There’s a teaching method tech billionaires love — here’s how teachers are learning it

From DIGITAL LEARNING TODAY, a Flipboard magazine by Jonathan Wylie

   Over the past few years, Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings have all endorsed a teaching method known as "personalized learning."

It involves students guiding their own lessons with the help of technology, while teachers take on more of a coaching role if problems emerge. For its apparent benefits in getting kids up to speed in reading and math, advocates have claimed it could — and should — become the future of US education.

But personalized learning is so new, many teachers still need to learn how it works.

Starting this academic year, one of the largest school networks using personalized learning, Summit Public Schools, is hosting a residency program to address that skills gap. Across eight locations in California, 24 teachers will spend one year learning the skills to personalize students' education in the future.

"We are modeling teaching through the student learning experience," Adam Carter, Summit's Chief Academic Officer, told Business Insider. This year, approximately 330 schools serving thousands of students in 40 states will use the Summit Learning Program in some capacity, whether online or in-person.

 Summit residents will learn how to teach personalized learning in the same way kids learn from it. Summit Public Schools

Four days a week, each resident teacher will be paired with a teacher in a Summit school. They'll spend the remaining school day working on their own. All the while, they'll learn about the strategies that makes personalized learning so appealing, according to leaders like Gates and Zuckerberg: Socratic discussions, small group workshops, and self-guided coursework.

The teachers will also convene in similar groups to learn about the style of teaching they'll be relying on. In that way, Summit hopes to generate a group of teachers that understand personalized learning inside and out because they, themselves, have learned through the method.

"Not only does this experience build expertise," Carter said, "but is also builds empathy for students." 

   By putting teachers in the same position as students, Summit expects them to develop greater empathy. Summit Public Schools

Summit doesn't expect personalized learning to become the default mode
of instruction in all schools, Carter said. Rather, the network wants
to continually adapt to what research says is most effective for helping
kids learn, even if that means abandoning personalized learning. Those
kinds of insights are determined by things like the needs of a given
school and its surrounding community.

The current research seems to support Summit's model for now. A study published last year
found that kids in 62 schools using personalized education scored
higher on reading and math standardized compared to kids learning
without personalized instruction. Many who were below-average scorers
ended up above-average.

In other countries with successful education programs, the
personalized model seems to be a deciding factor in success. Students in
Finland and Peru,
for example, receive personalized learning through cleverly designed
classrooms and mobile devices that allow students to work at their own

Residents in Summit's new program will ultimately earn a California
Preliminary Teacher Credential from Summit Public Schools. Summit may
also offer teachers a full-time job if they excel in their position.

"The real barriers to personalized learning have always been
structural," Carter said. "What we’re trying to do is provide new
structures that are more about students and less about how things have
always been done. The desire is there. The know how is there and the
systems are there. This is possible." 

Top 11 Teaching and Learning Articles of 2016

 It's that time of year to reflect on the "Best" books, movies, etc. and in this case "Best Teaching & Learning Articles of 2016" as ranked by Faculty Focus, an excellent resource for the teaching professor. Each article is approximately 700 words.

The ranking is based on a combination of factors, including e-newsletter open and click rates, social shares, reader comments, web traffic, reprint requests, and other reader engagement metrics.

11. Why Are We So Slow to Change the Way We Teach? 
10. Backward Design, Forward Progress
9. The Ugly Consequences of Complaining about ‘Students
8. Three Focusing Activities to Engage Students in the First Five Minutes of Class
Student Engagement Strategies for the Online Learning Environment
6. A Memo to Students about Studying for Finals
5. Six Things Faculty Can Do to Promote Student Engagement
4. A Practical Approach for Increasing Students’ In-Class Questions
3. Supporting Transgender Students in the Classroom
2. Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-Class Work
1. A Memo to My Students Re: College and the Real World

Higher Education – Futures Initiative- HASTAC

hastac logo

HASTAC or Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, recently published a learner-centered. peer-learning model. An excerpt: "Expertise is a slippery business. We teach a course, from the presumed position of, well, knowing it all. However, when you have command of your syllabus, your reading list, your schedule, your requirements, and your testing apparatus, you leave yourself, as a prof, very little room for revealing all the things you may not know. Face it, you may even be able to trick yourself into believing that you are the teacher because you have nothing left to learn."
Link to full article.

futures initiative