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Oversimplifying Personalized Learning (Response to  Brookings)

WRITTEN BY Doug Mesecar UNDER: Media Responses, Personalized Learning April 20, 2016

The potentially transformational approach to education called personalized learning is increasingly being embraced by public schools across the country. But it is important that personalized learning not simply be lumped in with any change in the classroom, or that it be viewed as an unattainable goal; indeed, there are clear ways to articulate what personalized learning is, where it is taking off with comprehensive fidelity, and how it can continue to spread to more schools and districts.

Defining and Visioning Blended Learning: The Learning Accelerator Goes Deeper

WRITTEN BY Doug Mesecar UNDER: Personalized Learning April 03, 2016

The Learning Accelerator (TLA), a national non-profit organization that is, in their words, “seeking to transform K-12 education by accelerating the implementation of high-quality blended learning in school districts across the US through cultivating and funding the supporting ecosystem” is out with a new, expansive, experience-informed vision for blended learning.

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From Good to Great Through Personalized Learning in Loudoun County, Virginia

WRITTEN BY Doug Mesecar UNDER: Virginia, Personalized Learning March 28, 2016

 Executive Summary

This fall, Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools will introduce a new personalized learning approach in 15 elementary and secondary schools, adding a powerful strategy to the district’s overall vision of preparing students for an increasingly competitive, but collaborative world.

Moving deliberatively – and quickly – to bring personalized learning to the large district may prove to be a key strategy in moving Loudoun to deeper, more relevant learning. Details follow.

 From a Fear of Change to a Fear of Not Changing

Is personalized learning needed in a large, successful, suburban school district?

To some, leading Loudoun County Public Schools might seem like an ideal situation to maintain the status quo, to not rock the boat.

Loudoun County, located in bucolic northern Virginia just outside Washington, DC, has been consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. The biggest challenge facing Loudoun County schools would appear to be the explosive population growth in the county, which has doubled since 2000.  The school system has been building multiple schools every year to keep pace.   But for two innovative educational leaders who came to Loudoun in the last two years, just maintaining consistently good academic performance and coping with growth was not enough.  Dr. Eric Williams, who became superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) in 2014, and Cindy Ambrose, the new Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, realized they had an even more difficult challenge than growth: how to deepen and enrich student learning beyond producing strong summative assessment results.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

Agreeing with Diane Ravitch: Pedagogy Before Technology

WRITTEN BY Doug Mesecar UNDER: Media Responses March 16, 2016

In a recent blog post, Diane Ravitch writes in the first line, “I wish that all those who appreciate the wonders of technology would frankly admit its limitations.”  Well, I’m here to admit it.  But not in the way Dr. Ravitch might wish.

Empire State Recommendations for Blended and Online Learning

WRITTEN BY Doug Mesecar February 12, 2016

Blended learning and online learning increase course options for students and can transform face-to-face instruction if accompanied by state-level supports, including professional development opportunities for teachers and related training for pre-service teachers, according to a new report from the New York State Online Learning Advisory Council.  

KIPP Empower Does it Again

WRITTEN BY Don Soifer UNDER: KIPP Empower, California January 29, 2016

KIPP Empower Academy has done it again. On the 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Exam, KIPP Empower students substantially outperformed students at neighborhood LAUSD elementary schools, and across all of LAUSD in both English Language Arts and math.  In fact, their high-poverty population of South Los Angeles students outperformed 93 percent of all public elementary schools in California.

Supporting Technology to Support Teaching and Learning

WRITTEN BY Don Soifer UNDER: Media Responses, Utah January 23, 2016

In the competitive environment of today's economy, observes the Salt Lake Tribune's editorial page.  "The winners will be the ones who maximize both the human and the technological components of learning."

Professional Development Resources for Personalized Blended Learning

WRITTEN BY Doug Mesecar January 16, 2016

Now is the time when districts start crafting budgets for the upcoming school year. For those embarking on personalized blended learning, or those already underway, serious consideration should be given to the time, funding, and strategy devoted to professional development (PD) because blended learning is a fundamental shift in strategy and pedagogy, not a tactic or some extra technology.

New Study: Middletown, NY Personalizes Learning to Narrow Achievement Gaps

WRITTEN BY Don Soifer UNDER: New York, Personalized Learning December 23, 2015

This new study from the Lexington Institute details the deliberate, structured and thoughtful implementation of personalized learning in The Enlarged City School District of Middletown, New York.

Paying for Personalized Learning In The ESSA World: What States & Districts Need to Know

WRITTEN BY Doug Mesecar UNDER: Every Student Succeeds Act December 18, 2015

Districts looking to implement personalized blended learning can look to the new federal education law for help.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) strongly encourages personalized educational strategies, including through blended learning, and attempts to ensure more equitable access to technology and digital learning experiences.