Skip to main content

The Simple WHY of Personalized Learning

Everyone needs motivation to push a little further. There needs to be a reason to make that effort. There needs to be a “why”.
At the completion of an instructional unit, I ask my students 3 questions:
  1. What helped you learn
  2. What didn't help you learn
  3. What's one thing I should try to improve your learning
At the end of the current term, I asked those questions again. The results were clear. My students have diametrically opposed needs which is the WHY of personalized learning.  Based on these results, I need to personalize even more.

Helped Me Learn Didn’t Help Me Learn

  • Canvas problems

  • The canvas problems.

  • Flexibility of the class, as well as interactive presentations. 

  • I didn't like the somewhat flexible due dates because they make it difficult for me to be motivated to finish my work.

  • The canvas quizzes allowed me to learn on my own

  • I did not learn as well when we had to learn individually.

  • The group projects helped me the most.  Not only was it more engaging, but it also helped teach me more about the application of physics in the real world.

  • Group projects.

  • The notes in class (with a printed copy) really helped me. I liked how you went through everything in the notes and explained it in a way that was easy to understand.

  • Lecture Style Notes

  • The different test options so I could choose the best way for me to show my learning.

  • the multiple different methods of learning and the multiple opportunities to obtain the material

The other big takeaways were that students loved both Pear Deck and Kahoot.  They are both large group interactive pieces of web based software.  They allow students to process knowledge in real time with peers.  I will continue to find more ways to incorporate these into my classroom.  As for the things they recommended I should try, that will need to be a part of my action plan for next term.  Also, no one liked the course hardcover AP textbook.  I will continue to find and incorporate more online learning resources into Canvas to help.

Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  

In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.

Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…