Project-Based & Personalized Learning
- Summit Public Schools combines playlists and projects on a platform built with help from Facebook engineers (see feature) and they are providing access to public school teams nationwide (see Summit Basecamp).
- Brooklyn Lab (feature) run by a couple features the husband running the schools and wife running the tech nonprofit.
- New Tech Network are 200 project-based schools using new personalized learning platform.
Place-Based & Online
This weekend I visited the Teton Science Schools (TSS, featured image) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The small network is a big leader in encouraging a connection of people and place by asking students to “inquire to understand the world and design solutions for the opportunities they discover.”
- Preparation to engage (e.g., adaptive reading that prepares to read and write about place);
- Mobile learning opportunities;
- Crowdsourced science: engaging students as environmental scientists; and
- Active citizens: public presentations and advocacy experiences.
One of my favorite examples is Houston A+ UP, a small middle school where students spend time in local museums every week.
Standards-Based & Interest-Based
So how to let kids follow their interests and make sure they learn what they need to? The intersection of for-me and for-degree learning is the most interesting design opportunity of our time–but it requires a paradoxical commitment to student-centered learning and quality preparation for college and careers.
We can see signs of progress in interest-based learning in the personal growth space: modular mobile learning, quantified self, peer and social supports, game-based strategies, and learner analytics.
In a recent post on preparing youth for the gig economy, we featured Udemy, the leading online marketplace, as a good example of just-in-time-learning. Their work with associations and businesses focuses on competency maps but course consumption is individually driven. (Learn how the Udemy CEO thinks about differences by sector discussed here).
The shift in teacher development from sit-and-get courses to just-in-time resources is another important development. We published a paper on micro-credentials with BloomBoard last month and last year wrote a paper with Digital Promise on micro-credentials in leadership development.
New platforms (like the 3 discussed above) make it easier for teachers and students to shape projects that explore interests while developing standards-based skills.
Like any advance, blended learning can be thin and poorly implemented or–where leaders value relationships, broader aims, and place-based assets–can empower rich learning environments. It starts “and/both” leadership.
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