the course of a few days of the challenge I discovered that just sitting and breathing doesn’t work for me – I have one of those brains that doesn’t turn off. It is not always full of important things, thoughts range from how to support a certain school to what I should get at the grocery store to if it’s going to be hot or cold tomorrow but you get the point, focus can be a challenge. So I started to do themed meditations and have recently been enjoying seven days of focusing on gratitude. Because while December may be the season of giving, November is the season of being grateful.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

How to Elevate Teachers in the Age of Computers

One of the worst implementation mistakes school leaders make when they buy devices for their classrooms is allowing even one teacher to feel obsolete. Computers do not substitute for good teachers.

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Leaders

Classrooms and Our Changing Brains: Perspectives on Innovative Experience Design

Ask any high school teacher or college professor about her biggest impediment in the classroom. The answers you hear will share a common theme. In the age of smart-everythings—from phones, to watches, to tablets, to connected specialty devices—the ubiquitous interloper and often unwelcome guest in any modern classroom has a screen.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

If You Build It, They Will Come

It is believed that if you build something, people will come to use it. This is exactly what has transpired with the creation of cross district collaboration for professional development and learning, a venture developed by the Dundee Central School District.

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Personalized Learning  |  core four

Bringing the Core Four Home: Helping Parents Understand Personalized Learning

This scenario is all too familiar. Children spend a day at school and then have nothing to report. How is this possible? You can encourage parents to avoid this by asking questions connected to personalized learning. Remind them that in their child’s classroom, teachers and students are working together to include four elements of personalized learning. Share these tips to get the conversation started.

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning  |  core four

Personalized Learning Requires Flexibility: An Update to Education Elements’ Core 4

When I was in high school I had a fantastic U.S. history teacher who demanded that we each complete an independent research paper on the 1960’s at the end of the year. I got to choose the topic and knew that I’d have to develop a thesis, and I knew the defense of that thesis would have to be sourced from far more than textbooks - it had me scouring local libraries and whatever I could find on Webcrawler at the time (my friend told me about a site called Google that was pretty good but I thought the name was weird so I didn’t use it for a while).

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Six Examples of What Personalized Learning Looks Like

Each year we receive hundreds of questions along the lines of, “Okay…so what does personalized learning actually look like?” We have a few answers to this question. One is that personalized learning always involves these core four elements - targeted instruction, data-driven decisions, flexible content, and student reflection and ownership. Check out our Core Four white paper for a more detailed description of these elements, as well as classroom examples.

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Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Leaders

Critical Questions to Ask When Building a Life-changing Curriculum Process

Yes, I said it in my title. Life-changing. Am I exaggerating? Maybe a little. But as a former teacher, I met too many students who “hated (insert any subject here)” because they thought their textbook, worksheet, or homework material was boring, too difficult, or did not make sense to them. I also met too many fellow teachers who thought their curriculum was simply their textbooks (which they often didn’t like), and no more. For these students and teachers, learning and teaching was not a fun experience because their “curriculum” was horrible. Think about turning these people around and instilling joy in them through the right curriculum. Oh the things they will learn and teach! Isn’t that a life-changing possibility? 

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Personalized Learning  |  School Districts  |  School Leaders

What is the Missing Step in Your District’s Strategic Plan?

All districts have strategic plans. For many districts, they are the most expensive document created in a given year. Getting to a final draft usually takes several months or more and requires the time of many staff and community members. There are committees, meetings, surveys, reviews, discussions and multiple rounds of revision.

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Personalized Learning

How We Hire Employees Who Embody 21st Century Skills

At Education Elements, we are proud that our team members model the 21st Century skills we encourage in the classrooms we serve. Our consultants think big, seek collaboration, and enjoy solving the unique challenges each of our districts face. As we continue to see the positive impact of our work, school and district leaders commonly ask us one thing about our team - what does Education Elements look for in a hire?

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

How to Personalize Professional Development: One District’s Story

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in an all-purpose room with uncomfortable chairs and a trainer lecturing to a whole-group about the latest small-group teaching strategies. We’ve all been there, right? Stuck in PD sessions with facilitators who don’t practice what they preach.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Tracking the Big Picture: Onpoint for Personalized Learning

We hear all the time “You’ve seen districts implement personalized learning all across the country - give it to us straight - how do we compare?” Whether districts are just getting started and dipping a toe into personalized learning, or are reflecting on several successful years of implementation and searching for ways to go deeper, district leaders want to know how their progress compares to national benchmarks. It isn’t enough to look inward; they need data from the outside too.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

10 Personalized Learning Superhero Snapshots

At Education Elements we are incredibly fortunate to work with so many exceptional, passionate, and extraordinarily talented people, including teachers, coaches, principals, and district leaders. These amazing people are going above and beyond to transform education, and are helping to write the future through the success of their students.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Blended Learning Won’t Work Without a Strong Culture to Support It

Years ago, Anthony Kim, CEO of Education Elements, remarked to me that “Blended learning accelerates a good culture and makes it great, but it will also accelerate a bad culture and make it terrible.”

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

The Power of "What If?" - How XQ is Rethinking High School

On Friday night America’s top TV networks put aside the battle for ratings, when all four aired the XQ Super School Live special to address the question: What needs to change with American high schools? Cameos from an all-star lineup of celebrities, and cover songs from our favorite high school movies were an added bonus to the program’s key message. Four of the 18 (and counting) XQ Super Schools were featured and given the opportunity to share their powerful stories on what happens when we ask the question, “What if?”

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CBE  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Personalized Learning Delivers Results (We Aren't Surprised, Are You?)

This time of year is full of hope. Kids are excited for school and hoping they will get the best teachers and be with their best friends. Teachers are excited and hoping that this year their students will achieve great things and be more engaged than the year before. And leaders are hoping that the hard work that they are putting in against their strategic plans and initiatives will pay off with successful students and satisfied staff.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

One Trick to Pitching a Blended Learning Plan

Imagine you find yourself in an elevator for three minutes with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, who together are giving up to $1 billion in each of the next three years to “advance human potential and promote equality.” You can’t believe your luck! You’ve been dreaming for years about a more personalized, blended model for your school, and now you actually have the chance to pitch the idea to the founders of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. What would you say in the next three minutes before that elevator door slides open?

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

How Corcoran High School Used Their Graduation Ceremony to Personalize Learning

In 2017, Corcoran High School implemented a new district alternate assessment, also known as a competency test. This test was required for any student who did not score Standards Met or Standards Exceeded on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. Students who could not pass this assessment would be prohibited from participating in the graduation ceremony.

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Leaders

Character Education is a Personalized Learning Experience as Well

A few years ago, I stumbled across a wonderful column where the author reflected on all of the teachers who had a profound impact on his life from kindergarten all of the way through graduate school. It reminded me of the impact of Professor Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” where faced with months to live, Pausch delivered a memorable lesson for so many Carnegie Mellon students around living your childhood dreams. To this day, I still reflect often on those messages, particularly as a new school year approaches.

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Leaders

Choosing Your Blended Learning Model

Educators and researchers alike love to obsess over what model of blended learning a school should implement. A favorite question I get asked is: “OK, now that you’ve told us about all the blended-learning models, be honest, what’s the best one?”

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Leaders

The Personalized Learning Journey: Oh The Places You'll Go, And How The Friends You Meet Can Help You

In the book Oh The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss describes the excitement and trepidation we all feel before we embark on a new adventure. There are going to be tales of success, failure, and everything in between, but what makes this journey so special is it truly becomes your own.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

6 Education Leadership Challenges and How to Address Them

When our team partners with a school district to tackle its toughest education leadership challenges, relationships are built at all levels of the organization. We may encounter superintendents and cabinet staff first, but we tend to find ourselves learning in many nooks and crannies of an organization over time, listening to content area specialists, IT staff, teachers and school leaders, and even attending parent nights or school board meetings.

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Classrooms  |  Curriculum

What Exactly Is Curriculum?

I recall one distinct shocking moment as a new teacher. It was when a mentor teacher was onboarding me. She walked me to my classroom, opened a cabinet door rather proudly, showed me two shelves filled with textbooks and supplementary materials (worksheets, assessment guides, etc.) and said, “This is your 6th grade math curriculum.”

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Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

It’s Not About Twitter, It’s About Teacher Collaboration [TweetChat Series]

Well, it’s a little about Twitter. Twitter provides an amazing social media tool for teacher collaboration. Twitter provides an innovative platform for professional development. Twitter promotes an engaging forum that excites and drives teachers. 3 years ago we were inspired by Jimmy Fallon to launch discussions on Twitter around a hashtag. Our understandings about leading and participating in TwitterChats have evolved into a practice that promotes growth and has become the cornerstone of teacher collaboratin across our district.

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Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

9 Steps to Buying the Right Digital Content for your District

Just like online dating or buying a new car, choosing a new digital content provider can often feel overwhelming, complicated, and like a shot in the dark. Thankfully, Education Elements created a 9 step process, and compiled tips and tricks from district leaders across the country in our new curriculum white paper: “Phase Three: Review, Demo, and Select Digital Content and Tools.” You can also get Phase 1 and Phase 2 if you want to catch up first. But here are some highlights from Phase 3:

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Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

How to Build Momentum and Leadership at the Same Time

Yuma Elementary School District ONE began the journey of Personalized Learning over two years ago and we went all in --17 schools and 9000 students all at once. At the start of school, iPads were distributed to all students and 490 teachers -- many staff and students had never even held an iPad prior to the distribution. Not only were devices deployed, but digital programs were ready to go. Teachers were learning how to use the devices, navigate programs and personalize instruction while also getting to know their students and teach them content in a new way. A massive undertaking was underway. Teachers worked hard to understand the digital programs and to use them faithfully to begin the steps of integrating technology and personalizing instruction. This was a new vision for many of our teachers and it required them to rethink their pedagogy of teaching. It wasn’t easy, but from the start it was powerful.

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Classrooms  |  Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

Stop! Collaborate and Listen... to Enhance Personalized Learning

The world of work is changing. As we integrate into a global community, we’re tasked to work together to solve complex problems. Our solutions can be innovative and represent multiple perspectives if we know how to maximize group work. With so many benefits to a collaborative environment, why is it so challenging? Through my work as a classroom teacher and now as an education consultant, I have noticed a few common barriers to collaboration and identified ways that school district leaders and classroom teachers can overcome them.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

25 Focus Areas For Implementing Personalized Learning

In 2015 we published the first edition of our Personalized Learning Implementation Framework (aka PL Framework) based on lessons learned from working with schools and districts over the previous five years. At that time I shared how the PL Implementation Framework was inspired by my Grandma Rose’s love of bingo and the idea that, much like on a bingo board, there are many ways to “win” on the PL Framework. Since then, the framework has been used in hundreds of schools and districts around the country, downloaded more than 2,000 times, and leveraged as an invaluable tool to help teams articulate their strengths and areas of need when it comes to designing, launching, and scaling personalized learning.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

10 Books on Personalized Learning for School Leaders

If you’re like us, as you wind down another hectic school year, you’re imagining yourself on a beach with a few good reads. But what books will make the cut? Education Elements put together a few of our favorites on personalized and blended learning just for you. You’ll start the 2017-18 school year refreshed and full of great ideas to continue to move forward with personalized learning at your school and across your district.

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Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

Beyond Unpacking: How to personalize a standard

If you’re an educator, my guess is that at some point in your career you’ve been to a workshop focusing on unpacking standards. Unpacking a standard refers to the practice of reviewing what is often a long, clause-ridden statement and breaking it down into component parts to identify what students should know and be able to do. 

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Leaders

The Pathway to Superintendency

Aspiring superintendents face a difficult but worthwhile challenge to lead a school district. All school districts, for better or worse, are the subject to immeasurable scrutiny from internal and external stakeholders. More times than not the scrutiny comes in different forms and through various outlets- editorials, social media, TV, etc. It is important for any aspiring superintendent to remain grounded with these circumstances in mind. We all agree that serving as a superintendent is a tremendous honor and privilege. The following “tips” are simply designed to supplement your preparation for the superintendency…

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Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

Defining the Purpose of Curriculum in Personalized Learning

As an increasing number of schools and classrooms shift to personalized learning across the country, educators face many questions. Many of these questions focus on the need to define the purpose of curriculum, digital content, and tools in a personalized learning setting. While educators are certainly familiar with the use of curriculum in a traditional classroom, a shift to personalized learning brings up new questions like:

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

It's Time To Personalize Learning In Alaska

In the middle of January, with little daylight and plenty of snow, we began the process of bringing together the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District community to learn about personalized learning. With a week of workshops, board sessions and community nights behind us, we realized that over the course of a few days we significantly moved forward work that would impact our 14,000 students for the rest of their lives.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Personalized Learning Journey Begins with a Vision

Have you ever stopped and looked around your school, your classroom, and asked yourself: “How did this all happen? Where did it all begin? How did we get to this point? When did the transformation occur?” In year one of being a personalized learning school, I have had many reflective moments like this at Trailside Middle School. I look back on what our classrooms looked like, sounded like, and felt like a few years ago - and the transformation is amazing. Students engage in selecting their pathway for learning, collaborating, questioning, and self-assessing all day long. Teachers have assumed the role of facilitator and students are owners of their learning.

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Classrooms  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Keeping Personalized Learning (the Main Thing) the Main Thing

When I reflect on how far we have come since last summer I am impressed by how much hard work everyone has done to begin to make personalized learning a reality. Our district PL council engaged in serious debate over our vision of PL, our roll out plan (cohort vs. all-in), and our areas of priority and focus. Our PL building leadership team collaborated on expectations and commitments, agreed on base model designs for PL in our classrooms, turn-key trained the core four, and started the process of developing a formal support structure for teachers transitioning to PL in their classrooms.

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CBE  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Personalized Learning and CBE: A Partnership and a Toolkit

When I’m on the road working with school districts across the country on everything from personalized learning to competency-based education (CBE), I often hear the same question: “Well how do other districts approach these issues?” Thankfully, this year Education Elements partnered with Digital Promise, a national non-profit authorized by Congress, to document and share lessons learned on CBE from school districts across the country. We can now easily answer that question by sharing our new toolkit and saying - “this is what other districts did.”

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Education Elements  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

Reflections on our Epic Personalized Learning Summit

Epic Lip Sync Battle. I almost feel like I could both start and end this post with just those 4 words and a short description of what it was like to be in a room full of educators singing and dancing their hearts out (some in costume!) on Thursday night of Education Elements' 3rd Annual Personalized Learning Summit. But then I’d miss out on all of the other amazing moments, like Anthony Kim interviewing Kaya Henderson while wearing a sparkly gold jacket, or Ray Owens leading the entire conference in singing Row Row Row Your Boat as a wave, or Brad Montague making many people (not just me, although I was among those wiping my eyes) both cry and laugh. The truth is the whole PL Summit was epic.

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Classrooms  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Jarvis Middle School Student for a Day

It’s been awhile since my last blog post as I try to document many of the great things going on at Central Valley on my twitter account, @CVThunderSuper. A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to live the life of a typical 8th grade student during the school day. I thank the student, Skylar, and the wonderful staff at Jarvis for not only being so patient, but also for inviting me into their world for a day. What follows is my account of March 23, 2017 as best as I can recall. It went by so fast, that some things are a blur.

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Leaders  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

E = MC2: A 2017 Personalized Learning Summit Workshop

Albert Einstein’s discovery of E = mc2 is without a doubt one of the world’s most famous equations. When Keith Wilson and Monte Westfall, successful administrators of the Lawrence Virtual School, and I began working on our workshop about equity for Education Elements’ Personalized Learning Summit (May 10-12, 2017), we chose this very equation as the title but added a new twist. For our purposes E = mc2 is transformed to Equity = Meaningful Change for Children.”  

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Education Elements  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

How to Create a Vision

Vision-setting can be a painful process. Hours may be spent on one twisting sentence. Long, awkward silences may follow periods of disagreement. Jargon can add up to something that everyone agrees to but no one really understands or finds inspiring. It doesn’t have to be this way. As Education Elements has worked with districts across the country, we’ve found a few simple guidelines can help make the visioning process invigorating and inspiring rather than routine or frustrating.

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Education Elements  |  Leaders  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning Summit is Bigger and Better than Ever

Four years ago the team at EE had an idea...what if we brought together groups of personalized learning leaders in regional Blended Learning Leadership Academies (BLLA) to help spread innovation and best practices? We hosted these BLLAs for two years across the country, from Chicago to Washington DC and San Francisco. We facilitated collaboration time, hosted choice workshops, shared out highlights from the past year, and hosted silly photo booths.

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Classrooms  |  Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

The Technology Trap: Can You Personalize Learning Without Devices?

I was lying to myself and didn’t even realize it. After completing numerous 5K and 10K runs, I was considering taking my running to the next level by training for my first half marathon. I would visit the specialty running store and look longingly at the glass case of GPS smart watches. “If I only had one, I’d run more,” I’d say to myself. “I would have up-to-the-second data and an increased desire to run. Everything would be easier.” I took the plunge and made the purchase. The features were helpful, and for the first few days, I did get excited to take my watch out for a spin. But over time, did it make me run more or was it essential to my running? Not at all.

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Blended Learning  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

The Impact of Betsy DeVos: A Q&A with Michael Horn

Ed Elements: Betsy Devos’s confirmation process was one of the toughest anyone can remember.  What do you think made people so passionate about her nomination? Michael Horn: The toughest ever certainly for an education secretary. I think there were three things in particular that made people so passionate. First, to understate it, there is obviously a lot of passion around Trump’s election with many who did not support him opposed virulently and reflexively to anyone he would nominate and determined to see at least one of his picks for Cabinet “go down”, so to speak. Second, despite Devos’s long-time involvement in education and a deeper and more mainstream track record than has been portrayed by the mainstream media, no matter how you slice it, her hearing did not go well. It revealed some significant apparent blind spots in her awareness of some of the questions swirling around education and the federal government and Department of Education’s role in particular. It did not seem as though she was prepared well at all by Trump’s transition team.

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Blended Learning  |  CBE  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Is Communications the Secret Sauce for Innovation?

Over the past several years, our organizations have been deeply involved in the national movement towards blended and personalized learning, both as implementation experts and catalysts for innovation.  We have engaged with hundreds of districts between us and have witnessed a broad range of schools working to shift instructional practice to be more student-centered, data-driven, and mastery-based. What is the surprising “secret sauce” of their success? Communications.

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CBE  |  Classrooms

Creating a Culture of Relearning in Your CBE Classroom

The biggest frustration I hear from teachers who are implementing competency-based education (CBE, also known as mastery-based education or learning) is that students' motivation drops considerably when they realize they can retake tests until they get a passing score. It seems, much to the chagrin of the teachers, some students no longer take assessments seriously. How do you ensure your transition to a competency-based classroom results in an emphasis on learning and re-learning rather than testing and retesting?

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Leaders  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

PL Superpowers - My Journey to Personalized Learning Superpower Stardom

I was blessed to become a Personalized Learning Lexington Education Leadership Award Fellow (2nd Class) back in December of 2015. Education Elements not only influenced my personal work, but it motivated me to make learning meaningful for my students (all 4,970) in an exceptional way. My work in personalized learning has been inspirational in my district. Every district educational leader will always answer yes to certain questions. So, if you ask leaders if they use data to drive instruction, the answer will be yes. If you ask if leaders embed small group learning into their districts, the answer will be yes. If you ask if leaders utilize digital tools to help students make educational learning gains, the answer will be yes.

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Classrooms  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

Superheroes in Personalized Learning!

What comes to mind when you hear the word, superhero: Batman or Superman? Merriam-Webster defines a superhero as an exceptionally skillful or successful person and that is exactly what West Fork High School is producing in our Personalized Learning Academy (PLA)! When brainstorming ideas to write about, I immediately thought “the real superheroes are the students and skills they gain throughout PLA.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I AM a superhero too. Designing and implementing personalized learning (PL) in my classroom is intense and I would love to increase my superpowers by attending the PL Summit.  So below, are several reasons why I feel my ability to empower my students is my superhero power!

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts  |  touchpoint

Getting Good at Prioritizing

As a startup, we have a small team and limited resources to work on problems where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. When working on Touchpoint, our new project management tool which complements our consulting services, every feature we build and every test we run is a precious use of our limited time and resources. This probably sounds pretty familiar to school administrators across the country — lots to do with limited resources to get it done.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts  |  touchpoint

How Touchpoint Compares to Other Tools

There are many project management tools such as Trello and Basecamp that are already out there, and they’re great. However, we found that there was still something missing and that none of the existing solutions really met the needs of our school districts. When implementing personalized learning, districts found that it was hard to keep track of all of the documents, deadlines, and people involved. For a while, we used a combination of Google and emails, but it eventually became unwieldy and we knew we needed to figure out something better. And because we are designers, engineers and problem-solvers our team created our own solution: Touchpoint.

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Classrooms  |  School Districts

Overcoming "Otherism": Thoughts on Race and Cultural Differences in the Classroom

My mother’s first language is Spanish. As the daughter of an immigrant, I grew up living a life nuanced in foreign customs and cultures. Not that these nuances felt foreign to me: it was just “life” in my home. Plus, I had the privilege of living in communities that saw my family as vibrant, exciting and beautiful — not foreign or unwanted. It is because of my mixed background that I have always been intrigued by the different value sets that drive us. As I grew older, I realized that not everyone looks at cultural differences as assets; some view them as a threat. This realization became a driver for me to enter education as a Special Education Teacher.

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Classrooms  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

End of Average

The end of average is here. Or at least, you'll probably think it's close once you read Todd Rose's The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness. Rose gave the main keynote at last year's iNACOL conference. Drawing on material from his new book, Rose offered three compelling changes to how we consider individuality (or anti-average thinking) to better solve social and self-problems.

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Education Elements  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Education Elements Gets Results

As Education Elements moves into its sixth year supporting schools and districts, its latest impact report builds the case that personalizing learning for students isn’t just a one-hit wonder but a sound strategy for boosting outcomes for all students.

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Blended Learning  |  Classrooms  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

Are Teachers Truly “Shifting Away from the Station Rotation Model?”

Today we are trying something new. This blog post is being posted here and on the Clayton Christensen Institute website and is a collaboration between our organizations. We consider the Christensen Institute to be great partners in the field, pushing districts forward in great ways, but we don't always agree on everything. Check out our reactions to their post about station rotations below.  

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Education  |  K-12  |  Personalized Learning  |  innovation

Why This Brand-New Online Tool Will Help Districts Implement Initiatives More Effectively

A few months ago Education Elements launched an online tool called Touchpoint. Touchpoint was designed for the districts we support. As our design & implementation consultants work with districts to support their personalized learning (PL) initiatives, the tool helps organize the project members, workshop schedules, related resources and action items in one place. If you’ve ever spent more than 5 minutes digging through your inbox and said something like, “What was the title of the email that had the meeting agenda attached?” you can bet your pretty penny that Touchpoint will be a lifesaver for you. All of your project stuff in one place -- heaven!

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Classrooms  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

First Steps to Personalize Learning

If you wait until you’re ready for personalized learning, you’ll never get started! Our antiquated, factory-style education system is failing our students. It’s also failing our teachers. We have more and more students each year struggling to find relevance and connections between what they do in school each day and their future hopes and dreams. Every day, hundreds of thousands of students walk into their school buildings hoping that this day will be the day that school connects with them, is relevant to them, will interest them, will challenge them, will engage them, and will allow their voice to be valued and heard. Sadly, the current structures of most educational systems will not allow for these students to see that day come about.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

Ten Tips for Creating a Culture of Innovation

Recently it seems that innovation is a buzzword on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Need happier employees? Innovate! Need bigger profits? Innovate! Need better leadership? Innovate!

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Horry County Schools  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

The Personalized Learning Pathway of Horry County Schools

It was so exciting for me to visit South Carolina for the first time last month. What was most exciting was that I got to join the Ed Elements team at our partner Horry County Schools (HCS), South Carolina’s third largest district. HCS has 54 schools, 2,700 teachers and more than 40,000 K-12 students.

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Classrooms  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

The Great Demand—How Do We Supply our Students with Quality Teachers?

Nearly every state in the United States is reporting a teacher shortage. Various states have taken action to address this shortfall by changing teacher requirements. Utah has loosened teacher qualifications to include candidates with no formal teacher training; Hawaii just called for 1,600 teachers to live and work on the island; and last year, Clark County in Las Vegas, the fifth largest district in the nation, launched a "Call for Heroes" as they scrambled to fill positions. These specific states may have been highlighted in various news articles, but the overarching question that audiences across the United States asked was: why is there such a pressing shortage in the first place?

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Blended Learning  |  CBE  |  Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

Our 10 Most Popular Personalized Learning Blogs of 2016

Over the course of 2016 we published more than 70 blog posts on our weekly blog, sharing ideas from our team, our districts, and thought leaders from across the country. We are amazed and inspired by all the passion, leadership and innovation in the personalized learning space reflected in the Bring Your Own Thoughts (BYOT) blog. While we can’t say enough good things about every blog that’s been shared, here are the top 10 most popular posts from the past year:

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EdTech  |  Leaders

4 Ways to Empower the Intrapreneurs of K-12 and Ignite Innovation

In the 1980s, the organizational leadership world was introduced to the concept of the intrapreneur. Simply put, intrapreneurship is a working style that emphasizes innovation and risk-taking – traits we associate with entrepreneurs. The difference is that intrapreneurs use these skills within, and for the benefit of, an established organization. I consider myself a serial intrapreneur because I constantly look for ways to encourage innovation at every company I am in. I’ve seen time and again what giving people ownership can do for results, be it in a private company, public utility, or school district. It’s time for intrapreneurship to surge in K-12 education, and from my experience, here are four surefire ways to ignite innovation in your organization.

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Education Elements  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

All I Want for Christmas is the Butterfly Effect

Dear Santa, I hope that you noticed how good I was this year! I even learned how to make more friends at school this year! We had these special days at the beginning of the school year where our teacher talked about bullying. My teacher talked to me about why I was mean to the other kids sometimes and I told her I just get mad at them because they are smarter than me. It makes me angry that I can’t get good grades too. Then she told me that we were going to do some things different in her class and that she knew I could get good grades too. Guess what? I DID!!! Oh wait, you already know that because you’re Santa. Guess what else? My teacher also told me she was proud of me because I take such good care of the computer she gave me. At first I didn’t know what to do with it and thought it would be fun to have to play games on and stuff, but she doesn’t let me play video games on it. But that’s ok because I learned how to use it to get better scores. I even get to use it during class!!!

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Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

It's Not About the Tech: PL and CRE

The Syracuse City School District is in the second year of our Personalized Learning (PL) initiative. Schools are at different points of learning about, designing, and implementing school-based models to tailor student experiences to their unique strengths, needs, and interests. The PL work in SCSD is anchored in Education Elements’ Core 4:  Integrated Digital Content, Data-Driven Decisions, Targeted Instruction, and Student Ownership & Reflection.

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Classrooms  |  Curriculum  |  Education Elements

Knowledge-Centered Service

How do teams capture knowledge about ideas and solutions in a way that is readily available throughout your organization? This is a question that challenges leaders everywhere, whether you direct a tech startup or a high school's English department. It is perhaps even more important when you are embarking on something new: rolling out a new initiative, starting to integrate new software and technology, trying out new devices. The last thing you want is for your lessons learned to get lost.

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Classrooms  |  Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

Discipline Through A Personalized Learning Lens

When we work with school districts to embark on a personalized learning journey, we empower students to be self-directed, independent, motivated, and well-versed in articulating and sharing ideas. We encourage students to reflect on their own performance data and collaboratively plan an academic path forward that meets their needs. Yet we don’t build that sort of student agency when it comes to behavior and discipline.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Don't Throw the Bucket Overboard

As a child growing up, my family didn’t take the traditional summer vacations. Instead, we had a boat named “Sadie”, which we sailed to different locations on Lake Ontario. During these sailing adventures, we experienced many unforgettable moments. I remember one such occasion during a cross-lake trip to Canada. We were roughly halfway across the lake. There had been no sight of land in any direction for hours, and it would be a few more hours before we would see land again. The winds and sea were fair, and we were cruising along at a relaxing pace. At some point, my sister decided to go below to grab a book she’d been reading. I can still remember the splashing sound it made when her feet hit the carpet in the cabin below. Sadie was taking on water. 

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Education Elements

Finding Reasons To Be Thankful

Normally, this is the time of year when people write lists about what makes them thankful. In the wake of the election I have seen less of those and more lists about what is making people feel scared. And that makes sense -- I’m scared too. I am pretty sure for many of us 2016 will go down as a pretty bad year, full of numerous high-profile shootings, deaths of some pretty awesome people, and a divisive election. Yet there still remain so many things for which I am grateful. In the midst of such tension and fear, it seems like now more than ever it's important to reflect on what I am so deeply thankful for.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Life As A LELA Fellow

  I did not fully grasp what was ahead of me when I sent in my application to become part of the third Lexington Education Leadership Award (LELA) Fellowship. Was this another advertising scheme? Did I just win $10,000,000 from Ed McMahon? Being a bit skeptical at first, I did my homework and quickly realized that the Lexington Institute and Education Elements were the real deal. It did not take long for the next realization, which was that instead of wondering what was ahead of me, I should have asked what amazing things were in store for our district.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Personalized Learning: The Pause That Refreshes

When you mention being from Atlanta, the first thing most people ask you -- after the prerequisite “But you don’t have an accent!” -- is “Oh, I bet someone in your family worked for Coca-Cola!” Interestingly enough, for both of us, that’s actually true. Both of our fathers worked for Coca-Cola for the majority of their careers. The philosophies and strategies of the Coca-Cola Company played a large role in our upbringing and now shape our work as leaders of personalized learning. We've crafted 5 lessons inspired by Coca-Cola which we hope you will find useful, no matter where you are on your personalized learning journey.

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning  |  iNACOL

5 Takeaways From Our #PLroadtrip to iNACOL 2016

On Friday morning I looked around the Las Vegas airport on my way back from the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium in San Antonio and realized I looked just as tired as the people who had spent the last several days drinking and gambling. I noted one key difference though: tired as I looked, inside I was excited and full of inspirational ideas while the others in the airport, well, they were just plain tired. For me, the annual iNACOL conference is like a reunion where everyone shares not just hugs and stories but also ideas and introductions. It was a week of new and old friends, of learning from and teaching others. Here are the top five takeaways from one of my favorite annual gatherings:

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Personalized Learning

3 Questions That Drive Virtual School Excellence

Virtual schools in the K-12 environment have been a popular topic for discussion for many years. Recently I have noticed an increased level of interest by online charter school leaders, district- or state-run virtual schools, and program leaders in regards to how they can improve their virtual schools. Almost ironically, I also find myself having frequent conversations about virtual school opportunities with brick-and-mortar school leaders. With many school districts adopting blended learning as a major priority

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Classrooms  |  Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

Why I am Loving Instead of Hating the Beginning of This School Year

  This year marks my 17th in the classroom, and I have had the best first few weeks of my entire teaching career. For your reference, I am in the same classroom, I have the same team teacher, I have the same demographic of students, I am teaching the same classes (mostly 12th grade English), so...what is different? When it comes to what learning looks and feels like in my class, everything is different. Since dipping my toes in the pool of personalized learning

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

PL Implementation Framework: 1 Year Later

One year ago, my colleague Keara Duggan introduced the concept of a “bingo board” for personalized learning, formally known as our Personalized Learning Implementation Framework. This framework outlines the 25 areas we think are essential for a district to effectively launch, support, sustain, and grow personalized learning. What a difference it made in our work! We’ve found that over and over again, the framework has been so helpful to district leaders at all stages

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

Do Our Students Deserve It (Personalized Learning)?

Do students deserve personalized learning? Working at Education Elements, where we build and support dynamic school systems that meet the needs of every learner, I’m often quick to answer with a resounding, “Yes!” It’s hard not to. The narrative of personalized learning is compelling. Why wouldn’t students be better served when recognized as individuals with unique needs, talents and perspectives? The vision of dynamic classroom environments--with targeted instruction and the organized chaos of self-directed student learning--is inspiring. It’s compelling for

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Blended Learning  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Why Schools Shouldn't Go It Alone on Personalized Learning

Principals and teachers trying to personalize their students’ learning are charged with radically reimagining the classroom. It’s a tall order that requires educators to take risks, move outside their comfort zones and essentially overhaul much of their jobs. What we’re seeing in the schools we’ve visited for this project makes it clear that this work shouldn’t—and often can’t—be done alone.

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Personalized Learning

Cognitive Science and a Personalized Learning Schema

It must be hard to be a cognitive scientist. You spend considerable time meticulously conducting research, designing experiments, summarizing findings, and publishing your work, all in the noble pursuit of furthering human understanding of how the mind works. But that's not enough. In fact, that’s the easy part.The hard part: getting millions of teachers (there are 3.4 million in the U.S. alone) to learn about and act on your findings.

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Leaders

Peak Me!

How do I stay ahead of the game consistently and constantly? This question is probably the most frequently asked question by those that are operating at their peak in any profession. Though there are many books, a lot of advice and much research conducted about human development and personal growth, very little has been published or discussed on how or what we need to do to sustain peak performance levels.

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CBE  |  Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

Innovation at the Secondary Level: 5 Misconceptions

Time and again we have seen that assumptions or misconceptions can get in the way of progress and success. Personalized learning is no exception; misconceptions about it often lead educators away from strategies and practices that could help students succeed. Sometimes, misconceptions represent more than small gaps in knowledge--they can be ingrained into industry-wide best practices, with disastrous results. For example, for centuries, doctors believed that mothers would die during childbirth due to patient-specific issues such as inflammation, pain, or other factors. However, in 1847, Ignaz Semmelweiz, a Hungarian physician, hypothesized that

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Blended Learning  |  Horry County Schools  |  Leaders

The Promise of Blended Learning

As one of today’s most promising models for learning, blended learning is growing rapidly across the country. But what is blended learning, and how can educators use it to improve student outcomes? In a blended learning environment, students learn through a combination of online instruction – with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace – and instruction in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home. There are several different blended models

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PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

[PL Summit Series] Activating Professional Learning through Personalization

Earlier this year, Digital Promise and the Center for Teaching Quality co-authored a paper on how micro-credentials help drive teacher learning and leadership. In it, we discuss the challenges teachers face in the classroom to ensure that all students’ learning needs are met. To do so, educators must engage in ongoing professional growth. However, evidence suggests that current professional development does not meet educators’ needs. Enter micro-credentials

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Leaders  |  Middletown  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Reflections on Why Our District Personalizes

In Middletown, we are personalizing education, not standardizing it! In 2004, the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, New York, found itself in a whole lot of academic trouble. We knew that we were not necessarily any different than most other high-minority/high-poverty school districts; our performance numbers of a 54% graduation rate and an even a greater percentage of students who were not proficient in either math or literacy mirrored other similar school districts. Over the next few years things seemed to become more problematic

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

Creating an Entrepreneur’s Mindset through a Personalized Learning Approach

 It seems like everyone’s priority in education is to become a 1:1 district with ubiquitous access to technology and internet connectivity both at school and home. The new E-Rate program will certainly move us in that direction, and the new Every Student Success Act (ESSA) should provide guidance and accountability. But will all this make a difference, and are we using the proper approach to prepare our next generation of learners?

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

A Year of Personalized Learning: 3 Things You Need to Know

Last week, we released our third annual Impact Report, “The Positive Power of Personalized Learning.” In the report, we share the incredible work and positive outcomes of districts we work with across the nation, from those that are just launching personalized learning to those that are embarking on their fourth year of implementation. Since this is our third year sharing this report, I want to share three key takeaways from what we’re seeing (and celebrating) in the field.

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning  |  design thinking

Designing Your Own Home of Learning

My Education Elements teammates and I recently compared our work with school districts to building a house. We traditionally start our work by building a strong foundation around what personalized learning is and what it can look like for a school district. Similar to finding the perfect home for a family, our first step is clearly defining the vision of personalized learning in the school district. Then, we determine what structures and support need to happen

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Blended Learning  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] Beyond Disrupting Class

When we published Disrupting Class in 2008, we had no idea what it would help unleash. As Gisele Huff, executive director of the Jaquelin Hume Foundation, observed recently, the book served as a vehicle to change the dialogue in education from school improvement to transforming schools through innovation. Innovation in our schools is critical so that we can personalize learning for each student’s distinct needs such that

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PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

[PL Summit Series] Thank you Ed Elements: A Win-Win Experience!

“At RUSD it all starts with a conversation.”   When we were asked to present at the Education Elements Personalized Learning Summit in San Francisco this past May, we were honored to have an opportunity to bring others on this amazing journey and to include them in on this conversation of personalized learning at Riverside Unified.  Our students live in a world today in which 21st Century skills are crucial to their success and their ability to contribute globally in a positive manner.   We recognize that, although the four core elements of learner profile, flexible environments, learning plans and competency based advancement are important to create a culture of personalized learning, students also need

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

A Realistic View for Self-Directed Learning

A virtual discussion with questions by Anthony Kim and responses from Scott Johns. [Anthony Kim] Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could walk into a classroom and every student was engaged, motivated, and directing their own learning? If teachers in this classroom were coaching and challenging students individually and dynamically pulling students together to collaborate and to expand their reach in critical thinking and problem-solving? I know it would be tough. The truth is that, even as adults who have received multiple higher-education degrees, managing our own learning is complex and challenging with distractions and competing priorities. So what is the path to preparing our students to be self-directed learners?

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PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

[PL Summit Series] Challenges, Not Instructions: Three Tips for Naturally Personalized Learning

“Look out - it works!” Two of the teachers in our workshop at the Education Elements Personalized Learning Summit had just gotten their wheel-launcher to work, and they were bubbling with excitement. When I saw the little wooden wheel fly across the room, I went over to check it out (trying to keep out of the line of fire). Their invention, made from a small electric motor, some laser-cut wooden parts, and rubber bands, was certainly an effective wheel flinging machine! It was also completely different from any other wheel launcher I had ever seen.

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

Personalize Back-to-School for Families

It’s hard to believe that a new school year is already here! Going back to school is an exciting time for everyone. Students are eager to get new school supplies; parents can get back to their normal routines; and teachers have new rosters, clean classrooms and fresh ideas. It also means that Back-to-School Night is just around corner! Back-to-School Night is a prime opportunity for teachers and parents to begin building relationships and set up engagement opportunities such as

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PBL  |  Personalized Learning  |  Project Based Learning

Reflections on Personalized and Project-based Learning

Recently, I had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop with our partners at Loudoun County Public Schools and the Buck Institute for Education to do some deep thinking about the connections between project-based learning (PBL) and personalized learning (PL). I am very passionate about these two pillars of instruction, and I'm doubly passionate about their intersection.

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Leaders  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

[PL Summit Series] Fostering Personalization through Leadership, Freehold Township Schools

"Preaching to the choir (or the converted - for secular appeal)!”  This phrase sums up the amazing experience of sharing our district’s story amongst a room full of skillful professionals working on the same mission in education.  It was exhilarating to learn as much as we were able to share, if not more, at Education Elements' Personalized Learning Summit in San Francisco.  

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PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts  |  yuma school district one

[PL Summit Series] Go Big or Go Home! Personalized Learning Summit Workshop, Yuma Elementary School District One

Michael Fullan describes the necessity of harnessing the power of “new pedagogical innovations with technology,” in his article, “Choosing the Wrong Drivers for Whole System Reform.” He continues by stating that the advances in digital content for educational purposes involve key elements needed for increased student achievement. These include, “engagement; entertainment; ease of access to information and data; group work; humanity; social relevance, and so on. In a word they make education easier and more absorbing. Learning and life become more seamless” (Fullan, May 2011).

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EdTech  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Post] An Ancient Vision, a Brilliant New Future: Upcoming Ed Tech Trends in Personalized Learning

In the year 1762, a Genevan philosopher named Jean-Jacques Rousseau presented the world with his vision of education. Despite being burned, banned, and ridiculed, this vision – a book Rousseau titled Emile, or On Education, went on to become a pillar of today’s modern philosophies on teaching and learning. The scope of Emile is vast, and it foretold of many developments that were yet to be realized.

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Middletown  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

[PL Summit Series] Strengthen Your Core Four: Videos and Exercises from Middletown, NY

For anyone who attended the Education Elements Personalized Learning Summit this May, you had a chance to attend a workshop focusing on the Core Four.  While districts across the country are using the Core Four of personalized learning to focus instructional habits as they make the shift to personalized learning, some of them are doing it with a bit more fidelity and spirit than others.  So we wanted to share with you some of the passion that went into the Core Four session at the Summit. Get ready for a blog post with a twist -- and read it with your best Insanity / ESPN voice…

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Classrooms  |  Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

Constant Learning and Creative Response: Charting the Course in Personalized Learning

At Education Elements we try to walk the walk of personalized learning. We strive to make our workshops interactive, upbeat, and fun. We create space for spirited large and small group discussion, and we honor time for quiet individual processing and reflection. We believe teachers should be designers of their classrooms. We want school teams to build connections at our workshops. We help districts visualize their personalized learning journey. We encourage singing, dancing, and selfie-brations. You may even find us in costume!

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

3 Ways to Rest and Relax During Summer

Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer and star of the award-winning broadway show “Hamilton” is a huge advocate for rest and relaxation. In an interview with Huffington Post Miranda says, “It’s no accident that the best idea I’ve ever had in my life - perhaps maybe the best one I’ll ever have in my life - came to me on vacation.” It was at a resort in Mexico

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Blended Learning  |  Curriculum  |  EdTech

[Guest Post] OER 101: Building the Future of Education Beyond Brick-and-Mortar

Back in my day, all schools were brick-and-mortar. Back in my grandfather’s day, they were brick-and-mortar with everyone in one classroom, regardless of grade level. Back in my grandfather’s grandfather’s day… well, who knows? The point is: Education is evolving and changing as it responds to the needs of students and the opportunities around us. With virtual schools, classes, and learning opportunities gaining popularity, it’s important to stay up to date on how to help these virtual educational experiences continue to be engaging and effective.

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Leaders  |  School Districts

How Can "Sprints" Help Schools and Districts?

Ah, the joy of grade-level meetings.  In my past life as a public school teacher, I attended them every Tuesday morning at 7:45 AM.  All the teachers on my team met to learn about new school and district mandates, plan field trips, and vent about challenging students and how to help them.  Even with the most well-intentioned teacher planning and running the meetings, rarely did they result in a list of clear actions with clear owners and clear deadlines.

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Blended Learning  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

WHY PERSONALIZED LEARNING IS IMPERATIVE

When I started writing Disrupting Class in 2006, I was stunned to learn that our school systems—not just in the United States, but throughout most of the world—were not built to optimize learning. They were built to standardize the way we teach and test and for sorting.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

[Guest Post] The Journey to Personalization: Two School Districts, Two Timely Questions

Each and every journey has its own route even if the final destination is the same. As a school district leader, I believe that learning is most effective when tied to the unique needs of every child. My experiences in two separate school districts lead me to think about how the journey to personalized learning may be different each time, while containing similar themes. For me, two big questions matter: How do we create a school system that effectively meets the needs of every child, and then second, how critical is increased local control for districts exploring the future of personalized learning? Let me explain.

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Classrooms  |  EdTech

[Guest Post] Train Students to Own Their Learning

 

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Blended Learning  |  Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Post] Make It Personal: A Teacher Lights the Way for His Students

Personalized learning came along at the perfect time in my life, like the deus ex machina in an M. Night Shyamalan film.  It all started, as these things often do, just when I was ready to slam closed for good my own cosmic “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.   Not long ago, I was reflecting on my visit to Marengo Cave and I couldn’t help but think that the experience of those first two kids, hesitantly making their way through that small, scary opening, was not unlike the experience that many of my students bring into my classroom day after day: entering the vast, unknown, terrifying darkness with nothing more than a birthday candle to light the way. And here I am holding a flashlight.

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Blended Learning  |  Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Post] Giving Up Control: A Teacher’s Perspective on the Personalized Learning Journey

  When I gave up control of my classroom, true learning started taking place.  Giving up control felt liberating and inspiring. I handed the baton of teaching to my students. I was no longer the focus of the lesson.  Student’s voices traveled through our classroom with excitement and engagement. I happily took the role of facilitating and the words of my students amazed me.  The more I put on the students the more they produced.  They took responsibility for themselves and began collaborating with me to create lessons, and design assessments that would demonstrate mastery of a standard.  Students started asking me what they could do either advance their learning or help in the classroom.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

The Future of Learning is Now

The Jaquelin Hume Foundation’s mission is to accelerate the implementation of high quality blended/personalized learning in America’s schools. Seventeen plus years ago when I joined the Foundation as its executive director, the mission was much different. It was geared to promoting school choice in all its forms mainly through grantees who advocated for it at the policy level. I was working in the trenches of the most confrontational aspect of education reform, trying to get laws passed to authorize vouchers, charter schools, tax-credits scholarships and education savings accounts. This occupied the first nine years of my career and led to mounting frustration with the incremental and glacially slow progress the reform movement was making. All the while, it was obvious to me that urgent measures had to be taken to radically transform the educational opportunities America’s children had as they entered the 21st century. Then in 2005, I had an epiphany. I had the opportunity to meet Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor who coined the term “disruptive innovation,” at the Education Commission of the States’ annual conference where he gave a keynote address. Professor Christensen was planning to apply the disruptive lens to social issues and education was his first priority. As he spoke, it became clear to me that the only way to have an impact on the K-12 education industry (a $650 billion business at last count) was to introduce the use of technology to improve its product and increase its productivity. It was unconscionable that the most important workers in America, our teachers, charged with preparing our children for the future were deprived of the many tools that every other worker was routinely adopting. In the next couple of years, I was informally involved with the writing of the book, mainly serving as a sounding board to one of its co-authors, Michael Horn. During that time, I was proselytizing for the introduction of technology as an integral part of the curriculum, a mantra that mostly fell on deaf ears. However, with the publication of “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns,” the conversations changed and the idea began to gain traction. The Hume Foundation was the first funder of Innosight Institute’s Education Practice, the think tank established by Clayton Christensen as well as Michael Horn to promulgate disruptive solutions to both education and health care challenges, and I became a founding board member. (Innosight Institute later changed its name to the Clayton Christensen Institute.) From 2009 to 2011, following the book’s publication, the Hume Foundation made grants to Rocketship in the Bay Area and Carpe Diem in Yuma, AZ, two charter schools that were already implementing blended learning, to promote their models. It also helped launch KIPP Empower Academy in Los Angeles whose blended design was Anthony Kim’s first project that led to the formation of Education Elements. At that time, the only schools we could find that were innovating as whole school models were charters. Our investments were small but in the 2011–2012 school year, the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation and the Charter School Growth Fund made combined grants in this space of some $40 million. So we were off and running. Although it was in charter schools that blended learning first took root, it turned out, counterintuitively since they were launched to be innovative, that they were not all that eager to get on the blended learning bandwagon. Because of that and because charter schools were experiencing enormous push-back from the education establishment, they did not seem to be the answer to the proliferation of blended schools and the Foundation decided to turn to the state of Rhode Island whose Education Commissioner, Deborah Gist, was very interested in exploring blended learning. In February 2012, Michael Horn and Anthony Kim working with the Rhode Island Department of Education invited a total of 300 district superintendents and teachers to a day-long meeting to introduce them to the concept of blended learning and to the enormous potential of integrating technology into the curriculum to help students learn and teachers teach. This event was pivotal for the Foundation’s strategic plan because it demonstrated that it was possible to partner with traditional public school districts and it led us to make similar seed investments in Washington, D.C. and Oakland, CA. The trustees regarded these as necessary proof-points to demonstrate that blended learning could be implemented and also improved the performance of students. All the while, our main emphasis was in the public policy area where we funded national organizations advocating for the necessary legislative and regulatory changes to create the environment in which blended learning could thrive. Prominent among those were the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Clayton Christensen Institute, the Foundation for Excellence in Education and iNACOL. In 2013, the Foundation made a major $5 million investment to start up The Learning Accelerator, a non-profit created to insure that the ecosystem was robust enough and effective enough to power the implementation of high quality blended learning at the classroom level. With the support of The Learning Accelerator, Education Super Highway launched the federally funded EdConnect initiative to bring adequate broadband to America’s classrooms, a fundamental requirement for technology empowered blended learning. The Hume Foundation continues to be laser focused on our mission. With the passage of the ESSA and the proliferation of competency-based learning models replacing the traditional seat-time ones, there is an exciting window of opportunity to line up the various elements that will make transforming our education system possible. Personalized learning is an idea whose time has come. The Foundation was an early supporter of Education Reimagined and I participated as one of 28 strange bedfellows in the production of its vision document. That document has become the North Star for the transformation of a 100-year old educational system which no longer serves America’s children. Among the other signatories of document are the two leaders of the NEA and AFT, evidence that there is a consensus for an entirely different approach to the learning experience. Along the same vein, L. Todd Rose, a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he teaches educational neuroscience, has just authored “The End of Average” where he explains the scientific, moral and philosophical underpinnings of personalized learning. This is a seminal book that challenges the core of the American education system and, together with all the good work that those of you in the trenches are doing every day, that will revolutionize the way our children learn.        

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Personalized Learning: Toward a Healthy Learning

As I was thinking about big mindset shifts, these advertisements caught my eye. The first one says “more scientists and educators smoke Kent”. The point here is that educated and smart people smoke this brand. The other advertisement says that there is “scientific evidence” that people who smoke Chesterfields saw “no adverse effects on the nose, throat and sinuses”.  Yes, scientific evidence that this brand is safe.

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Education Elements  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

2016 PL Summit Sparks New Friendships and Ideas

The room was suddenly, almost eerily, silent.  Dananjaya Hettiarachchi stood on the stage at our 2nd Annual Personalized Learning Summit and we all watched him, mesmerized.  We held our breaths for a few seconds while our fingers slowed down their constant tweeting.  And then, like the world champion public speaker he is, he made us burst out into laughter. I leaned forward, excited to hear more.  Finally, after months of planning, this was happening.  We had gathered some of the best and brightest personalized learning leaders all in the same room. The PL Summit was off to a roaring start.

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Leaders  |  School Districts

[GUEST POST] Why Good Professional Development Matters

“Spray & Pray,” “Sit & Get,” and “Drive-by”: these are some names commonly used by educators to describe professional development lasting less than forty hours. Generally, a school system will bring in a BIG NAME who has the “wow” factor and has good ideas but knows little-to-nothing about the climate in which he or she is speaking. Following the big performance, teachers have the “finally, we’re done” experience and meander back to their classrooms, where little--if anything--changes. In short, the high costs of the programs have little to no impact on developing teaching and learning.

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Education Elements  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

The Top Ten Reasons I Am Excited About The Personalized Learning Summit

It’s May in San Francisco - the fog is rolling in and the raincoats are back in the closet - and that means it’s time for our annual Personalized Learning Summit. Here at Education Elements, we’re working hard to make the Personalized Learning Summit a personalized experience for every single person who attends. If you’re joining us for the Summit this year, we think you’ll have an amazing experience. There will be enlightening keynote talks. More than 20 interactive and engaging workshops will let district leaders learn from and with their peers. Then there’s the party. And the list goes on. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the planning work for the Summit and have seen some of the incredible things we’re planning.  And along the way I’ve been compiling my list of the top ten reasons I am excited about attending the Personalized Learning Summit:

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Blended Learning  |  Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning  |  Teachers

A Teacher’s Perspective: What I Learned From Shadowing A High School Student

Victoria Fricke's Video Diary This March, I decided to participate in the Shadow a Student Challenge. The gist of the challenge is simple: enter the world of education through the eyes of a student in hopes of building empathy for students. When I saw the email explaining that the challenge was a month away, I quickly approached my department chair and principal with a proposal in hand stating why I wanted to participate. Lucky me, they said yes!

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Classrooms  |  Leaders  |  MSD Warren  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Indiana and the personalized learning DNA

Don’t worry too much - this is not about cloning! Actually it’s about totally the opposite - it’s about how personalized learning approaches are unique and how what personalized learning looks like depends on what the district is like….it depends on their own DNA. Two weeks ago, I got the opportunity to visit MSD Warren Township, in Indiana, during the Launch Academy for their second personalized learning cohort, lead by the Design and Implementation (D&I team) from Education Elements. It was an eye-opening experience.

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning  |  Teachers

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week - 5 Terrific Tributes to Teachers

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Being a teacher isn’t easy. The hours are long, the work is challenging, and sometimes the job can feel thankless. But teachers have an amazing impact, and if anybody deserves appreciation for the work they do, it’s teachers. At Education Elements, we have the privilege of working with exceptional teachers who strive to personalize learning for every student. Teachers inspire us all year round, but next week is a special opportunity for us to show how we feel. Tuesday, May 3rd is national Teacher Appreciation Day... but we prefer to take our cues from the NEA and the national PTA  by celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week!

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Classrooms  |  EdTech  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Post] Getting on the Same Page: The Value of Analytic Writing Rubrics

Writing—whether a persuasive essay, lab report, constructed response or research paper—is a consistent element of most performance tasks used by teachers to measure their students’ knowledge, understanding of concepts, and skills. The reasons are many, but perhaps the most important is that the very act of writing, which requires students to make sense of information and ideas and to express that understanding coherently, is itself a critical skill. And yet, despite its importance, there is little consensus among educators at any grade level on what constitutes effective writing, how it should be measured, or even how it should be taught. One step toward solving this conundrum is the consistent use of a general analytic writing rubric. 

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EdTech  |  Virtual Schools

Virtual School Chat Series Part 4 - 25 things that will make or break the success of your virtual school

It’s your goal to make your virtual school program successful. My goal is to help you identify the key factors that can make or break the success of that program. Here in part four of my virtual school blog series, I offer 25 things to consider for your virtual program’s success, grouped under 5 main categories: Strategy, Design, Curriculum, Support and Operations. For each item I’ve asked one key question. Work with your team to answer that question and you’ll be one step closer to a successful virtual school. (P.S. If this looks familiar, you are right. We’ve re-worked our well-received Personalized Learning Implementation Framework to focus on the needs of virtual schools. After all, why should the brick-and-mortar schools have all the fun?)

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Curriculum  |  EdTech  |  Personalized Learning

3 things to consider when selecting digital tools: an ASCD recap

Selecting the right digital content for your blended or personalized learning initiative can be a daunting task. With literally hundreds of digital tools available, how can school and district leaders successfully navigate the digital content landscape? In our presentation last week at ASCD in Atlanta, Jaraun Dennis*, Angela Chubb, and I set out to tackle this question in our presentation titled “How to Pick the Right Digital Content for Your Students.” According to Jaraun, schools and districts often struggle to select digital tools because they treat the selection process “...like a trip to the candy store. Teachers and administrators go to a conference, see rows and rows of shiny new digital tools, and make a purchase simply based on what they see.” Jaraun continues, “Using this approach, districts end up with lots of digital tools that sit on their shelves without being used and the blended or personalized initiative never reaches its full potential.”

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Education Elements  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

Make Personalized Learning Stick: Sunshine, Summit and Sparks of Inspiration

My bags are packed and I’m headed to the warm California sunshine for Education Elements Personalized Learning Summit in just over a month. It’s one of the highlights of my spring: the chance to engage with and get inspired by hundreds of personalized learning leaders from across the country!   This year we’re back and ready to deliver an event that will give you the latest and greatest resources to help make personalized learning stick no matter where you are in your journey.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

The Personalized Learning Mindset

I recently attended Carolina Blends, an event which brings together educators from the region to tour schools and learn from each other. After touring three schools with about 50 educators, I came to believe that before you go on a school tour, you need the “PL Mindset”. On the tours, I noticed a difference in the educators who already had a the PL Mindset. They understood that we were seeing one short snapshot of a classroom with the good, the bad and the ugly. They asked questions which helped them understand what happens in the classroom week after week. They asked how decisions about what happens in the classroom are made. They asked about how the school was different than before, and what changes they made year-over-year.

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Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

The 4 X 4 of Personalized Learning (Part 4)

Part Four: It’s easy to think of personalized learning as just a buzzword and have trouble imagining it working in public schools  But at Education Elements we know it’s actually both feasible and successful...and happening in school districts across the country. Over the past few months I have shared with you 4 promises, 4 facts and 4 approaches to personalized learning. For my last post in this series, I’d like to share 4 real-life examples of where and how personalized learning is happening.

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Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

How Will You Measure The Success Of Personalized Learning

  Many educators know Clayton Christensen for his work on Disrupting Class. Fewer may know his philosophical work, How Will You Measure Your Life? I first encountered his ideas in an essay published in The Harvard Business Review in 2010. This essay was the result of a conversation Christensen had with his business school students at the conclusion of every semester. “On that day, we used the thinking we’ve shared in the course for a powerful purpose-- to ensure they are successful not just in their careers, but in their lives as well.” Christensen asked his students not just how they will measure their professional or financial success, but how they would 1) ensure happiness in their career; 2) make relationships with family an enduring source of happiness; and 3) stay out of jail. These are powerful questions and ones you might not expect a business school professor to focus on. I was revisiting Christensen’s essay last weekend as I contemplated a question that I come back to almost every month. How we will measure the success of personalized learning?

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LELA  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

[Guest post] Announcing the Lexington Education Leadership Award (LELA) Fellowships Third Cohort

We are pleased to announce that applications are now open for the third class of Lexington Education Leadership Award (LELA) Fellows.  Applications are online here and will remain open through April 10th. The LELA fellowship remains the only national initiative designed specifically to support public school district leaders in whole-district personalized learning implementation.  Fellows from our first and second cohorts included twenty superintendents and assistant superintendents from twelve states, selected from over 100 applicants.

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Classrooms  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  Teachers

Sitting in their Seats: Reflections on the Shadow a Student Challenge

  This is not the blog post I intended to write.  When I heard about the Shadow a Student Challenge I was excited.  Last year I was among the many educators that read a teacher’s account of what it was like to be a student for a day and felt despair rather than hope, and I’m pretty sure by 3rd period despair was high on the emotion list of that teacher and all of her “classmates” as well.  So when this year’s Shadow a Student Challenge opportunity came along I went for it: I downloaded the packets, set up the day and got ready to see what it felt like to be a student again. 

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

Personalizing from the Perspective of Special Ed

   Special education teachers are experts at personalized learning. Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), small group instruction and flexible classroom design are among the many tricks that special education teachers use to meet their students' needs. Yet when we discuss personalized learning for mainstream students, we often forget that special education is a rich source of personalized learning best practice.

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EdTech  |  Virtual Schools

Virtual School Chat Series Part 3 - Getting Technology and Community Engagement Right Are the Best Things You Can Do for Your Virtual School

  The success of your virtual school may very well depend on how you implement technology and how well you engage your community. Technology is a critical part of your virtual school’s success. Depending on your school model, your virtual school may be entirely run online. It is perhaps obvious, then, that technology is a critical component, but the importance of people and community might be less clear. In our experience, both of these matter and can make a difference between a successful program and a good effort. Below we boil this discussion down to two components to consider for these areas of utmost importance.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

7 Step Diet Plan and Personalized Learning

I lost 50 lbs in one year following this diet plan, utilizing this personalized learning framework I developed. It works for diets, but it also works for learning. I didn’t know where to start with my diet. I’d never done one before. So I spent a lot of time reading everything I could about diets. I soon realized that there was too much information and there were no silver bullets. There were a lot of products that disguised themselves as silver bullets. Does this sound familiar for education?

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EdTech  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] Give Girls The Gift of Math And They'll Change The World

   I often hear frustration from students that “Math just isn’t for me!” This exclamation is even more troublesome when it comes from middle school girls, because young girls start off strong in math and science but lose interest and confidence as they get older. The Nation’s Report Card revealed in October 2015 that overall U.S. math scores declined for the first time in 25 years, signaling a need for change within the learning process.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] The Importance of Leadership in Personalized Learning

    As educators implement blended learning across the country to personalize learning and boost equity to better serve each of their students, the question of leadership looms large. People often wonder if the growth of blended learning is inevitable, as the theory of disruptive innovation suggests is the case, does leadership actually matter?

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Leaders

[Guest Blog Post] Re-Organizing School Districts Based on Self-Organization

 "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change." - Charles Darwin At the dawn of the 20th century, the 'command and control' management system, typified by industrial giants like GM, began to take shape.  When the premium was on maximizing compliance and conformity, this system thrived.

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Leaders  |  Middletown  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Sustaining Personalized Learning: Problems and Suggestions to Reverse the Trend of Education Failure in United States

  In an era in which many districts are considering making significant pedagogical shifts in their districts (such as the shift to personalized learning or other models of teaching and learning), the idea of how to make those shifts last longer than the tenure of a leader is more important than ever.  As the superintendent of the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, a district undertaking several big initiatives, I am keenly aware of the importance of making the work we are doing stick.

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EdTech  |  Education Elements

Digital Learning Day

    My first year of teaching I was in a room with around 20 computers and 40 students. While this may give away my age, this was in 1999, when computers in classrooms weren’t as much of a “thing” as they are today. 

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Put on Your Cowboy Boots, You’re Going on a Personalized Learning Field Trip

    Put on your cowboy boots, it's about to get personalized in Nashville, TN. After an inspirational tour of personalized learning hotspots in Music City, your friends at Education Elements have put together the ultimate PL day-trip. We hope the guide below helps you to decide where to go to see the  variety of strategies and approaches schools are taking on the journey toward personalized learning.

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CBE  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

6 Risks to Avoid When Implementing Personalized Learning: Part 2

    In our first post of this series, we reviewed the first three risks for districts that move to personalized learning: Risk #1: Lack of Clear Vision, Narrative, and Rationale Risk #2: Curricular and Instructional Misalignment Risk #3: Failure to Build Capacity at District and School Level

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning : What a District Needs to Know Before Starting [Tweetchat]

  Join us for an hour of Personalized Learning Tweetchat #PLchat moderated by Anthony Kim @anthonx Shifting to personalized learning doesn’t happen overnight. Transforming your district into a personalized learning environment is a big change for students, teachers, and administrators.

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EdTech  |  Virtual Schools

Virtual School Chat Series Part 2 - Your Virtual School’s Checklist for Vision and Strategies

   Everyone loves a checklist, but for a virtual school leader, there aren’t many to be found. So here is a short one: Know (and empathize with) who you are serving Identify your critical team members Develop your instructional model and school processes Calculate your costs Clearly this “30,000 feet” list isn’t all encompassing, but it should serve as a foundation to getting things rolling.

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CBE  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

6 risks to avoid when implementing personalized learning: Part 1

    The Education Elements team has the great privilege of working with districts across the country to plan, design, and implement personalized learning. Without fail, one of the first questions district leadership teams ask us is, “What have other districts done that we should avoid?”

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CBE  |  Classrooms  |  Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

The Core 4 of Personalized Learning

In some ways, creating a successful personalized learning classroom is similar to winning a basketball game. To give us direction, my high school basketball coach consistently focused on three key areas, which he called the Big Three:

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EdTech  |  Personalized Learning

Education Elements Integrations - Simple, Scalable, Successful!

  We spend a lot of time on our blog talking about personalized learning and how we work with districts and schools to create new, student-centered learning environments.  And while much of this work is focused on systems-level change and shifts in teaching practice, an absolutely critical component (in fact, it’s one of our Core Four) is the use of digital content in the classroom.  

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EdTech  |  Virtual Schools

Virtual Schools Chat Series Part 1 - Why Is Running A Virtual School So Hard?

    Running a virtual school is hard. I like new beginnings. They bring hope and excitement for the future, the good things that are yet to come. Great beginnings start with a vision for what can better in the future, and by looking back at the past.  So as I think about the future of virtual schools, I want to start with, and respond to, some of the negative comments about virtual schools that surfaced in 2015. One report from CREDO stated, “Attending a virtual school is literally as if the kid did not go to school for an entire school year.”

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Five Predictions for Personalized Learning in 2016

  My predictions over the last few years have come true. It has been demonstrated that any classroom can implement blended learning and, when done well, get superior results. Personalized learning is now part of an increasing number of district and school strategic plans. Organizations like XQ Super School Project and the newly formed Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are continuing to push everyone’s interest in personalized learning.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

From track to field: how personalized learning changes more than the player

 Personalized learning received some hot press in the last month. First, in an open letter to their newborn daughter, Max, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan shared their hopes for personalized learning. To make good on their intentions, they've announced that they will donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock, currently valued at $45 billion, of which a portion will support personalized learning efforts.

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

My Holiday Wishlist - It’s Personal

Last year I wrote a blog post about what I wanted for the holidays too (seems I get assigned this one every year!) and came up with the one big thing I wanted - for every student, every day, to feel like the people who educate them, get them.  It was a big wish and one for all students, everywhere.  But this year my wish is much more narrowly focused.  In fact, rather than being about every kid, it’s about one...in fact, it’s about mine. As I write this Ella is sleeping in bed upstairs, dreaming the dreams of a four and three-quarter year old which I think are a mix of unicorns, soccer, fairies, and ice cream.  She is still in preschool now and loves going to school.  She spends a lot of her day coloring and doing projects.  She also practices letters (still writes many of them backwards) and numbers.  But in less than a year her whole little world will get rocked when she goes from being a big kid in her small preschool to a little kid in her big(ger) elementary school.  So my holiday wish is for her to start “real” school and to keep loving learning not just next year, but every year that follows.   My hope is next year Ella has an amazing teacher.  So, if by chance Ella’s future teacher is reading this post, I will tell you what I am looking for so you can fulfill my holiday wish. I hope you will take the time to get to know Ella.  I want you to know what makes her laugh and what makes her sad.  I want you to know that family is the most important thing to her followed by chocolate, Pirate’s Booty and My Little Pony, in no particular order.  I hope when I ask you how she is doing you can tell me things like who she is playing with and if she is still mixing up her bs and ds. I hope you will lead her, but also let her have some control.  I do not want her education to be something she just takes in, I want her to have to give some too.  I want her to develop a thirst for learning and get excited about discovery.  I want her to learn what she needs to learn (and you know more than I what a kindergartner should be able to do) but also have some voice in what she learns.  I want her to understand why she is learning it, and get to make some choices about what she is learning or how she is learning it. And speaking of how she learns, I want her to get to learn at her own pace, not the pace of her neighbors.  When Ella runs she runs fast -- I see her winning races on the playground all the time.  But when she learns?  I don’t know.  Maybe some ideas will take her longer than others, while other ideas she will learn quicker than her peers.  I don’t want her to be rushed or held back.  I want Ella to know its ok to not learn the same way, or at the same time, as everyone else.  I want her to love learning and not look at it like she does races - where when she is not ahead she is so sad to be behind. I want Ella to be excited to see you and her classmates every day.  I want her to look forward to reading as much as she does to science or math.  I want school to be just as good as stay-at-home days (what she calls weekends).  I want day one to set her up for 2339 more amazing days of her K-12 education.  And so much of that depends on you, her kindergarten teacher. So yes, I want for Ella next year what I want for every students all the time.  Teachers who care about each and every student, learning that is personalized, a school experience that sets them up for a lifetime of loving to learn.  And even though this is the opposite of instant gratification, I am willing to have this be the one big thing on my holiday list this December, if it means Ella’s first August in school will be all that I hope it can be.  

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Blended Learning  |  CBE  |  Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

The 4 X 4 of Personalized Learning (Part 3)

True personalized learning is really dynamically tailored to the individual, which means that you’d be hard pressed to find two places where personalized learning looks exactly the same. As much as personalized learning is tailored to each student’s needs, personalized learning is also tailored to each classroom, each school and each district. No district has the exact same needs and goals as other districts. The population of students is different from one school to another. Resources, teachers, environments, etc. are all different, and personalized learning needs to meet all these elements together.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

IT's Time to Revolutionize the School District

  No gymnasiums, no cafeterias and no administrators. That’s school policy at AltSchools, a chain of private, for-profit schools backed by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Mark Zuckerberg. At the location I visited, the school schedule was written on a white board and could be changed in real time. Students flowed between grade levels and classes based upon what they wanted and needed from teachers.

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Classrooms  |  MSD Warren  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Tweeting Our Way to Collaboration and Personalization

Go to twitter and search #warrenbl. Go ahead, do it. What do you see? We see evidence of an amazing effort by school and district leaders to share learnings, ask questions, and build excitement about blended and personalized learning.

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts  |  Uinta County School District  |  yuma school district one

Student Agency Is What Counts

 

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

What We Are Thankful For….

 

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Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

The Results Are In, And This Time It's Personal: Promising Evidence On Personalized Learning

 

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning  |  iNACOL

Inspiration and Exhaustion: Highlights from the iNACOL 2015 Blended and Online Learning Symposium

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Blended Learning  |  Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] You Gotta Blend!

  The idea of “blended learning” first entered my consciousness about a year ago, when my principal informed our staff that we would be moving to this model the following school year.  All I really gathered at that time was that blended learning somehow involved personalized learning and technology (possibly even robots!).

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Fulton School District  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Clear Signals… And Other Lessons From a Season of Personalized Learning at Fulton county!

Wow! The Royals won the World Series and baseball fans everyone are still recovering from the dramatic 12-inning game that capped off a wild and wonderful season.  

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Blended Learning  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] How can training a golfer help us understand how blended learning can close the achievement gap?

Rearing a competitive golfer is an incredibly difficult challenge—especially for families of average income. Most golfers who compete at the highest levels belong to private country clubs and have swing coaches, performance coaches (mental side of the game), and personal fitness trainers. They also have professional caddies who travel with their players all over the country and world. And this begins at around the age of 6!

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LELA  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

This is just the beginning of the journey…

LELA fellows met with Richard Culatta at the US Department of Education in Washington DC Last week on October 14, the first cohort of the Lexington Education Leadership Awards (LELA Fellowship) met in Washington D.C for a final celebration and showcase. Each of the ten superintendents and assistant superintendents had to give a pitch on their vision for personalized learning in their district, visited a school, met with the US Department of Education, and spent time learning from us and each other. It was a day of sharing strategies from across the country, building lasting relationships, and developing next steps to realize the vision.

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

District Personalized Learning Bingo

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LELA  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Lexington Institute Announces 27 Finalists for the Second Cohort of Personalized Learning LELA Fellows

The personalized learning vision capture of the Juab School District (UT) whose Superintendent, Rick Robins, from the inaugural LELA fellowship, by the Graphic Recording Artist Sophia Liang.   The Lexington Institute has selected 27 outstanding district leaders from across the country as finalists for the second cohort of the Lexington Education Leadership Award. Each is a pioneer in the space, ready to do even more to support students and teachers in personalized learning.

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

On Storytelling with Data and the Power of Personalized Learning

I’m a self-described data nerd. I love to uncover the stories that numbers can tell us and I’m always learning new skills for data analysis so that I can become a better data storyteller. Formally, my role at Education Elements is “Academic Impact Manager,” but really, you can think of me as the person who gets to spend her time using data to tell the story of personalized learning (and who loves doing this!).

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EdTech  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] 7 Lessons About Personalized Learning From Top Tweets

A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted a simple enough question to Fishtree’s thousands of followers:

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

The 4 X 4 of Personalized Learning - Part 2

  A few weeks ago I blogged about the things that get me so excited about the potential of personalized learning and shared with you four promises of personalized learning:

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Personalized Learning  |  Personalized Learning and the world of work

BYOT SERIES: PERSONALIZED LEARNING AND THE WORLD OF WORK #10

BEING A DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATE Personalized learning is a new and growing galaxy at the edge of the education universe. In my opinion, Education Elements is at the center of that galaxy, acting as a thought leader in a nebulous, evolving field.

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

Why We Should Let Students Choose When To Color And Other Ways To Nurture Self-Directed Learners

 

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Blended Learning  |  Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

Observing and Evaluating Blended Learning: One District’s Classroom Walkthrough Tool

Some of the most common questions we get, from superintendents to teachers, are, “How do I know if blended learning is working? Am I doing it right?” Good questions. And the answer is not, “Let’s wait 6 months to see how students do on a high stakes test.” To have a culture based on continuous improvement we also need to continuously measure and course correct.  And we need to do so in a way that is not focused on evaluation, but instead focused on development. Enter a walkthrough tool.

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Personalized Learning  |  Personalized Learning and the world of work

BYOT SERIES: PERSONALIZED LEARNING AND THE WORLD OF WORK #9

BEING A PARTNER INTEGRATION MANAGER  

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Classrooms  |  Personalized Learning

What To Do Without English: Personalized Learning for ELLs

 

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EdTech  |  Personalized Learning

Highlight, our personalized learning platform

  Personalized Learning is coming to life in innovative classrooms across the country and Highlight is here to help. Whether you need easy access to digital content, a more efficient way to analyze student data or a district wide perspective on content usage, Highlight can help.  

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Classrooms  |  Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

BYOT SERIES: PERSONALIZED LEARNING AND THE WORLD OF WORK #8

BEING A CLIENT SERVICES TEAM MANAGER  

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Classrooms

Back to School: Once upon a Classroom

“Who was your favorite teacher?”

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Classrooms  |  Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

BYOT SERIES: PERSONALIZED LEARNING AND THE WORLD OF WORK #7

BEING A FREQUENT FLYER  

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Blended Learning  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts  |  Uinta County School District

Innovation Requires Structure

 

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Classrooms  |  Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

BYOT SERIES: PERSONALIZED LEARNING & THE WORLD OF WORK #6

BEING A WEB DEVELOPER

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Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

The Self-Aware Educator -- Developing systems for the educator’s mind

 

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Blended Learning  |  Classrooms  |  Curriculum  |  Personalized Learning

Blended Learning Designs across the US--an Education Elements Perspective

 

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Blended Learning  |  CBE  |  Horry County Schools  |  Middletown  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts  |  Uinta County School District  |  yuma school district one

The 4 X 4 of Personalized Learning - Part 1

 Today nearly any time that you are online you are constantly provided with personalized content: music, shopping, dating services, entertainments, etc. You constantly receive content and information that are relevant to your needs and interests. And this personalization remains true even in your everyday life, away from screens: At the gym, your activities are personalized, through dashboards, data and even trainers. At the mall, if you can afford it, you can get your personal shopper; at work, you may be personalizing strategies and communications to your clients. Education doesn’t have to be an exception. 

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Classrooms  |  Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

BYOT SERIES: PERSONALIZED LEARNING & THE WORLD OF WORK #5

BEING A PEOPLE AND CULTURE MANAGER

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LELA  |  Leaders  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] Applications Open Now for Lexington Education Leadership Fellowships – Second Cohort

 

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Blended Learning  |  Leaders  |  Personalized Learning  |  School Districts

Sorry, Jessie J, It Is About The Money: A Guide on Paying for Personalized Learning

It’s happened to all of us. We have a great idea. We google it and learn more. Our excitement grows. We see pictures online, we watch videos and we decide, YES!, I want to do that! We run and tell someone and then that person stops us in our tracks.  All they say is, “How are you going to pay for it?” and poof! we deflate. We think, “Right. How are we going to pay for it,” and trudge back to our desks. Less enthusiastically googling this time things like “how to pay for….”

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

BYOT SERIES: PERSONALIZED LEARNING & THE WORLD OF WORK #4

BEING A MOM

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Classrooms  |  EdTech  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] Surfing, Personalized Learning & Growth Mindset

I have always been fascinated by water sports - waterskiing, sailing, and even synchronized swimming. Recently my attention has been drawn to SUPs – Stand Up Paddleboards. This surfboard-like watercraft requires a steady balance and the ability to stand up on board. I wasn’t sure I had that agility anymore but I sure wanted to try one.  I mentioned my fascination to my husband, who as it turns out has a friend who has one.  His friend invited us over for me to try it out. 

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Blog Feature

Leaders  |  Personalized Learning

Superintendents share their stories

  Across the country there are school districts considering personalized learning. They are pondering questions like: What do I need to do first?  How can I support my teachers?  What digital content should I use? How do I change the hearts and minds of the people in my district?  and How do I do this at scale?

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Education Elements  |  Personalized Learning

BYOT SERIES: PERSONALIZED LEARNING & THE WORLD OF WORK #3

BEING A DESIGN & IMPLEMENTATION CONSULTANT

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LELA  |  Leaders  |  PL Summit  |  Personalized Learning

[Guest Blog Post] Personalized Learning in Freehold Township: Reflections on Being a LELA Fellow

  Over the past few months Education Elements has had the pleasure of partnering with the Lexington Institute to provide support to its first class of Lexington Education Leadership Award fellows.   As part of this support, we have been working with the ten district leaders selected to support the development of their personalized learning vision and helping them to take the next steps towards implementation. Lexington Institute just announced applications are open for a second round of fellows and we can't wait to see who gets selected as one of ten for this next round.

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