Education Elements May 2017 Newsletter
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May 2017 Newsletter

On Our Minds

Power up for Personalized Learning at the #PLSummit

Hard to believe it but our 3rd annual PL Summit is just a week and a day away. We are all busy preparing for tours and sessions, practicing our dance moves for the Lip Sync Battle and getting fired up to see old friends and meet new ones. We doubled the size of the event from last year and with room for 500, we still have a waitlist that stands at over 125 people. Guess we might need a bigger venue next year! If you are heading to SF, we can’t wait to see you. And for those who can’t come, don’t miss a thing: follow the event live on twitter using #PLSummit, and Power Up with our PL Summit anthem.


Curriculum Selection is Critical

Developing a curriculum strategy is complex, however, in our newly published white paper series Selecting Curriculum to Support Personalized Learning - Part 1 we lay out the essential first steps in the process. You will learn to develop a coherent vision, map it to your curriculum goals and avoid mistakes. Mike Wolking, Senior Strategist and Ashley Paschal, Design Principal will walk you through the process and offer real-world examples of success.

Two Times a Charm

We could not be more excited to head to the Valley of the Sun where the future of PL is bright! We are thrilled to announce our work in Peoria Unified School District in Glendale, Arizona where we will have the opportunity to work closely with Superintendent Darwin Stiffler for the second time (you might remember him from our work in Yuma)!  We look forward to kicking off our work in May by engaging with leaders and innovators to set the vision for our work.

Design Spotlight 

Designing for Me

As districts embark on their personalized learning journey, there is no doubt that they do so with their students’ best interest in mind. They seek a way to meet each of their students’ unique needs and provide them with support and tools necessary to continue to grow at their own pace. Early on, district leaders and teachers can see the benefits of personalizing their classroom experiences. We often see a rapid shift from "Why personalized learning?" to "How do I implement personalized learning?"

In March, our team took off to Alaska to help educators at Fairbanks North Star Borough School District begin to answer this exact question. Teams from the 19 elementary schools in three cohorts attended a design workshop during which each participant engaged in an empathy activity to uncover their students’ true experience at school. After stepping into their students’ shoes and answering the questions, “What works for me at school?” and “What is challenging?” each teacher then designed an instructional model that would draw on student strengths and address challenges.

This session resulted in over 50 different instructional models, which makes sense given the diverse needs of students across the district. After building knowledge around three base models for blended learning, teachers pieced together components that worked for their own classroom. As a follow up to this session, our team conducted careful analyses of each of these teacher-created models. We found different variations of station rotation, flex, and flipped models that also included co-teaching formats. The product of this session was as diverse as the classrooms for which teachers are redesigning.

A few weeks later, we held design review calls with representatives from the school PL teams. We presented a bank of instructional models and discussed challenges and next steps for each school. Each school faced a different challenge, putting greater emphasis on the need for teachers to design for their own unique needs, in order to personalize learning for their students.

How might you look at your needs and those of your students and then begin to design instructional solutions to meet them?

Want to see how we did it? Check out the session agenda here!

Recent Blog Posts 

BYOT (Bring Your Own Thoughts)!

Check out these recent posts from our blog, BYOT:

Guide to Selecting Curriculum to Support Personalized Learning -
A White Paper Series
Download Part 1: Align Curriculum Goals
with Personalized Learnng Vision

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16 districts and 2 BOCES across
New York are making the shift to personalized learning. Learn about their impact, successes, and challenges.

Personalized Learning in New York

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