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Fresno Professionals Shifting Practices Towards Personalized Learning
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By: Tom Vander Ark on June 4th, 2018

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Fresno Professionals Shifting Practices Towards Personalized Learning

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Fresno is a city of a half a million people (twice that in the metro area) in the middle of California's central valley. It's a diverse city with large Hispanic and Hmong populations.

The Fresno Unified School District (@fresnounified) serves 75,000 students, of which almost nine in ten live in or near poverty, in about 100 schools.


Fresno has a well developed Personalized Learning Initiative (PLI, #FresnoPLI) developed by CTO Kurt Madden and Philip Neufeld, Executive Director of IT (featured image in front of the CART career center) in conjunction with the curriculum and instruction unit.

The PLI goal is greater personalized, competency-based learning at and beyond the classroom. The initiative advances student-centered learning focused on #AsYetImagined futures with competencies, content mastery and agency. Neufeld said, "If the shift to digital changes student readiness then so should our models for student preparation." PLI pedagogy is about high-quality instruction with the intentional use of technology, effective use of collaboration while honoring and activating student voice. 

This article originally appeared on Edweek. Access the whole article here.

About Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World, Smart Cities That Work for Everyone: 7 Keys to Education & Employment and Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning. He is CEO of Getting Smart, an education consulting firm and leading advocate for innovations in learning. Tom has been studying the future of work and the implications of artificial intelligence. He published his finding in a new paper: Ask About AI: The Future of Learning and Work. His upcoming book (Wiley, 2018) advises educators to work together in networks to improve personalized and project-based learning. Tom is a director of 4.0 Schools, Charter Board Partners, Digital Learning Institute, eduInnovation, and Imagination Foundation, and advises numerous nonprofits.

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