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A Vision for the Future of K-3 Reading Policy – Personalized and Mastery-Based

Education Next – Karla Esparza-Phillips and Cari Miller

Envision a future where students’ unique strengths and interests are both respected and harnessed—where each child reaches his or her greatest potential. The education systems that will achieve this are characterized by individualized pathways, timely support, flexible pacing and data-based decision making. As our friend Martin West recently pointed out, the opportunity to move to Personalized Learning 2.0 is here and momentum is building across the country.”(more)

How to Shake the Blended Learning Blues

Ed Surge – Carly Nations

“When I interviewed for my current teaching position, my school’s 1:1 program was a huge selling point. To me it represent administrators’ commitment to bringing public schools into the 21st century, and to providing equal educational opportunities to all. When I entered the classroom, however, my relationship with the laptops got…complicated. I discovered the machines were at odds with much of what English teachers—myself included—hold dear. Even worse, the novelty of using technology every day seemed to wear off quickly for students. After less than a year in the classroom, I felt like a burnt-out teacher nearing retirement rather than a young woman fresh out of college. In order to get my groove back, I had to go truly blended, giving the laptops a backseat to literature. Here’s what I learned.”(more)

How one district built a better blended learning program

E-School News – Laura Devaney

“Blended learning is rapidly becoming a core part of schools’ educational approach, partly because the model suits so many educational needs–credit recovery, dual enrollment, and access to advanced courses not always offered in brick-and-mortar schools. To help connect educators with blended learning schools and districts, the Clayton Christensen Institute (CCI) curates the Blended Learning Universe, an online hub and directory offering resources about blended learning basics, research, and examples of different implementations.”(more)

Can Personalized Learning Work in Rural America?

Ed Surge – Carolyn Chuong

“In rural districts, children and youth face profound obstacles—geographic isolation and long bus rides to school, frustratingly slow internet connections, limited course options, and low college-going rates. Specifically, only one-third of rural students matriculate in college compared to nearly half of urban students. And when it comes to teachers, the human capital pipeline runs relatively dry. For example, national data from the past 15 years shows that rural schools are more likely to have STEM teacher vacancies than urban or suburban schools. Could personalized learning and the use of technology fundamentally change rural student outcomes? Perhaps, but there’s a problem. Although personalized learning is gaining momentum around the country, investment opportunities and school systems leading the charge have largely been concentrated in urban communities. One explanation is that charter schools have been at the forefront of personalized learning—they typically have more appetite for innovation and the autonomy to make large-scale changes.”(more)

Why Schools Shouldn’t Go It Alone on Personalized Learning

Education Next – Betheny Gross and Colleen McCann

“Principals and teachers trying to personalize their students’ learning are charged with radically reimagining the classroom. It’s a tall order that requires educators to take risks, move outside their comfort zones, and essentially overhaul much of their jobs. What we’re seeing in the schools we’ve visited for this project makes clear that this work shouldn’t—and often can’t—be done alone. A study we recently conducted showed that schools implementing personalized learning (PL) spend a large portion of their grant funds on a bevy of products and services that have sprung up in the marketplace to cater to PL schools—from online tools and catalogs to consultants who help schools pick out technology tools. We wondered if those supports were equally effective. Our school visits and interviews to date tell us they are not. The most critical supports, we’re learning, come not from generic consultants with technical expertise, but rather from outsiders who can help leaders think through key decisions and a sound game plan.”(more)

How one district improved its personalized learning by failing forward

E-School News – Michael Eaton

“In the MSD of Wayne Township, there are several blended and online opportunities available for students. Perhaps the same is true in your district, but how many of those same opportunities are available to teachers as well? Recently, the teachers in one particular program in the district inspired a personalized approach to professional development. The Ben Davis Extended Day (BDED) blended learning program is an extension of one of the district’s high schools, Ben Davis High School. The program operates in the evenings and serves students who, for one reason or another, are not able to attend during the day. The students move through their courses online and at their own pace, while physically attending school in the evenings in a lab setting. There are four teachers that work in the evening that teach the courses for English, math, science, and social studies.”(more)