It is my deeply held belief that school really should be about preparing kids for life, but not just in the traditional liberal arts view of exposing them to deep thinking and the power of learning and not just in the current fashion of economic preparedness that focuses on creating workers. American public school should operate as an equalizer, giving all kids the opportunity to better themselves, to create their own world of opportunity, to open doors for them. It should do so by giving kids learning experiences that are personal and common, customized and shared, unique and collaborative all at the same time. After thirteen years in school, our students should come out ready to greet the world with inquisitiveness, with an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, with a deep sense of inner creativity and a connection to the world that is both emotional and intellectual. Kids should leave our high schools as young adults with a vision for the world and a dream for their own experience of that world.
Our district has been deeply diving into what personalized learning means for us and for the future of school for our students, teachers, parents, and community. For us, the definition of personalized learning really revolves around the tenets you see in the graphic below. I will be doing a series of five blogs postings talking about each one these tenets.
Each one of the tenets are essential to providing kids with a high quality, rigorous, and meaningful school experience that prepares them to be successful citizens and all around cool people. We believe that the tenets of personalized learning are the tools/processes/mindsets necessary to design school to prepare kids to be awesome college and career ready graduates.
For us, a learner profile is the foundation of relationships with kids. Kids learn best when they have strong relationships with caring adults. A learner profile is one way to ensure that teachers know about their kids. They need to know academic background, behavior background, attendance background. They need to know about skills gaps and areas of deficiency. Teachers need to know about areas of strength and aptitude where kids excel. Teachers need to know about what kids find interesting, where they have ability, and what they can do. It needs to include a portfolio of student work as well. This can be housed in a profile that kids, parents, and teachers can see and monitor and use. This needs to be an easily accessible, intuitive, and focused platform that integrates information from a variety of places into one dashboard.
We see the learner profile also including a personalized learning plan that is co-created and monitored by teachers, students, and parents. This PLP serves as a place to plan and track learning for the student towards demonstration of mastery of high school and beyond. The tool for the PLP should be able to list the competencies and courses kids need to complete based on their plan and have a consistently updated progress monitor of that progress toward mastery. This is where kids take ownership, responsibility, and an active role in their own education.
The Learner Profile is more than a piece of software. The PLP is more than a set of aspirations. The two tools work in concert to provide student voice, autonomy, and purpose to the educational process and act of doing school for kids and parents. This is a radical shift from doing school TO kids and instead engaging in learning WITH kids.
Check out more at www.henry.k12.ga.us/personalizedlearning