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Feb 19, 2018

Sam J. Brooks
Expert Advisor

Answer
As a BLU Forum Expert advisor, I am wondering what the term "personalized learning" means in YOUR district?

2 answers

Andrew Frishman, Expert Advisor, Mar 9, 2018

I feel that as a field of education, we've been spending FAR FAR too much time discussing what various people think personalized learning is. As far as I am concerned, this is "settled law." Please see this piece by Natalie Abel of iNACOL who makes a VERY compelling case for why

Meaning Matters: Defining and Differentiating Personalized Learning, Blended Learning and Competency Education<https://www.inacol.org/news/meaning-matters-defining-and-differentiating-personalized-learning-blended-learning-and-competency-education/

Rebekah Kim, Expert Advisor, Mar 9, 2018

I have spent a great deal of time as a building and central office administrator researching and finding various definitions that are being used to define PL and how this is different than blended learning. There isn't a magic definition out there.

We have worked with Getting Smart during a recent retreat, read through various texts such as iNACOL's whitepaper and studied districts that have been highlighted as doing the best work across the nation through The Learning Counsel. We have also learned from various organizations that we are partnered with. This has helped to inform our understanding from various resources but making it personal and aligned to our district has helped to create a meaningful vision.

What we have found in our study of definitions are common words, some what I would call buzz words. We have also found core values named, such as the important work around equity, in various definitions. I believe that this is defined with three important factors:

1. Where are you as as system (learning structures, strategies and resources)?

2.What are your system's core values?

3.How do you couple your current state (1) and core values (2) with development of student's personalized pathways?

We have refined our definition this year so it names our core value around equity and names that conditions for learning need to be in place. This is when we can start talking about "voice and choice," and "student agency." A lot of practitioners are using these terms to define what PL is but I want to double click on that term and hear what it looks and sounds like when leadership and adults in the system are owning the work. Our mission is to know students by name, strength and need. I believe that using an action-oriented vision around personalized learning will help us to reach this mission.

Our district vision for PL: "Personalized Learning enriches and provides equitable opportunities for every student in Highline. Our learning environments are responsive and adaptive to the strengths and needs of each student. Instructional resources and data-based planning provides students with personalized learning pathways in how they access and show mastery of standards-based content."

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