Friday, August 31, 2012

Infographic: Personalization vs Individualization vs Differentiation

When learning is personal, teaching and learning changes. Teachers' and learners' roles change. Last January, we created a chart comparing Personalization vs Individualization vs Differentiation and a report that explained the difference between these three terms including teacher-centered vs. learner-centered approaches. This chart has been downloaded tens of thousands of times from all over the world and prompted discussions around some of these questions:
  • What does personalized or personal learning mean to you? 
  • How do you see teachers' and learners' roles changing?
  • How does a school or district know they are Ready to Transform learning?
  • What is Assessment AS Learning
  • Can personalization help close the achievement gap?
  • Where are the conversations, models, and examples of personalizing learning?  

These questions were part of an interview from Patricia Gomes, a reporter from Porvir in Brazil who wrote an article August 12, 2012 about the chart and resulted in an article and infographic in Portuguese. It is very exciting to see your work in Portuguese and see the value of an infographic that describes in a visual way the three approaches to teaching and learning. Here's our interpretation for you:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Connected Learner in a PLE

We are all learners. We are connected to each other and innovative learning experiences that we never thought were possible before. It doesn't matter how old you are, where you live, and what you want to learn, you can connect to people, resources, and courses so you, the learner, can learn what you want when you want to. This means what we call "school" is different. Teachers and learners are different. Roles change. This is a huge culture shift. 

The information from our chart Personalization vs Differentiation vs Individualization chart is about being a Connected Learner in a Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

  • starts with the learner
  • connects with interests, passions, and aspirations
  • learners actively participate in the design of their learning
  • learners have a voice and choice on what they learn
  • different objectives for each learner
  • learner selects appropriate technology and resources to support their learning
  • learners build a network of peers, teachers, and others to guide and support their learning
  • competency-based models where the learner demonstrates mastery
  • assessment AS learning
  • teachers develop capacity to create independent learners who set goals, monitor progress, and reflect on learning

So what does it mean to be a Connected Learner in a PLE? We are more networked now at a younger age than we have ever been before.  [Graphs from Common Sense Media]

Even though the numbers of younger children using technology is growing, most of the use is around games and play. There's nothing wrong with that because we do learn from play. The idea is not to just be a Connected Learner, but an Engaged Learner. Younger children may be engaged in play using these tools but they don't necessarily support understanding or make any kind of meaning out of what they are doing. When kids are playing, they are in the discovery mode and there is little or no self-regulation happening. Children need to develop a set of cognitive skills so they can think deeper about their learning.

“We are seeing a growing gap between in-school and out-of-school learning as more and more of young people’s learning, attention, and access to information is happening outside of classrooms and through online networks and exchanges,” said Mimi Ito, cultural anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine, who specializes in youth and technology, is one of the principal investigators in the new Connected Learning Research Network, funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative. “That’s the disturbing news. The good news is that new technology also hands us opportunities for bringing young people, educators, and parents together in cross-generational learning driven by shared interests and goals.”

“Connected learning represents a path forward,” Connie Yowell, Director of Education for U.S. programs for the MacArthur Foundation said. “It’s learning that is socially rich and interest-fueled -- in other words, it’s based on the kind of learning that decades of research shows is the most powerful, most effective. And connected learning is oriented towards cultivating educational and economic opportunity for all young people.” [New models of Connected Learning]

At the core of Connected Learning are three Values:
  • Equity
  • Full Participation
  • Social connection
These values are based on the three Learning Principles:
  • Interest-powered
  • Peer-supported 
  • Academically oriented
Connected Learning builds on the three Design Principles:
  • Shared purpose
  • Production-centered
  • Openly networked

This infographic illustrates this new model of Connected Learning:

The video below provides a clear explanation about being aware that when we start with outcomes we are starting with the wrong questions. We need to start with the learners so they have the experiences they want to have, that they are engaged and motivated so they want to learn, and want to learn how to learn.

The Essence of Connected Learning from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.

As proponents for the use of technology, we also realize that the noise from myriad digital distractions threatens the cognitive complexity of learning. Learners need to have the skills to know how to self-regulate the use of these tools.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Student Voice: Freedom to Choose a Learning Path

Personalized learning has been discussed, analyzed and debated among educators from every perspective.  In most cases, we agree that student voice and choice is a key ingredient in creating personalized learning environments. Last spring, a senior from Kettle Moraine School District was invited to be a guest blogger on The Institute @ CESA #1 blog to share her thoughts about personalized learning.  Gillian Locke, a senior at KM Global Charter School, shared her perspective on the advantages she had in participating in a personalized learning environment and in owning her learning.  Here are just a few excerpts from that insightful blog.

"Unlike most seniors in high school, I have the freedom to choose what I want to do when I wake up each morning.  I am not limited to an 8 hour bell schedule like my peers, nor does my learning stop when I drive off the high school parking lot at 2:30 pm."

She makes a point on what happens when you are in control of your own learning.

"I’ve noticed too that when I’m enjoying my learning, I learn better. What I learn in a day is more etched into my mind than what it might’ve been had I been learning in a generic format in the traditional high school. It’s also easier to make personal connections to what you learn, when you’re the one in control of learning it, and we all know that personally connecting to what you’re learning cements it more in your mind, and gives you a better understanding of it."

 Her final thoughts provide optimism for the future of education.

"Every student is different, and each one needs different things. Every school in the US has the potential to deliver personalized learning to each of its students-it will just take some creativity, some time, and some dedicated students, administrators, and teachers."

Thank you Gillian for giving a student voice to personalized learning.

Read Gillian's complete blog post, "Personalized Learning:  A Student's Perspective".

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ready to Transform Teaching and Learning?

How do you know if your school or district is ready to personalize learning?

We created a pre-assessment that administrators can take to determine their schools' readiness to transform teaching and learning. For a limited time, we are offering our pre-assessment for FREE along with a FREE report and a FREE 30 minute virtual consultation. Contact us to sign up. Why are we doing this?
Because we believe in teachers and how they make a difference, understand how learners learn, want to make change happen and can provide direction to schools and districts that want to prepare every learner for their future so they are college or career-ready. 

This is a crucial time in education as we align curriculum to the Common Core State Standards, our first national standards. Teaching and learning is changing right before our eyes. Technology is changing how, when and where we teach and learn. If your district is considering applying for the Race to the Top - District (RTT-D) competition, the report we offer can help you with your proposal.

This pre-assessment involves very little of your time. What you receive in return is a report that provides you an overview and visual representation of where your school or district is currently and the first steps to take to transform teaching and learning.

Some of the questions we ask in the pre-assessment are about your current learning environment, pedagogy, teaching practices, professional development, learners, school culture and the technology you currently have. This pre-assessment reflects the chart on the Stages of Personalized Learning.

The informative and personalized report that we create for you will present your results in a visual format that you can use to determine your next steps. We look forward to talking to you about your journey toward personalizing learning.