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Tag: tech

Who is Helping You Plan and Implement Competency Education?

September 21, 2016 by

One of the weaknesses we have had in the field is that we haven’t had enough technical assistance providers or Stepping Stonesenough models from which districts can choose. This situation, with its lack of documented results or research on quality indicators, has left us trying to learn from each other without knowing that we are actually learning from “best practices.”

I’m thrilled to say that things are getting a tiny bit better in terms of number of TA providers, and that some have also increased their capacity to better meet the growing demand. Only a few provide assistance on the transformation to a competency-based environment, but districts have mentioned the others because of targeted support that has been instrumental in their process. I’m sure this list (provided in alphabetical order) is not complete and does not include individuals…so please, please, please, add other TA providers you’ve worked with in the comments section and why you would recommend them. It’s also helpful to know about your experience with any of the folks listed below. Where are there strengths? What are the reasons you would recommend them?

2Revolutions: Referred to as 2Revs, this organization has been helping schools using a design orientation in several states including NH including Parker Varney Elementary ,IL, CO and DC.

Center for Secondary School Redesign: CSSR has been a leader in helping secondary schools personalize their schools. They guide schools in reshaping the relationships and power dynamics by engaging youth in leadership roles throughout the school. They are familiar with competency education, but as far as I know, they do not have a specific model that they draw upon. They are well-known for the I3 network on personalization (lots of resources on personalization without using technology) in New England. They have consulted to Pittsfield School District in NH and Springdale, Arkansas.

Competency-Based Education Solutions: This is a new team of technical assistance providers led by Dan Joseph. Joseph was previously principal at James. W. Russell Elementary in Grey-New Gloucester Maine. You can reach Dan at djoseph (at)CBESolution (dot)com.

EL Education: EL Education (used to be Expeditionary Learning) does not specialize in competency education. However, schools are finding that their training can be helpful in developing a high-quality instructional model and aligned system of assessments. Windsor Locks and Kappa International both found their training on personalizing the classroom to be very helpful in making the transition to a competency-based school. (FYI – Casco Bay High School is an EL school that has successfully integrated a proficiency-based structure.) (more…)

On Our Way Toward Integrated Learning Systems

September 14, 2016 by

inacolWe have come a long way in terms of helping the vendors of information systems understand that we need “grading books” that will allow educators to monitor student progress on learning objectives that may be organized in a variety of ways. However, most still do not understand that what we want are student-centered information systems, not standards-based ones. We want to know what skills a student has, and we want to monitor their progress based upon both their own learning trajectory and grade-level standards. Yes, we want students to be on grade level, but if they are missing the important pre-requisite skills, then we want to work more intensively with them to build those skills. It’s a both/and situation.

Thus, it is over-the-top fantastic that the Nellie Mae Education Foundation has released an RFP for integrated learning systems. Here is the information below. Be sure to read the iNACOL’s Functional Requirements for Integrated Systems to Optimize Learning regardless if you apply or not. (more…)

What Life before EdTech Can Teach Us about Personalized Learning

August 8, 2016 by

TypewriterThis post originally appeared at the Christensen Institute on July 21, 2016.

In many circles, edtech and the future of learning have become synonymous. This is unsurprising given the enormous uptick in online courses and technology tools in K–12 schools nationwide, not to mention the promise that technology holds to dismantle barriers to access and experience that have plagued the education system for years.

Yet, with excitement over new gadgets and possibilities, schools and edtech entrepreneurs alike often miss a key step: defining what the ideal student experience should look like absent technology. Before building, trying, or buying new technology tools, we should start by asking, “In an analog world, how would we personalize learning to drive student outcomes?”

This question can refocus edtech enthusiasts on the right unit of innovation: instruction. All too often, when we talk about edtech innovations, technology takes the lead and instructional models are relegated to playing a supporting role. By first taking the time to imagine an ideal tech-free instructional model, schools can avoid the temptation to merely digitize their traditional systems or cram hardware into classrooms ill-equipped to take advantage of what technology can offer. Instead, by establishing an ideal vision of learning in a tech-free world, schools and edtech companies stand to more effortlessly deploy technology in a manner that predictably drives outcomes in the long run.

My colleague Thomas Arnett’s new case study, “Connecting ed & tech: Partnering to drive student outcomes,” highlights an example of a school, and one particularly innovative teacher, that took this order of operations to heart. Starting in 2008, Michael Fauteux, a veteran math teacher at Leadership Public Schools (LPS), created Academic Numeracy, a companion math course to Algebra 1 for all 9th graders who were below grade level in math. The course was designed in line with two textbooks and a supplemental online software program that Fauteux’s colleague, Todd McPeak, had developed. After showing dramatic results in students’ math scores, LPS expanded Academic Numeracy to all three schools in the San Francisco Bay Area network the following year. (more…)

Five Ways Learner Profiles Can Promote Competency-Based Education

October 22, 2015 by

Powering PersonalizationThis post originally appeared at Getting Smart on October 16, 2015.

Imagine a parent and student have access to and control of information about the student and could choose when and how to share that information with other stakeholders. Imagine that it is not only available 24 hours a day but stays with the family regardless of school transfer. An expanded learner profile could make this vision a reality by building on the current “official transcript” with an expanded electronic student record highlighting learner strengths, needs, interests, preferences and more. A learner profile could simultaneously drive personalization and safeguard privacy.

A student’s data backpack could be populated by a common set of data elements for all students and the components of each student’s learner profile could be further customized based on student needs, family decisions and data requirements.

Learner profiles have the potential to power personalized learning through better data that can inform learning in new and meaningful ways as well as facilitate a transition to a competency-based education system. Competency-based environments encourage ownership over learning and allow students to have flexibility in how they learn, how they demonstrate learning and advancing at a flexible pace and according to their own needs. For students with high mobility, competency-based education allows students to pick up right where they leave off. Learner profiles can play an important role in supporting competency-based learning.

Here are 5 ways learner profiles promote competency-based learning

1.Learner profiles encourage student ownership.

Chris Sturgis, co-founder of Competency Works, said, “Learner profiles should support student ownership of learning.” If a student can update his or her learner profile with information, including a collection of personal best work, the student can share his or her own work and even permit and control sharing capabilities.

Assessment of learning. Learner profiles can be used as part of a mechanism educators use to ensure mastery before moving to the next level. Expeditionary Learning schools require a year end Passages presentations, “an opportunity for students to reflect on their learning and their readiness to move on to the next phase of their education.”

A portfolio as part of a comprehensive profile provides an a structure for organizing a collection of personal bests linked to learning goals. A digital portfolio facilitates easy sharing with multiple stakeholder groups–parents, community members, prospective employers, and colleges. (more…)

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