Frequently Asked Questions
What is personalized learning?
Personalized learning is a term that encompasses teaching and learning best practices that are different than the structured education system that has been in place for generations. Personalized learning represents a shift in philosophy from doing teaching and learning to students, to doing teaching and learning with students.
Here are key elements of personalized learning practices:
- Students are taught explicitly how to become an advocate for their own learning. This may include setting and reflecting upon goals, using feedback to assess progress, reflecting on standards that have been met and standards yet to meet, creating projects to demonstrate learning and student led conferencing.
- Learning progress is charted by mapping student mastery of competencies and standards. As students get older, they take on the responsibility for charting their progress to develop more ownership over their learning.
- Personalized learning practices require that teachers know their students very well. Specifically, they will know how students prefer to access information, engage in content and demonstrate their learning.
- Providing choice is motivational to students. Teachers develop a partnership with their students and find ways in which student learning preferences and personal interests can be incorporated into the lessons. Flexible pacing allows students to learn at a pace that works for them, although a minimum pacing is expected to keep learners on track.
- K-12 teachers gradually release control to the students for making decisions regarding learning. Although the journey for this gradual release may begin in kindergarten in small ways, it can become very robust and in depth by the time a student is a senior.
- Space is used to facilitate personalized learning as different room sizes and furniture provide learning spaces for small, medium and large group learning.
More frequently asked questions:
Technology (computers, tablets, probes, digital cameras, heart rate monitors, calculators, internet access, etc.) is a tool commonly used in the workplace and in schools. Technology is a support structure for personalizing learning, with the teacher functioning as the coordinator of learning for all of our learning environments.
In most classrooms, when the teacher is setting the learning pace, all students are expected to learn at the same rate. In a personalized learning environment, students have the opportunity to advance their learning as they demonstrate mastery of competencies and standards. As students show proficiency in the required standards, they will have opportunity to develop competency in additional standards.
Policy 620 Course Credit for Learning allows students who are entering high school the opportunity to demonstrate what they know before taking a course. If they pass the assessment or portfolio process, the student earns credit for that course and can move onto the next course in the sequence or take an additional elective. Policy 513 Student Promotion, Acceleration, Retention and Early Kindergarten Admission allows for students to advance at a pace that is appropriate for them.
In addition to these policies, professional development is ongoing in which teachers are learning and sharing strategies for supporting learners who have different academic readiness needs. These trainings include components of Professional Learning Communities and Personalized Learning.
Assessment will always be a combination of real time measures (formative) during the learning, and standardized measures (after the learning). The intent of formative assessment is to help the learner and teacher understand where the learner is in the learning process and thus inform next steps to support the student. The intent of standardized measures are to ensure high levels of learning for all learners in the system.
Resulting data offers teachers, program coordinators, and administrators meaningful and relevant information to examine the learning that occurred.
Each year student growth and achievement is measured through the Assessment Plan posted on the district website. Academic achievement will continue to be monitored. Also, other non-academic factors will be studied including engagement, attendance, and discipline to name a few. Personalized Learning may be a new term but the practice is not new and has been around for many years in Edina. Our commitment to the community is to grow each brain as much as we can, given the time we have.
Personalized learning involves teaching explicit skills to help students become better advocates for their learning, such as: setting and monitoring learning goals; tracking learning progress by learning target or standard; learning about ways to successfully access information; effective ways to engage with information; learning about ways they can successfully express information.
As students develop skills to better manage and advance their learning, teachers can dedicate more time to build relationships that meet the unique needs of each learner (i.e. becoming more familiar with learner strengths and challenges).
Personalized learning, or designing learning around students' distinctive academic needs and even their personal interests, has been a long standing practice in education. All learning is personal in that it takes place in the brain of the individual. The practices used to make the learning personal and create an engaging, meaningful environment are constantly evolving.