INNOpod #3: Genius Hour with Nicholas Provenzano

genius-hour-project-ideas

The subject of Personalized Learning is central to the work of The Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL). CIL has provided a wide variety of resources on this topic, and its staff have for some time now been thinking about, writing about, and practicing Personalized Learning. The emergence of educational technology–from apps to devices to assessments to digital portfolios–is rapidly expanding the possibilities for children and their learning. These are exciting times but they can also be overwhelming times. The intersection of technology and interpersonal relationships–student to teacher, student to student, student to parent–is a fine mingling, not an exchange. We consider it our job to help you figure it out.

This INNOpod, Genius Hour, introduces just a slice of the work that is occurring in partnership between the Center on Innovations in Learning, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center. Michigan has made the provision of greater personalization for student learning a priority in its state and has established state-level expectations, structures, and services to support its districts and schools in making it a reality for every Michigan student. We are excited to build upon this important work and share it with educators throughout the country who are also in pursuit of greater personalization for their students’ learning. We would like to thank Nicholas Provenzano, a high school English teacher at Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Point, Michigan, for lending his time and expertise to this project.

1. Introduction

If you haven’t already, be sure to review INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning. There, you will begin to connect so much of what you already do as an educator to the emerging and expanding practice of making learning personal for every child.

You will also want to download these three documents to process the information included in this INNOpod and plan for your next steps:

  1. These Reflection + Idea Pages correspond to the segments included in this INNOpodThe purpose of these pages is to help you to process your thinking and learning so that the planning and action is a natural next step.
  2. This Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice Checklist will make it easy for you to identify those Indicators you observe in action throughout this INNOpod. We will provide it in both Word and PDF so that you can adapt and adjust it to meet the needs of your state, school, classroom, teachers, and students.
  3. This  Next Steps and Planning Guide will help you to move from processing to planning and action.

Please take a moment to complete the first activity on the Reflection + Idea Pages before moving on.

2. INNOpod OUTCOMES

We’ve provided trusted, reliable, and informative content that will:

  1. Help you understand the research behind personalized learning with straightforward, plain language.
  2. Give you specific practices (and the supporting research) that will get you on your way to making learning more personal for your students.
  3. Show you what you’re already doing that is pretty personalized but also point out where there is opportunity to get even better.
  4. Provide you with video examples of teachers and their SPECIFIC practices for personalizing learning.
  5. Stockpile your resource library with high-quality, Center on Innovations in Learning-approved articles, research, and action steps related to the practice.
  6. Connect the practices with specific how-I-did-it insights directly FROM YOUR COLLEAGUES who are doing it.
  7. Finally, show you where people are sharing about it on social media {if you’re curious} and show you how to join in the conversation {if you’re interested}.

3. The Framework for Understanding Personalized Learning + the Vocabulary to Talk About It, Plan For It, Implement It, and Assess It

We first introduced these indicators of effective practice in INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning and INNOpod #2: Flipped Classroom. But they are worth reintroducing. These Personalized Learning Effective Practices and Indicators, developed and published by the Center on Innovations in Learning, provide you with an important framework for organizing your understanding of personalized learning and also your practice of it. We’ve converted them into a checklist for ease of documenting what you observe throughout this INNOpod and in your own schools and classrooms.

Spend a few minutes reviewing them and then pay attention to their application throughout this in-depth focus on one teacher’s use of the Genius Hour to make learning more personal for her students.

4. What Is A Genius Hour (Or 20% Time, or Passion Project)?

Genius Hour is categorized under the umbrella of blended learning.

From Wikipedia:

Blended learning is an educational program (formal or informal)  that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.

GENIUS HOUR is also sometimes referred to as 20-Time or Passion Project. It originated from innovative companies, like Google, where employees are given 20 percent of their time at work to conduct research and pursue projects of their own interest. You may have heard of Gmail or Google News…well, they are all products of Genius Hour. Seeing the potential for making learning personal for children, this system is now used in many classrooms to allow students to explore their interests and investigate their burning questions.

Every educator who successfully uses Genius Hour will tell you that it is not enough to just allot the time. In conducting my own research on this topic, here are some of the elements that successful Genius Hour systems have in common:

  • Inquiry: students formulate a question that drives their work
  • Research: students organize and plan for how to go about answering their question and gathering information about their topic from multiple angles from trusted and varied sources
  • Prototyping: students develop an outline, plan, or blueprint for the product they will create or the process they will demonstrate related to their question and the information they gathered
  • Creating: students build, write, or develop a product that demonstrates their learning
  • Presenting: students present their findings and/or their product to others

Watch this brief video that describes Genius Hour.

We’ve curated more research and additional resources that you will find further down in the INNOpod but we don’t want to wait another minute to introduce you to Nicholas Provenzano, a high school English teacher at Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Point, Michigan. You do not need to be a teacher to be informed and inspired by what Nicholas shares with us here. If you are a human being with an interest or a question or a passion, get ready–because Nicholas is going to inspire you to get after it and give you some practical tips on how to make time for it.

grosse-pointe-south-high-schooljpg-bb31f1730506efb5

About Nicholas: In 2014, Nicholas was interviewed by CNN about his use of Genius Hour and what it meant for the kind of teaching he had always done. You can access that article here: Genius Hour: What Kids Can Learn From Failure.  

Nicholas has created a very complete webinar that will show you exactly how he plans for, implements, and assesses the Genius Hour system in his classroom. We’ve also conducted an in-depth interview with Nicholas, which you can listen to or read further down in the INNOpod. You can also check out his latest book: Your Starter Guide to Makerspaces.

Once again, this Personalized Learning Indicators Checklist will help you to keep track of the indicators as you observe them throughout Nicholas’s presentation—both as it relates to his instruction and especially to his students’ learning.

There is also plenty of blank space in your Reflection + Idea Tool for more general note-taking as well.

5. How Nicholas Provenzano Began to Solve Every Teacher’s Challenge, One Day At A Time 

Nicholas Provenzano was contemplating student engagement on a summer break, specifically how to get his students more involved and invested in their learning. So he started by looking at the numbers: implementing Genius Hour would require 20 percent of his weekly allotted instructional time. Find out what he did next.

Warning: After listening to this INNOpodcast, you will be both inspired and equipped with concrete steps to get started with Genius Hour in your classroom. Congratulations, it will be AMAZING!

To listen to our conversation, click on the SoundCloud recording below. More of a visual learner?  Read the conversation here: INNOpodcast: Nicholas Provenzano on Using Genius Hour In the Classroom

In this Episode:

  • Xxx: Nicholas describes Genius Hour in his own words and gives a quick overview of its early beginnings in the business world and how it can be adapted to students and schools at all levels.
  • xxx. Listen to Nicholas describe the simple and methodical approach he used to figure out how to make room for Genius Hour in his curriculum. “It’s been magic ever since…”
  • Xxx: Nicholas gets very specific about the needs he was looking to address with Genius Hour and what his classroom looks, sounds, and feels like now (teaser: he can’t imagine it any other way).
  • 10:20: a review of the before and after of high school English with Mr. Provenzano
  • xxx: Nicholas dishes on the feedback he received from parents, teachers, and students, the changes he has observed in student learning, and how he handles his own failures.
  • Xxx: Nicholas shares his mindset for persisting through skepticism.
  • Xxx: I asked Nicholas what he is learning through this experience, about how kids learn, why it is important, and why it matters to him and why it should matter to everyone.
  • Xxx: We get practical. The early steps to get Genius Hour up and running in Nicholas’s classroom.
  • Xxx: Nicholas describes how explains Genius Hour to students and gives specific examples of what a week looks likes in his classroom.
  • Xxx: The challenges of implementing Genius Hour. Along with two powerful examples of what students learn, even when they don’t.
  • Xxx: His advice to teachers.
  • Xxx: At the core of personalized learning: the teacher-student relationship. Hear Nicholas’s reflection on just how his relationships have changed with Genius Hour (hint: he uses the words billion).
  • Xxx: What Nicholas is up to these days and how he continues to improve his practice.

6. Nicholas Demonstrates His Understanding and Implementation of Genius Hour on Camera

The Michigan Department of Education developed a series of live, Personalized Learning Webinars led by school-level educators to demonstrate and share their personalized learning practices. This webinar is led by Nicholas Provenzano. His presentation begins at approximately 3:10. The original viewing was live; what appears below is the recorded version.

As you watch this webinar, take notice of what you observe, what questions you have, and what ideas Nicholas’s demonstration sparks for you. Keep the Personalized Learning Indicators Checklist close by. You will observe many of them in action.

7. PROCESS YOUR LEARNING + PLAN FOR WHAT’S NEXT

We’ve provided you with a lot of information–and there is still more to come. If you haven’t already, now is the time to download the Next Steps and Planning Guide, which will help you organize the knowledge, ideas, and burning questions you’ve captured and turn them into your next steps for moving forward.

8. RESEARCH, RESOURCES, and SOCIAL MEDIA

From the Center on Innovations in Learning Database

The Center on Innovations in Learning has done some good, hard thinking around personalized learning. Here are just a small, small sampling of the research-based resources you can find in the database. For this particular search, I entered the phrases Genius Hour and 20Time.

  • Redesign Schools with Learner-Centered STEM: Tarim, S. In this article, a co-founder and CEO of Harmony Public Schools shares the need to transform our education system so that all children everywhere have access to a great education that allows them to find their passion and fulfill their human potential. The article emphasizes integrated and personalized STEM education.
  • 20-Time in Education: Based on a concept borrowed from business where it has been used to encourage creativity in product development. In education, 20-Time allots 20 percent of school time for students to pursue topics of their own choosing. It seeks to promote students’ motivation, autonomy, and communication and interpersonal skills in collaborative endeavors—all characteristics deemed essential for their working careers. The website offers guides for implementation.
  • 5 Top Trends in Education Technology 2015: Why the Industry is Primed for Big Things This YearSkonnard, A. This article describes five top trends in ed tech to keep on one’s radar screen in 2015 and beyond: online corporate learning, skills measurement, alternative learning styles, online competency-based training, and flipped-learning tech.

Our searchable research database is an incredible resource for any educator looking to find information on Change Leadership, Change Processes, and Personalized Learning. The database is carefully curated to provide you with the most credible, highest-quality research articles that exist on these topics and many related others.

More Genius Hour Resources on the World Wide Web

We’ve included a few of our favorite articles and resources you’ll find on the World Wide Web about Genius Hour below:

http://www.teachthought.com/learning/6-principles-of-genius-hour-in-the-classroom/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L08wNizulOY (student choice video)

http://www.spencerauthor.com/2016/08/10-reasons-to-pilot-genius-hour-this-year.html/

http://ajjuliani.com/20-time-guide/

http://geniushour.wikispaces.com

Social Media Hot Spots

  1. Follow Nicholas Provenzano on:
    1. Twitter: @thenerdyteacher
    2. Instagram: @thenerdyteacher
    3. His Blog: thenerdyteacher.com
  2. You can find out about Michigan’s efforts to make learning more personal for its students by searching #miched on Twitter.
  3. For Genius Hour happenings on Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest, search the following hashtags:
    • #geniushour
    • #20time
    • #edtech

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see in your Pinterest search of Genius Hour:

FullSizeRender-3

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see in your Twitter search for #20time and #geniushour:

Thank you so much for spending your time here. We hope these resources were informative and useful. Please keep us updated on your progress toward implementing blended learning in your state, district, or school—and how you are bringing the Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice to life where you are.

Please contact xxx, Communications Director at the Center on Innovations in Learning, with any questions, comments, and updates on how you are using this INNOpod. Use #INNOpod to let us know as well.

 

 

 

 

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INNOpod #2: Making Learning Personal in a Flipped Classroom

flippedflowmodel

The subject of Personalized Learning is central to the work of The Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL). CIL has provided a wide variety of resources on this topic, and its staff have for some time now been thinking about, writing about, and practicing Personalized Learning. The emergence of educational technology–from apps to devices to assessments to digital portfolios–is rapidly expanding the possibilities for children and their learning. These are exciting times but they can also be overwhelming times. The intersection of technology and interpersonal relationships–student to teacher, student to student, student to parent–is a fine mingling, not an exchange. It’s not exchanging one for the other, rather merging one with the other. We consider it our job to support you in mastering that mingle.

This INNOpod, Making Learning Personal in a Flipped Classroom, introduces just a slice of the work that occurring in partnership between the Center on Innovations in Learning, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center. Michigan has made the provision of greater personalization for student learning a priority in its state and has established state-level expectations, structures, and services to support its districts and schools in making it a reality for every Michigan student. We are excited to build upon this important work and share it with educators throughout the country who are also in pursuit of greater personalization for their students’ learning. We would like to thank Tara Maynard, a middle school mathematics teacher at Creekside Middle School in Zeeland, Michigan, for lending her time and expertise to this project.

First

1. Introduction

If you haven’t already, be sure to review INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning. There, you will begin to connect so much of what you already to as an educator to the emerging and expanding practice of Personalized Learning.

You will also want to download these three documents to process the information included in this INNOpod and plan for your next steps:

  1. These Reflection + Idea Tool Pagescorrespond with each of the segments included in this INNOpod (g., First, Second, Third, etc.). The purpose of this page is to help you to process your thinking and learning so that the planning and action is a natural next step.
  2. This Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice Checklistwill make it easy for you to identify those Indicators you observe in action throughout this INNOpod. We will provide it in both Word and PDF so that you can adapt and adjust it to meet the needs of your state, school, classroom, teachers, and students.
  3. This Next Steps and Planning Guidewill help you to move from processing to planning and action.

Now that you’ve reviewed INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning and downloaded and printed the processing documents, take a moment to complete the first activity on the Reflection + Idea Tool Page before moving on.

2. INNOpod OUTCOMES

We’ve provided trusted, reliable, and informative content that will:

  1. Give you the vocabulary and a framework for understanding how personalized learning works so that you can organize what you’re already doing that’s pretty personalized but also determine where the bare spots are
  2. Provide you with video examples of teachers and their SPECIFIC practices for personalizing learning
  3. Stockpile your resource library with high-quality, Center on Innovations in Learning-approved articles, research, and action steps related to the practice
  4. Connect the practices with specific how-I-did-it insights directly FROM YOUR COLLEAGUES who are doing it
  5. Finally, show you where people are sharing about it on social media {if you’re curious} and show you how to join in the conversation {if you’re interested.

3. The Framework for Understanding Personalized Learning + the Vocabulary to Talk About It, Plan For It, Implement It, and Assess It

We first introduced these indicators of effective practice in INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning, but they’re worth reintroducing. These Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice, developed and published by the Center on Innovations in Learning provide you with an important framework for organizing your understanding of personalized learning and also your practice of it. We’ve converted them into a checklist for ease of documenting what you observe throughout this INNOpod and in your own schools and classrooms.

Spend a few minutes reviewing them and then pay attention to their application throughout this in-depth focus on one teacher’s use of the Flipped Classroom to make learning more personal for her students.

Fourth

4. What is this FLIPPED CLASSROOM I Keep Hearing About?

The first personalized learning practice that we will examine in this series is categorized under the umbrella of blended learning.

From Wikipedia:

Blended learning, a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.

The specific blended learning approach examined here is referred to as  FLIPPED CLASSROOM. You may also have heard it called Flipped Learning.

From Wikipedia:

Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional educational arrangement by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of the instructor.

You can read about the origins of the flipped classroom, the WHAT and a little bit of the WHY, and some ideas about “the best use of face-to-face time with students” in this article.  (If you’re sick of reading, there’s a video you can sit back and enjoy).

We’ve curated more research and additional resources that you will find further down in the innoPOD. But we don’t want to wait another minute to introduce you to Tara Maynard, a middle school mathematics teacher at Creekside Middle School in Zeeland, Michigan.

364898_orig

Tara has created a very complete Webinar that will show you exactly what goes into creating a Flipped Classroom model in your classroom and what it looks like in practice. We’ve also conducted an in-depth interview with Tara, which you can listen to or read further down in the INNOpod.

Once again, this Personalized Learning Indicators Checklist will help you to keep track of the indicators as you observe them thoughout Tara’s presentation—both as it relates to her instruction and especially to her students’ learning.

There is also plenty of blank space in your Reflection + Idea Tool for more general note-taking as well.

Fifth.

5. Tara Maynard Demonstrates How She Flipped Her Classroom

Tara Maynard Was Peer-Pressured Into Flipping Her Classroom. She Demonstrates How She, Her Students, and Their Parents Are Better Off Because Of It.

The Michigan Department of Education developed a series of live, Personalized Learning Webinars led by school-level educators to demonstrate and share their personalized learning practices. This webinar is led by Tara Maynard. Her presentation begins at approximately 6:50. Again, the original viewing was live; what appears below is the recorded version.

As you watch this webinar, take notice of what you observe, what questions you have, and what ideas Tara’s demonstration sparks for you. Keep the Personalized Learning Indicators Checklist close by. You will observe many of them in action.

Emily, Embed Code for Video is below:

  • 6:50: Introduction and context
  • 8:39: Tara offers detailed description of what happens “Outside of Class” in a Flipped Classroom, including how and what she prepares for her students and how and what they are expected to prepare and contribute.
  • 14:40: Tara describes what happens “Inside of Class” in a Flipped Classroom. She shares specific strategies and resources for engaging students to demonstrate and practice their learning.
  • 34:19:  Tara describes the “Self-reflection and Assessment” component of her Flipped Classroom, how she guides students to process their own learning and understanding, and how that data helps her to personalize her instruction even further. *Note: There is an audio glitch between 34:30 and 34:59.
  • 40:40: Tara shares the web tool that has changed her teaching.
  • 46:51: Tara provides her contact information so that you can reach out to her directly with any questions about your efforts to flip your classroom.

6. Tara Shares It All: Her Tools, Her Process, and Her Must-Do’s for Flipping A Classroom

Now that you’ve seen what a Flipped Classroom looks like, we will tell you exactly how Tara learned about, planned for, implemented, and assessed flipped learning. We picked her brain about where to start, what to pay attention to, what absolutely not to do, and what Tara was THRILLED to discover about this approach that she had not expected.

 

You can listen to our conversation by clicking on the soundcloud recording below, or you can read the conversation here: Tara Maynard + the Flipped Classroom.

In this Episode:

  • 1:30: Tara talks about a good kind of peer pressure that nudged her to flip her mind and eventually her classroom
  • 2:00: Tara’s gratitude for her student teacher who led the way and gave Tara the push and the confidence she needed to take the leap and keep going.
  • 4:10: Tara’s greatest motivation for using a Flipped Classroom model was to increase student engagement, which she achieved INSTANTLY.
  • 7:00: Tara shares some of the early challenges that came with the new approach and giving students more in class flexibility over their learning.
  • 1o:00: Listen to the completely unexpected but absolutely AMAZING outgrowth Tara has discovered (hint: she’s not just teaching middle schoolers, she’s teaching their parents…and they LOVE it).
  • 13:00: Yes, it’s as good as it sounds, but Tara doesn’t gloss over the challenges. Listen to hers, her students’, and how they continue to address them.
  • 18:10: Tara shares the process she uses for planning a unit and a lesson in her Flipped Classroom. You can learn more about it in More from Tara, below.
  • 23:30: Tara’s advice for any educator on the fence about flipping.
  • 28:10: Tara reminds us why the teacher is so important, what the technology has allowed HER to do more of for her students, and how much better she knows them now.
  • 32:00: Tara lets us in on what’s next for her.

More From Tara: A downloadable Q&A sheet where she dishes even more about her process, what she’s learned, how her students are growing as learners, and the instance when Flipped Classroom just doesn’t work. Get it Here: Tara Maynard Q&A

Seventh

7. PROCESS YOUR LEARNING + PLAN FOR WHAT’S NEXT

We’ve provided you with a lot of information–and there is still more to come. If you haven’t already, now is the time to download the Next Steps + Planning Guide, which will help you organize the knowledge, ideas, and burning questions you’ve captured and turn them into your next steps for moving forward.

Eighth 

8. RESEARCH, RESOURCES, and SOCIAL MEDIA

From the Center on Innovations in Learning Database

The Center on Innovations in Learning has done some good, hard thinking around personalized learning. Here are just a small, small sampling of the research-based resources you can find in the database. For this particular search, I entered the phrase #flippedlearning

  • Flipped-Learning Toolkit: Flipping the Non-Flippable ClassesBergmann, J., & Sams, A.This article begins, “When the subject of the flipped class comes up, many educators see how it applies to academic subjects like math and science education, but don’t realize that the methodology has applications in a wide array of other classes. Can you flip other subjects? Can you flip an elementary classroom? The answer is a resounding yes.” Year Published: 2014
  • A Review of Flipped Learning (pdf)Hamdan, N., McKnight, P., McKnight, K., & Arfstrom, K. M.This review defines and describes the flipped learning model, briefly notes its historical foundation, addresses common misconceptions, discuss learning theories underlying the model, and describe empirical research findings and concerns that have been raised.Year Published: 2013
  • 5 Top Trends in Education Technology 2015: Why the Industry is Primed for Big Things This YearSkonnard, A.This article describes five top trends in ed tech to keep on one’s radar screen in 2015 and beyond: online corporate learning, skills measurement, alternative learning styles, online competency-based training, and flipped-learning tech.Year Published: 2015

Our searchable  research database  is an incredible resource for any educator looking to find information on Change Leadership, Change Processes, and Personalized Learning. The database is carefully curated to provide you with the most credible, highest-quality, research articles that exist on these topics and many related others.

More Flipped Learning Resources on the World Wide Web

We’ve included a few of our favorite articles and resources you’ll find on the world wide web about flipping classrooms below:

Social Media Hot Spots

  1. You can follow Tara Maynard on Twitter at @tmaynard5
  2. You can find out about Michigan’s efforts to make learning more personal for its students by searching #miched on Twitter.
  3. For Flipped Learning happenings on Twitter, search the following hashtags:
    • #flippedlearning
    • #flippedclassroom
    • #flipped
    • #edtech
  4. For Flipped Learning happenings on Instagram
    • #flippedlearning
    • #flippedclassroom

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see in your Twitter search for #flippedlearning:

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 2.53.49 PM

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 2.54.48 PM

Thank you so much for spending your time here. We hope these resources were informative and useful. Please keep us updated on your progress toward implementing blended learning in your state, district, or school—and how you are brining the Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice to life where you are.

Please contact Chris Sadjean Peacock (csadjpea@temple.edu), Communications Director at the Center on Innovations in Learning, with any questions, comments, and updates on how you are using this INNOpod. Use #INNOpod to let us know as well.

INNOpod #1: Personalized Learning: Start Right Here

The subject of personalized learning is central to the work of The Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL). CIL has provided a wide variety of resources on this topic, and its staff have for some time now been thinking about, writing about, and practicing personalized learning. The emergence of educational technology—from apps to devices to assessments to digital portfolios—is rapidly expanding the possibilities for children and their learning. The intersection of technology and interpersonal relationships—student to teacher, student to student, student to parent—is a fine mingling, not an exchange. It’s not exchanging one for the other, rather merging one with the other. We consider it our job to support you in mastering that mingle.

First

1. Introduction

We are so glad you are here. Before you do anything, please download these three documents that will help you to process the information included in this first INNOpod and also plan for your next steps.

  1. These Reflection + Idea Tool Pages correspond with each of the segments included in this INNOpod (e.g. First, Second, Third, etc.). The purpose of this page is to help you to process your thinking and learning so that the planning and action is a natural next step.
  2. This Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice Checklist will make it easy for you to identify those Indicators you observe in action throughout this INNOpod. We will provide it in both Word and PDF so that you can adapt and adjust it to meet the needs of your state, school, classroom, teachers, and students.
  3. This Next Steps and Planning Guide will help you to move from processing to planning and action.

Now that you have downloaded and printed the documents, you are ready to complete your first activity on the Reflection + Idea Tool Page before moving onto the second segment.

Second

2. It Is Personal: The Irreplaceable Effect of A Shared Experience Between People

I have a friend. Our children go to school together, which is how we met four years ago. Unlike many friendships, ours did not start out with a gradual introduction, or ever with a handshake and a “nice to meet you.” Our friendship was cemented at the moment we realized we were sending our firstborns off to school with packs on their backs double their kindergarten size and terrified looks on their faces that said what they could not make sense of or form into words: What is happening here and whatever it is, please, please, please, do not make me do it.

We were strangers but for that uneasy, sideways glance when we weren’t, when we acknowledged and assured one another, “It will be okay, they will be okay, we will all be okay. We will get through it together.”

Thank goodness for shared experiences.

As it turns out, my friend also happens to be a teacher—an exceptional one. She is the teacher that parents request for their children even though parents can’t request teachers for their children where we live. I guess moms, dads, and grandparents figure it’s worth a shot and it probably is.

Ava_butterfly
Pretty Colors                         by Ava F. Mirabito

Because she, like many teachers, will know their children and what they love, find out what they don’t, and figure out how they make sense of everything in between. She is a teacher who will make the unexpected call home to share great news; she will also have the tough conversations when learning or behavior require some extra attention.

In spite of what she is good at and brings to and builds within her students, there is one conversation that always comes up when we too infrequently get together. That conversation is always about personalizing learning. And as smart, caring, and committed as my friend is to her students and her profession, she, like so many, feels as though she can’t keep up, isn’t on the cutting edge. She feels like what she has always known and done and that has worked before just isn’t quite enough now.

Here are some of the questions that come up. See if they are familiar to you:

  • How do we provide students with what they need and can do—as a group and individually?
  • How do we find the time to create opportunities for them to think about what they know, discover and pursue what they want to know, and apply what they’ve learned, especially when they all do it so differently in pacing and approach?
  • How do we do all or any of that when there is just so much of everything to do in a day for so many?
  • How do we make the most of the time we have with our students?
  • And what are we supposed to do with all of this technology that the whole world is talking about? Are we using it the best way we can? Are we even using it at all?  How and where can we find the time and the training to use technology well in teaching and learning?

We don’t necessarily refer to it as “personalized learning” in our conversations, but that’s exactly what we are talking about. And in them, I can both see and hear the frustration of my friend—wanting to figure it out but not knowing how—how to use instructional modes more effectively, incorporate technology more strategically, organize learning into many pathways for each student rather than one pathway for all students.

This is still the same friend that parents clamor for, the friend who can tell you nearly every interest and need each of her seven-year-old students hold and have. If she doubts what she can offer to students, then surely there are thousands standing in line with her.

But she underestimates her role and the ways she has already personalized learning, the ways she has laid the groundwork for doing it even better. She, the teacher, matters most. Technology can expand her presence, it should not, definitely does not, diminish it.

In this excerpt from a chapter within the soon-to-be-published Handbook on Personalized Learning, Sam Redding describes the importance of relationships, student engagement and development of personal competencies, all of which require, at the center, a caring, engaged, and competent teacher:

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Friendship                                                  by Anna L. Mirabito

Relationships. Teacher’s relationships with students and their families add onto the standard definition of personalization two new elements. First, it introduces the teacher as a central figure, engaging the learner in identifying what is to be learned and in the design of how it is to be learned, intentionally building students’ personal competencies that propel learning, and forming relationships with students and their families to better understand the student, the student’s needs, and the student’s aspirations. In fact, the teacher uniquely possesses an asset for the student through “relational suasion,” as described by Redding (2013):

The teacher possesses the power of relational suasion that technology cannot match. Through the teacher’s example and her instruction, the student learns to value mastery, to raise expectations, to manage learning, and to broaden interests. The teacher is singularly capable of teaching social and emotional skills and engaging families in their children’s academic and personal development. (pp. 6–7) 

Dr. Redding pushes deeper and wider into the notion of relationships, moving from the role of student-teacher relationships in personalized learning, to student-student relationships, even the student-self relationship and the formation of learning habits.

Student Engagement. “Enlist[ing] the student in the creation of learning pathways” honors the student’s interests and aspirations, encourages the student’s sense of responsibility for learning, and exercises the student’s ability to navigate the learning process.”

Personal Competencies. “Enhanc[ing] the student’s “personal competencies” means intentionally building the student’s capacity to learn by incorporating into instruction and teacher–student interactions the content and activities that enhance the student’s cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and social-emotional competencies. These four personal competencies are the propellants of learning and together form students’ learning habits.”

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Infographic of the Personal Competencies: Download it here.

We strive to find more effective, more efficient ways to reach our students. And we might let our technological insecurities get the best of us sometimes, but our relational suasion, our intentional design of instruction, makes us unique and irreplaceable. We know, we learn, we want to learn more. And then we want to do something about what we’ve learned. We may not always know what or how at first, but we won’t stop until we figure it out.

Just like teachers in Michigan and all over the world are doing. They are flipping classrooms like it’s a switch and organizing students’ project-based learning opportunities in their sleep. They can do this because they know their students and what they need. They might have reshaped what they’ve always done instructionally, but they have not been replaced.

If anything, these teachers have become even more irreplaceable. They’ve figured out how to spend time working with their students on really important things—like asking great questions and solving big problems and providing one-on-one or small-group instruction that builds learning connections as much as it strengthens human ones.

And here is the other thing: They had to start somewhere, too. They were asking the same questions that you and I are asking and they were committed to finding a better way just like us.

Thank goodness for shared experiences.

So your somewhere starts right here.

Third.

3. Outcomes: This is What You Can Expect to Gain from this INNOpod (and others).

Trusted, reliable, and informative content that will:

  1. Give you the vocabulary and a framework for understanding how personalized learning works so that you can organize what you’re already doing that’s pretty personalized but also determine where the bare spots are
  2. Provide you with video examples of teachers and their SPECIFIC practices for personalizing learning
  3. Stockpile your resource library with high-quality, CIL-vetted articles, research, and action steps related to the practice
  4. Connect the practices with specific how-I-did-it insights directly FROM YOUR COLLEAGUES who are doing it
  5. Finally, show you where people are sharing about it on social media (if you’re curious) and show you how to join in the conversation (if you’re interested).

Be sure to reflect on your current understanding of personalized learning, as well as terms and vocabulary you’ve already heard so far. Consider how their meaning connects to experiences you’ve had on the Reflection + Idea Tool Pages.

We are about to hear from someone who has spent his entire career researching personalized learning (long before it was known as that) and turning that research into language and practices that educators can actually use to develop motivated, curious, and successful thinkers and learners. He—together with his colleagues at CIL, Dr. Marilyn Murphy, director, and Dr. Janet Twyman, director of technology—has created language and vocabulary to help educators organize their thinking and communicate about personalized learning in practical and effective ways. Continue to use the Reflection + Idea Tool Pages to keep track of what you hear from Dr. Redding and any questions that come to your mind.

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4. Sam Redding on Personalized Learning, What It Provides for Students and Families, and Why the Teacher Matters So Much

Video Highlights:

  • Personalized learning is dependent on the relationship between the teacher and the student and his or her family; it promises that the teacher will get to know a child and care about them.
  • Personalized learning is attention to and development of four competencies: cognition (what a student knows), metacognition (how they know it), motivation (satisfaction from learning and curiosity to keep learning), and social-emotional (how they interact and engage with others).
  • A lot about personalizing learning has to do with good, sound teaching practices; but technology now makes it possible to expand and stimulate new interests and opportunities in children and to individualize their learning and that of their peers where it once would have taken a lot of time.
  • Students and families will be involved in the design of the learning pathway.
  • Teachers will acknowledge what students learn and are interested in outside and inside of school and build learning experiences that connect to that knowledge and those interests.

A teacher to the core, you can learn more about Dr. Redding’s research on personalized learning his this engaging and straight-forward chapter within the Handbook on Personalized Learning (a CIL publication). The way Dr. Redding explains how teachers can develop four personal competencies will help you understand the ways you already personalize learning, and his explanation will inspire your thinking about how you can continue to do so in brand-new and powerful ways.

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Spring 2015: X unique chapters with practical steps to move you from informed to in action.

Don’t forget to record your thoughts on the Reflection + Idea Tool Pages. It will be helpful when you begin to plan.

Fifth.

5. The Framework for Understanding Personalized Learning + the Vocabulary to Talk About It, Plan For It, Implement It, and Assess It

These Personalized Learning Effective Practice and Indicators, developed and published by CIL, provide you with an important framework for organizing your understanding of personalized learning and also your practice of it. We’ve converted them into a checklist for ease of documenting what you observe throughout this INNOpod and in your own schools and classrooms.

Spend a few minutes reviewing them and then pay attention to their application throughout the in-depth focus on future INNOpods, including INNOpod #2, Making Learning Personal in a Flipped Classroom, describing how one teacher used the flipped classroom to make learning more personal for her students.

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6. PROCESS YOUR LEARNING + PLAN FOR WHAT’S NEXT

We’ve provided you with a lot of information—and there is still more to come. If you haven’t already, now is the time to download the Next Steps and Planning Guide, which will help you organize the knowledge, ideas, and burning questions you’ve captured and turn them into your next steps for moving forward.

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7. Additional RESEARCH, RESOURCES, and SOCIAL MEDIA

Made By Us: Resources that We’ve Created and Published on Personalized Learning Just For You

  • x
  • y
  • z

Found By Us: Resources that We’ve Curated Just For You 

CIL has done some good, hard thinking around personalized learning. Here are just a small, small sampling of the research-based resources you can find in our searchable research database. For this particular search, I entered the phrase “personalized learning.”

  • Shift to Digital: Classroom ‘Look for’s’, Vander Ark, T. In this third of a four-part series, Tom Vander Ark provides a straight-forward and visual depiction of what to look for when making the shift toward blended, personalized learning in the classroom.
  • Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning. In this report published by the Rand Organization and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers provide findings related to impacts of personalized learning in four areas: Student Achievement Results, Implementation Findings, Relating Implementation to Outcomes, National Comparison of Survey Results.
  • Blended Learning Research Clearinghouse 1.0Mohammed, S. / The Learning Accelerator. This report summarizes “an established body of evidence for personalizing or individualizing learning and facilitating student agency to foster self-regulated, intrinsically motivated learning, all of which blended learning can enable at scale. In addition, there is a growing number of studies that demonstrate that blended learning…can be effective in meeting academic and non-academic goals for both student and teacher outcomes.”

Our searchable research database, is an incredible resource for any educator looking to find information on change leadership, change processes, and personalized learning. The database is carefully curated to provide you with high-quality research articles and credible perspectives on these and other related topics.

Personalized Learning + Social Media

  1. Who’s talking about personalized learning? Here are some of our favorites:
    • @centerilorg
    • @officeofedtech
  2. For personalized learning happenings on Twitter, search the following hashtags:
    • #personalizedlearning
    • #deeperlearning
    • #edtech
    • #learningpersonalized
  3. For personalized learning happenings on Instagram
    • #personalizedlearning
    • #blendedlearning

Here is a glimpse of what you can expect to see in your search on Twitter.

 

Thank you so much for spending your time here. We hope these resources were informative and useful. Please keep us updated on your progress toward implementing blended learning in your state, district, or school—and how you are brining the Personalized Learning Indicators of Effective Practice to life where you are. #INNOpodCIL/email/link for where they can keep us updated?].