Personalization: The New Frame

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For nearly 20 years standards-based reform has framed American K-12 education. With the end of NCLB, a new frame is emerging, it’s still a little fuzzy and not nearly as monolithic, but it appears to have for pillars: broader aims including work readiness, social and emotional learning; personalized learning (while protecting student privacy), expanding formal and informal learning opportunities; and, on a slower timeline, progression based on mastery.

This new frame is evident in EdTech startups, new school grant programs, school district strategies, and emerging educator preparation programs. As a frame it looser and more more dynamic. It will require educators and those of us that support them to accelerate personal learning and to remain flexible when working with schools at different stages of digital development.

Everybody had something they hated about NCLB, but it represented a bipartisan commitment to equity and excellence. Let’s make sure they are part of the new frame.

This week we were excited to join BSG Team Ventures with the edBurst Update where may of the below stories were sourced.


Organizational learning


  • Check out my interview with Edsurge on why we need partnerships that use the right form of capital for the the job: private capital is good at innovation; public funds are good at equity; philanthropic investment is good at the long view.
  • EdThena had a great EdWeek post on riding the EdPolicy wave to impact. Here’s 30 trends and how you can turn them into impact.

Et Alia

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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