Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What is personalized learning?

    Posted by: Melanie Hadaway

    Personalized learning is structuring schools, classrooms and instruction to better respond to the individual needs of students, instead of expecting them to fit the current mold or adapt to structures that may not be successful for them. We have teachers using elements of personalized learning in their classrooms right now.

     

    Personalized learning shifts from the one-size-fits-all factory model of education to better prepare students for the jobs and needs of their future. We will directly connect students to learning that meets the demands of their future work environment.

     

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  • Why is the school district moving to personalized learning?

    Posted by:

    With the current education model it's challenging to fully meet the individual learning needs of every student. Personalized Learning has been shown to significantly increase student achievement, offering individualized instruction which leads to high student engagement and self-direction.

     

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  • What role will teachers play in this shift?

    Posted by:

    Teachers are at the core of the personalized learning initiative. Education Elements will be guiding teachers through the process of creating a personalized learning model that will work for their classroom.

     

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  • Are teachers going to be replaced by technology?

    Posted by:

    With personalized learning, the teacher is more important than ever! Technology is only one tool among many that teachers will have available to them to provide an individualized path and pace for students. Personalized learning promotes purposeful uses for technology that can transform instruction through the use of integrated digital content with the current curriculum.

     

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  • What does integrated digital content mean?

    Posted by:

    Integrated digital content is the use of high quality digital tools to enhance learning for students, making it easier for teachers to provide an individualized path and pace for students. Students who haven't mastered concepts can take advantage of opportunities for extra practice or remediation. Digital content can also create extension opportunities for students who are ready to advance.

     

    Integrated digital content does not mean students will be isolated on a device for entire classes. Teachers will be able to actively find ways to integrate digital content into their curriculum, providing deeper learning through reinforcement and practice at the whatever level the student may be.

     

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  • Won't more digital content just increase "screen time" for kids?

    Posted by:

    The term “screen time” is a phrase used to describe a passive use of technology, such as watching television.

    In an educational environment, technology is used to actively engage students in learning that emphasizes 21st century skills such as creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.

    Further, integrating devices and transitioning to digital learning does not mean students will use a device or digital content for every class/subject, every day. Technology is one learning tool among many.

     

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  • What data/documentation shows that Personalized Learning leads to positive results?

    Posted by:

    Full submitted question: What data or documentation shows that PL has achieved all the results you say it has with the same population of students as the FNSBSD?


    There is a lot of research and evidence about ways personalized learning increases student achievement. One of the reasons we engaged with Education Elements is that they’ve worked with a wide variety of districts with different demographics, sizes, etc. Is there a district that is exactly like Fairbanks? No. However, our district has connected with district leadership in other areas, such as the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township in Indiana, that are similar. Overall, districts that have fully engaged in a personalized learning model show increased test scores, student engagement, and reduced dropout.


    I think it’s important to note that our approach to personalized learning centers on four core concepts:

    1.   Integrated Digital Content
    2.   Data-informed Decision Making
    3.   Targeted Instruction
    4.   Student Reflection and Ownership


    None of these four concepts are new in education, and in fact, these same practices show up in analysis of good teaching, from the works of researchers like Robert Marzano to Charlotte Danielson. While the focus is certainly new, and the term “Personalized Learning” is new, the strategies behind the term are not.


    As we roll out Personalized Learning, we’ll also be identifying metrics for measuring our success so we can evaluate how it's working here in Fairbanks.

    More info can be found on the Articles & Research page.

     

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  • What is the role of Education Elements?

    Posted by:

    Education Elements works with districts across the country to build and support dynamic methods of teaching to meet the needs of every learner. We are a team of seasoned educators, designers, technologists, and change management experts. Our work with school districts across the country means we have a deep well of knowledge to draw from, with ample case studies from other school districts illustrating challenges and successes in the journey to personalized learning. We take the time to understand the unique challenges school leaders face and then customize training and support for each district.

     

    While we can share what has worked elsewhere, we also seek to understand the culture and context of each district and school. We began our work with Fairbanks by spending time visiting and listening to teachers, administrators, and staff members in order to understand the unique challenges of your district. We have since begun working with teams of teachers and principals from every elementary schools to help them gain a foundational knowledge of personalized learning and to design classroom models that will best meet the needs of students.

     

    At the same time, we have been working with a cross-functional district team, called the Personalized Learning Council, to ensure alignment exists at both the district and school levels. We have found this work with districts to be essential; districts need to understand personalized learning in order to adequately support the changing needs of schools. We are also working with the PL Council to create a vision of success for what they seek to accomplish through personalized learning, and we will continue to work with the district to make that vision a reality.

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