The Shift to Personal Digital Learning-Palm Springs Edition

I met with California educators today at CUE12.  Like the conversation in Chandler yesterday, we discussed the shift to personal digital learning.
There were two striking comments.  The first was about the importance of instructional design.  Now that there are more options, it’s more important than ever to be intentional about the string of learning experiences we create for students.  We discussed a couple models:

  • Vendor as architect: proprietary vendor platforms with comprehensive curriculum but with little ability to modify
  • Curriculum Director as architect: what used to be a sequence of district adopted textbooks is replaced by a prescribed sequence of standards-aligned digital materials
  • Principal as architect: some schools like E.L Haynes (discussed in a LearnZillion post last week) have a coherent  teacher-crafted curriculum
  • Teacher as architect: platforms like Edmodo and open content have made it easier for teachers to mash up a custom curriculum for groups of students.

The explosion of instructional materials requires every school and district to have a conversation about roles and relationships in instructional design.
The shift to competency-based learning (as described in this iNACOL paper) where students move at their own rate requires new school models, and a new level of across-school collaboration, and a new conception of curriculum and instructional design.
The other important conversation today was about the challenging state of affairs in California education.  California is low marks on the Digital Learning Now scorecard for inadequate and inefficient funding, barriers to access, seat time requirements, and weak infrastructure.  Like most states, California has school improvement vendors collecting a lot  of money but not contributing to a coherent blended learning architecture.
The shift to digital learning holds great promise for students but it requires strong state and district leadership.  We appreciate David Haglund and his proposed California Student Bill of Rights.  California could use more leadership like that in Sacramento.
For more see these related posts:

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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