Whitney PetersonChicago, ILOctober 27, 2017
We heard from many voices during the 2017 iNACOL Symposium in Orlando, FL about a wide range of topics including competency education, personalized learning, and technology innovation in the classroom. Here are some of our key takeaways:
1. Supporting agency is the key to unlocking growth in all students: The student panel gave the iNACOL Symposium a much needed perspective about the need for agency from learners themselves. Students need agency to get to know themselves and understand how they learn best, which they noted is more important than simply learning standards and taking tests. In this way, agency is a foundation for growth even in the face of failure. Importantly, one of the student panelists noted: “I don’t think about failing. I’m just never done learning.”
2. Using evidence is the most effective way to inform personalized instruction: Bror Saxberg, a language science researcher from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, delivered a keynote diving into the science behind learners’ needs and made the case for personalized learning. By recognizing the individual differences motivation, educators can create a path forward together with the student. Identifying gaps in learning motivation is critical to improving individual learning for everyone.
3. The teacher will always be the most powerful tool: According to Jordan Tinney, Superintendent of Surrey in British Columbia, teachers are critical in students’ lives because they are the designers of the landscape that students learn in. While tools and structures for the education system may change, the teacher provides the essential human connection to form the whole that comprises learning.
4. Achieving equity for all students is critical to improving opportunities across the board: Caroline Hill shared her experiences in focusing on equity to improve learning and understanding for all students. She highlighted the power structure and governing ideas behind statements we make without even knowing it, and the opportunity for the system to change to achieve equality. This will ensure that all students, and not simply the most privileged ones, get the opportunities they deserve.
5. Re-thinking education is key to supporting all students to succeed: Diane Tennever, CEO of Summit Public Schools, shared her experience in implementing a personalized learning model for her students. Although in the past high school diplomas have been sufficient to allow students to succeed in life, now there is a need to re-think the diploma to help students truly change their circumstances. In order to create innovation and enable this change to happen, she said, design should come from the edge of collective knowledge.
If you want to re-think education and unlock potential for all of your students, take a look through our Solutions for your classroom and school. We're looking forward to seeing everyone for the 2018 iNACOL Symposium in Nashville, TN!