I’m excited to be presenting with EdTechTeacher colleague Shawn McCusker next month at MASSCUE/MASCD. Based upon our work collaborating on the Modern Civics Project, we will be running a session titled “Leading Innovation in Civic Education: Preparing Citizens for a Modern World.”
As next-generation assessments and instructional data can help educators gain a deeper understanding of students, the sheer amount of information available can prove challenging. As discussed in a prior post, educational technologies can amplify the impact of proven formative assessment strategies. But in doing so, educators must often navigate various platforms and other sources of student information that, in many cases, do not seamlessly align or integrate together.
We all strive to help history come alive for our students. One proven strategy is to have students engage in experiences that put them right in the action, whether it’s ancient ruins of great civilizations or those more aligned with modern historical developments. The constraint that we face, however, is the ability to have students actually travel to these places. Virtual tours make that possible. Teachers have never before had the opportunity for students to engage in virtual tours like they do today. Not only can students visit historically relevant locations, but also enter and explore many of the world's most exclusive museum and cultural centers, right from a device! Let’s take a close look at practical ways that history teachers can help foster student engagement through virtual tours.
This week, I had the pleasure of working with many of the staff at Old Rochester Regional School District (MA) where we explored the intersection and interconnectedness between Project-Based Learning and Social Emotional Learning. Below are several resources that I shared during the session that I believe are worth a look for those interested in student-centered approaches (PBL, Personalized Learning, Design Thinking) and want to learn how we can scaffold and support students’ SEL development throughout the learning process.
A foundational piece of any learner-centered approach involves gaining a deeper understanding of our students. We know that learner variability exists, and research suggests it is growing in classrooms across the nation. It is therefore essential to personalize instruction based upon learner differences if we are going to ensure that all students thrive in our schools. To do this effectively, we must develop a more nuanced understanding of each students’ particular abilities and needs.
We often hear of the need to redesign schools to support modern learning environments, and yes, we should. But how often does a school’s investment in these spaces clearly support and enable a shift towards innovative, student-centered practices? Not so much. That is why when I had the chance to visit Montour Public Schools last Spring, I jumped at the opportunity.
This week I had the incredible opportunity to help launch my school district’s new “Personalized Learning Fellowship.” We spent the day exploring the what, why and how of Personalized Learning, while also engaging in deep discussions about the current state of K-12 education and ways that we can shift to create a more relevant and impactful learning experience for our students.
Over the past few years, in several different roles, I have researched and experimented with various frameworks and approaches to Personalized Learning. Despite the vast amount of resources out there that describe what personalized learning is and how to implement it, it is often difficult to find quality research that gets to the “why” of personalization.
Although Personalized Learning has gained considerable traction in education, there is still much confusion and, at times, heated debate regarding what this set of ideas actually means and looks like in practice. Fortunately, there has been a relative convergence of key concepts and essential components of Personalized Learning (PL) that can help frame a more nuanced discussion moving forward as schools explore and implement different iterations of PL.
Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to work alongside several groups of education leaders at the EdTechTeacher Innovation Summit in Boston. Of all the themes, topics and challenges we explored, the biggest takeaway for me had to do with time.
A couple weeks back I posted a collection of articles addressing the nature of edtech ambassador programs and topics related to the evolving relationships between educators and the edtech industry. Here is my take on the issue.
As many of us have witnessed, discussion about edtech companies and their relationships with teachers has heated up across the country. Although this issue has been around for a while now, it has recently come to the forefront in many school communities following a New York Times article published a few weeks ago that took a particular stance on the issue.
Over the past few weeks, I have spent some time researching the issue from multiple angles. I quickly discovered how nuanced of an issue this is and how these discussions go well beyond the scope of any one particular "ambassador" program.
What is the value of a professional learning network? And how can we make the most of these networks to actually learn in deep and profound ways?
These are questions that I have been grappling with, particularly since the way that many educators (myself included) have been engaging with our networks lately. From my perspective, it has shifted quite a bit, and not always for the better.
Like many districts across the nation, Rhode Island’s Bristol Warren Regional School District (BWRSD) has a firm understanding of best practice and current research. However, the difficulty in scaling any innovation is converting the theory into action. To overcome this, BWRSD has adopted the Future Ready Schools® (FRS) framework, a systematic approach to scaling innovative digital learning practices while promoting long-term sustainability. This transition to digital learning affords BWRSD the opportunity to provide greater clarity and coherence regarding the district’s vision of teaching and learning. At BWRSD, we have used the opportunity to develop and communicate a new, shared vision of personalized instruction that fosters deeper learning for all students.