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Step by Step: Designing Personalized Learning Experiences For Students

Step by Step: Designing Personalized Learning Experiences For Students
The phrase “personalized learning” gets tossed around a lot in education circles. Sometimes it’s used in the context of educational technology tools that offer lessons keyed to the academic level of individual students. Other times it’s referring to the personal touch of a teacher getting to know a student, learning about their interests and tailoring lessons to meet both their needs and their passion areas. As with most education jargon, the phrase isn’t fixed, but it usually connects to the idea that not all students need the same thing at the same time. It implies choice, multiple pathways to learning, many ways to demonstrate competency and resists the notion that all students learn the same way. Educator Mia MacMeekin has put together a clear infographic highlighting some of the ways teachers design “personalized” curriculum. Related:  Personalized Learning

The Language of Choice and Support Language shapes our worldview. The narratives we hear around us influence our perceptions and understandings. Take Carol Dweck's concept of fixed versus growth mindset. One of the primary tools for fostering a growth mindset is changing how we talk about learning, from how we give feedback to how we address failure. Dweck's work shows that simple shifts in language of praise and feedback can hold immense power in children's view of themselves and of learning. One in five children between age nine and 17 have mental health challenges that impair their daily functioning. Breaking Bad Habits: Changing Unintentionally Stigmatizing Language Stigma is powered by language. We should use language that accurately describes what we're trying to say, rather than falling back on figures of speech that may fuel negative attitudes toward those with mental health challenges. I can also avoid minimizing when I ask more questions to try to accurately describe a student who is struggling.

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Genius Hour and the 6 Essentials of Personalized Education There is a difference between differentiation and personalized learning. In the last year, I've been shifting toward the personalized learning aspect of curriculum design. How do I engage my learners and make their classwork more authentic? Last year, my school rolled out iPads for every student, and with the transition to Common Core, it was the perfect time for a massive curriculum shakeup. I'm lucky that my department gave me ample time to start working on this process. Simultaneously, I started experimenting with Genius Hour for my 8th grade students. So what are the essentials of personalized education, and how does something like Genius Hour play a role? 1. To use Genius Hour effectively, get all your pieces together and ready to go so that you can use your valuable face-to-face time with the students. 2. You'll learn more than you ever thought possible by watching your students go through this process. 3. 4. The students also worked together on various topics and projects. 5. 6.

The Myth of 'I'm Bad at Math' - The Atlantic “I’m just not a math person.” We hear it all the time. And we’ve had enough. Because we believe that the idea of “math people” is the most self-destructive idea in America today. The truth is, you probably are a math person, and by thinking otherwise, you are possibly hamstringing your own career. Is math ability genetic? How do we know this? Different kids with different levels of preparation come into a math class. Thus, people’s belief that math ability can’t change becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The idea that math ability is mostly genetic is one dark facet of a larger fallacy that intelligence is mostly genetic. A body of research on conceptions of ability has shown two orientations toward ability. The “entity orientation” that says “You are smart or not, end of story,” leads to bad outcomes—a result that has been confirmed by many other studies. You have a certain amount of intelligence, and you really can’t do much to change it. The results? So why do we focus on math? 1.

Math instruction meets a personalized approach One school is using a personalized and blended math curriculum to help students meet learning goals MobyMax, a provider of personalized and blended learning curriculum for K-8 students, is helping educators at Georgia’s Screven County Elementary School personalize math instruction to meet the learning needs of every child. Like most educators, fourth-grade math and science teacher Derek von Waldner teaches students who have a wide range of abilities: Some begin school well below grade level, while others are ready for more advanced work. “I use MobyMax for differentiation,” the second-year Screven County teacher said. von Waldner’s students all have Chromebooks for use during class. “I have some students who are way above a fourth grade level, and they’re able to work at their own pace with relevant content while I can go around to the other students and help remediate,” he said. For the lowest students, “it’s pulling them up to grade level,” he said.

Resources for Getting Started With Project-Based Learning Just getting started with project-based learning (PBL)? Our curated list of resources for educators new to PBL should help you. Before you get started, be sure to check out Edutopia's PBL page, including information about the research behind effective PBL practices. You can also connect with Edutopia's community to learn and share PBL tips. PBL Defined and Clarified What the Heck is PBL? video What Should "Gold Standard" PBL Include? Stories and Examples My PBL Failure: 4 Tips for Planning Successful PBL, by Katie Spear (2015) Here are four lessons learned from a failed PBL unit: align with the school calendar, allow planning time, carefully create the topic and guiding question, and collaborate with peers. Other Tips From Teachers and Experts Bookmark this page to reference it for updates.

Growth Mindset Albert Einstein is considered one of the greatest geniuses of all time, though rumor has it he failed high school calculus. As you might imagine, this is an exaggeration ‒ Einstein didn’t remember getting anything but A’s. It’s possible that this story had something to do with his math skills. Despite his amazing intellect, Einstein wasn’t as strong in math as many of the other physicists of his day. Throughout his life, he was known to have frequently said, “If I could just do the math.” At the age of 76, Einstein passed away. The greatest genius of his day ‒ and arguably in history ‒ understood that life is a process. We’re all born with certain skills, but the mindsets we have toward improving our skills and character ultimately determine our success in life. Einstein’s theories were the crowning achievements of his life. In her groundbreaking work, Mindset, Carol Dweck presents the “growth mindset” as the most essential element of success and happiness in life.

Middletown, NY Personalizes Learning To Narrow Achievement Gaps - Lexington Institute Click here to download the full study as PDF. The Enlarged City School District of Middletown, New York is showing the nation how to transform a once-struggling district. Proving that good things come in small packages, this economically challenged district is improving on important metrics — for example, 4-year high school graduation rates have increased from 51 to 80 percent over the past nine years. Now aiming to drive achievement and student engagement even higher, Middletown is implementing personalized learning through a comprehensive, phased approach to blended learning to help students meet the demands of New York’s Common Core standards and aligned assessments. To date in Middletown:

What Do We Really Mean When We Say ‘Personalized Learning’? Naomi Chung/Flickr The idea of personalized learning is seductive – it implies moving away from the industrialized form of education that pumps out cookie-cutter students with the same knowledge and skills. After decades of this approach, it is clear that all children don’t learn the same way and personalization seems to honor those differences. However, that term has taken on several different meanings. “When you say personalization, what do you mean by that?” asked Diana Laufenberg, director of Inquiry Schools and a former teacher at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Personalization is often used in the ed-tech community to describe a student moving through a prescribed set of activities at his own pace. “That has nothing to do with the person sitting in front of you,” Laufenberg said. Educators at the EduCon conference hosted by Science Leadership Academy eagerly discussed the merits and challenges of personalizing learning. Related

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