As the saying goes, change is hard. This is especially true for leaders introducing personalized learning into their organizations. I often have a front-row seat to the resulting backlash and chaos that stems from leaders as they help their districts make shifts toward personalizing learning for students. Frequently, there are patterns that I see across districts: teachers facing initiative fatigue, questions about why, how, and what, and concerned parents. Although the specific challenges that each district faces may differ, one lesson is clear: how personalized learning is introduced into a community matters.
As we prepare to transition to 2018, it’s a great time to take a step back, reflect on the year, and express our sincere gratitude. This year has been a meaningful one for Education Elements; we have expanded our reach, developed new offerings, and, most importantly, learned so much from working alongside passionate educators and students. Here are some highlights:
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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:
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.”
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: