Saturday, October 1, 2016

Personalized Learning

For years now I've wanted to dive into personalized learning. Providing students with the opportunity to learn about what they want, how they want, at their pace. Of course, with the demands of standards and pacing guides this can be tricky. And yet, I've found a few different ways to do it.

1) Genius Hour - My current schedule is designed for daily intervention. A time built into the day for students to receive additional support with reading, writing, and math. Because it is highly unlikely that all of my students will be receiving daily intervention, I have begun to introduce Genius Hour to them. An opportunity for them to become experts in things they are passionate about. Some are exploring space, hover boards, and sharks. And all are eager to create something to share what they learn (even though they haven't begun to learn about it yet).

I am using this research model to take them through the research process.

2) Playlists - I discovered this idea on Cult of Pedagogy. I used this idea while designing our current sound unit. My students had generated most of the questions that are on the playlist (& just so happen meet CT science standards) and I've provided them with resources to choose from to answer their questions.

I used Google Docs to create the playlist and then sent it to students via Google Classroom. So far, what I like is that students are watching and reading resources multiple times. Interestingly, they are doing that more than the experiments!

One thing that I'm finding is tricky is keeping it personalized while having them share their learning each day & teaching them important skills before they head off on their own. I truly want them to be at different places in the playlist and have to work on encouraging them to progress at their own pace and not mine - even if I'm providing mini-lesson they can move ahead of me!

3) Courses - I stumbled upon Versal two weeks ago and just created a mini math unit. I am adjusting to a new math curriculum/program and wanted to find a way to have a workshop model and meet the diverse needs of my math students. I plan to launch it this upcoming week and hope to use it to launch the next science unit.

What I like about Versal so far is that I can embed content, create interactive visuals (haven't done that yet), and that it sets up like an informational text or website.

I am eager to see how the children self-differentiate for themselves. I set the course up to provide resources for children who may need remediation, enrichment, or not. It's my hope (and intention to teach) that they reflect each day on how well they understand the concept just taught and choose activities to match.

I am enjoying guiding my students through a self directed learning process. And I cannot wait to create more. One thing that I struggle with is the pacing. True personalized learning occurs at the students' pace. I've had to create deadlines because I have to eventually wrap up a unit. I'm sure I'll work it out!