Building The Basics of Personalized Professional Learning


Reposted from edSurge:

Personalization is hard –  but not for the reasons that you may be thinking. Choosing the right content and software is daunting. Creating adaptive paths for learning is extremely complex. Developing sets of competencies for your learners is an arduous task. But, none of these are the truly hard part. The hard part is understanding the “person” in personalization. The person is more than just the needs that you have identified and are trying to “fix”. The person is more than just a means to getting better student assessment scores. Seeing this person clearly is hard. But, it is also essential.

The process of creating a Professional Learning Profile (using the SNIC model) is something that helps us see teachers and leaders more clearly, and provide supports that better match where they are. This is a collaborative process and requires us to iterate upon it as growth occurs, but this is only the beginning of how we ensure a true framework for Personalized Professional Learning.

Deeply personalized professional learning has the power to change practice in exponential ways. By starting with the whole “Person” and determining the Strengths, Needs, Interests and Constraints (SNIC), the learning can be fully owned by the learner. This “Personalization Profile” is an entry point for professional learning, but in order to fully support the learner, we must consider the ways teachers and leaders engage in professional learning through their Choice, Transparency, and Reflection. These are the three pillars of Professionalized Professional Learning, and it is by understanding them that we can start to build a system that supports the growth of all of our teachers and leaders.

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A Challenge to Educators with Innovative Ideas


Reposted from EdTech Digest:

Teacherpreneurs are teachers solving problems through scalable edtech start-ups. We’ve lived through the systemic issues facing education and we’re able to use strategies that we know will work to solve them. I’d like to challenge educators who have innovative ideas to try their hand at building a business. Rather than subjecting yourself to a new “program” that may or may not work, you’ll have concrete affirmation or denial through the market itself. Every educator I’ve ever spoken with has a unique perspective on the classroom. You’re already doing invaluable and groundbreaking things in your classroom and the rest of the world deserves to share in your success.

We’re launching an experimental answer: a Kickstarter campaign for Adaptive History. BirdBrain History will be our second content area of adaptive and differentiated reading. We’re an early start-up that’s served over 50,000 students and teachers in the last year. In no way does this mean it’ll be easy. To date, the only edtech tool that’s run a successful large-scale crowdfunding campaign was Mathalicious in 2012! Our goal is to create the most accessible curriculum tool on the market for students to read and schools to pay for.

If you don’t know where to start, there is a growing network of edtech entrepreneurs and do-gooders that would love to connect with you. Teach For America connects their alumni through the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, and you’re able to connect with many other education enthusiasts through local Meetups, Accelerator events and StartupWeekendEDU.

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Sir Ken Robinson on Individualization, Localization and Respect for Educators [VIDEO 19:12]

Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish, and how current education culture works against them. In a humorous, conversational talk he shares how Death Valley is never really dead, and that there are always seeds of possibility lying dormant just below the surface ready to blossom when the right conditions are met. The parallels he draws for schools and students is inspiring and worth twenty minutes of your time.

The Socratic Oath for Educators


Today the BBC reports that Tristram Hunt, Member of Parliament and shadow education secretary, publicly called for a public oath teachers take committing themselves to the values of their profession. Like the Hippocratic Oath for doctors, this educator oath would espouse all of the aspirations of a dedicated education professional. It is generally held that Hippocrates or one of his students wrote the Hippocratic Oath in the 5th century BC. It invokes Apollo, the Greek god of healing, at its outset. You can read the modern Hippocratic Oath, revised in 1964, in its entirety here. But what would an oath for educators look like?

Perhaps it should follow the spirit and structure of the Hippocratic Oath, but be rephrased to reflect the unique charge of professional educators to society. And rather than Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, this oath should bear the name of the father of western thinking; Socrates.

Keeping this in mind, I have crafted a proposed oath for professional educators – a Socratic Oath – for your consideration. Thank you to everyone who offered feedback and input in refining this important creed for educators everywhere!

“I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won gains of those educators in whose steps I follow, and gladly share such knowledge with my colleagues. I will not enter into any relationship that creates even the appearance of impropriety in ethically carrying out this creed. My sole professional responsibility is to students, helping them to take charge of their learning, health and happiness.

I will not hurt any student, and I will protect all learners from harm. I will remember that there is art to learning as well as science, and that caring, empathy, social, emotional and physical development are as critical as intellectual achievement. I will apply, for the benefit of each student, all available instructional supports and resources, in the knowledge and conviction that we each learn differently, and that everyone can learn.

In all things, it is my charge to prepare learners to participate as citizens of a global society. I will not be ashamed to say “I do not know” as I model inquiry, risk-taking, collaboration, perseverance and resilience for students and colleagues alike.

I will respect the dignity of my students and their families, for they are entrusted into my care. I will not judge others, and I will tread with care as they work through challenges and frustrations. Everyone deserves many chances to dream, learn and be successful.

I will inspire all learners to be and do their best. I do not work to achieve minimum proficiencies, nor am I charged with teaching to the lowest common denominator. Learning is an iterative process, and I will work to instill that inner discourse within each student.

I will remember that I am a member of humankind, contributing to its future; the future for which I prepare all students. I will foster a learning environment where each learner is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged, so that they may flourish at their current interest and ability levels and grow to realize their full potential.

In honoring this oath, may I enjoy a robust career, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May my legacy preserve the finest traditions of my profession, and leave this world a better place than I found it. Most importantly, may I spark in students a healthy curiosity, a thirst for discovery, and the hunger to be life-long learners who contribute to the greater good.”

I hope you are as pleased with this refined version of the oath as I am, incorporating the edits and revisions suggested by each of you here in your comments and by email.

You can view the oath at the Surfaquarium here.

Walter sig