Today's education have made students meet higher and more complex expectations, particularly when expectations are measured and met with mandated assessments. In the same light, teachers face difficult challenges in providing appropriate interventions and in scaffolding student learning experiences to prepare them for future grade levels. When I was in school, I recall undergoing several testing moments that led to being conscious and worried about grades. There were limited opportunities where I experienced authentic and self-directed learning, and when it did happen, I noticed how more open I was in building better understanding.
When developing self-directed learners, it is important to teach them to be properly independent. Part of this teachable moment includes the use of meaningful rubrics that learners can relate with and understand. Below is an example of a rubric that can support self-directed learners by @awordonthird . More details can be found in this link, https://bit.ly/3vfh0Xv
As campus administrators, we support teachers in designing standards-aligned lessons that deliver student-centered learning experiences according to learners' different needs.
As you explore the slide deck below, click on the linkable images and identify some meaningful ideas, best practices for content delivery, and resources for relevant active and blended learning integration that you can add to your administrator toolbox.
I have been using Canva for at least a couple of years now and I continue to be amazed with the different templates, free access to videos/photos/audio, and creative themes to create Bitmoji classrooms, social media posts (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, etc.), graphic organizers, newsletters, graphic design, and many more. Another wonderful fact about Canva is that the app allows you to use some leverage with a Free Account, but I would encourage you to go Pro if you could since that is when added features come to life (e.g. sharing to Instagram, present and record, sharing to Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, etc.)! For more information, you can visit a blog post in TCEA's technotes, created by Emily Hopkins, "Canva for Education: The Ultimate Template Tool."
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a pedagogical approach that emphasizes proper and relevant research-based understanding as well as meaningful strategies for all types of students, particularly those who may need additional support to bridge gaps in learning. The UDL Guidelines provides valuable information on the three (3) major components of UDL, i.e. Engagement, Representation, and Action & Expression. The images below links to websites that you can click to access and visit.
During the ISTE 2019 convention, one of the interesting sessions that I attended was about the presentation on using visual design and learning as a vehicle in developing creative student voice. With Steve Wick's (@WickedEdTech) presentation, "Creative Student Voice: Visual Design and Learning", he explains the importance of providing essential activities that support students to explore and create visuals connected to creative student voice. Below are some resources shared during Wick's ISTE 2019 presentation. By clicking on each image, you will gain access to deeper and richer resources:
Visual Design and Learning Presentation
Creative Visual Design Challenges
Design Resources for Educators and Students
Creative Student Voice Resources
The added "bonus" in Wick's ISTE 2019 presentation is the connection he made with ISTE Standards for Students and Educators. As I am in still the process of completing my portfolio to obtain my ISTE certification with TCEA (@TCEA), I am motivated by fellow educators who believe in the significance of applying ISTE Standards in their everyday learning, as well as in teaching others to become innovative in their instructional practices. Below are some of the ISTE standards for Students and Educators that can be connected in developing creative student voice and choice as part of students' everyday learning and teachers' commitment in being lifelong learners.
ISTE Standards Targets
A Reflection on "What Principals Really Think About Tech" [Education Week article, April 17, 2018]
In the Education Week article, "What Principals Really Think About Tech" by Benjamin Herold, it is interesting to read about the way principals perceive about personalized learning environment, including who the principals think pushes personalized learning. As shown below, twenty-eight (28) percent of the principals surveyed in this article thinks that personalized learning is a transformational way to improve public education. In addition, Twenty-three (23) percent of the principals surveyed believes that personalized learning is a promising idea, while thirty-one (31) percent thinks that personalized learning is one of the many school improvement strategies available to them. The rest of the principals surveyed shared that personalized learning is not on their radar screen, is a passing fad, or a threat to public education.
With the question, "Who do principals think is pushing personalized learning?", fifty-five (55) percent of the principals surveyed responded that technology companies or vendors pushes personalized learning. On the other hand, forty-six (46) percent of the principals surveyed think that district leaders pushes personalized learning, while thirty-one (31) percent of the principals surveyed identified the students as an influencer.
My Personal Thoughts
This article was written on April 17, 2018 and from this date, there had been more articles, journals, and research papers that have explored into the different facets of personalized learning. This deep dive has resulted to additional findings, possibilities, and connections that paved ways for teachers, principals, and district administrators to gain information and knowledge about personalized learning. Some information have been useful that inspired some school leaders to take risks in adopting innovative best practices to develop student-centered learning environments. Even in this day and age, many school leaders are hesitant in implementing personalized learning as part of providing differentiation in student learning. It seems that one of the major reasons of their hesitancy is the expectation for students to perform well in state/federal-mandated assessments, which had been a huge challenge to many public school districts to sustain funding support and academic freedom. Assessments as we all know, such as in the state of Texas, is a well-known tool and strategy to identify and define campus or district performance. For this reason, the intense emphasis on performing well as a campus and as a district according to state/federal-mandated assessments has placed deep stress for all school community stakeholders.
Recently, I have immersed myself in further reading to understand personalized learning better and how this style of teaching and learning impacts my line of work as a seasoned educator. Personalized learning, in many ways, had been associated and connected with the use of web-based learning systems to deliver content, instruction, and support student engagement (Chen, 2008). This trend had led to the development of more e-learning systems with accompanying features that support individualized learning among potential learners through personalized learning paths. These learning paths provide choices that are attractive and relevant to the needs of the times. This approach in learning has helped individuals decide as to what career path they want to take and that will take them eventually closer to their professional and/or personal purpose.
As an educator, I am driven by what is truly meaningful in making a poignant difference in the lives of students. Today, young learners are driven by digital learning and the tablet (i.e. iPad, Android tablet, Kindle, etc.) is one of the many devices that are visible in the classrooms. With the presence of such a device in the hands of young children, many ebooks have been created as a means to develop literacy through personalized learning (Huang, Liang, Su, & Chen, 2012). This type of portable device has also provided opportunities for young learners to explore and use apps that can increase vocabulary and language development.
Other research identifies the use of personalized learning practices among students to be showing progress over time compared to those students who are catching up to meet expectations and perform at or above national averages (Hwang, Kuo, Yin, & Chuang, 2010). Student progress and instructional decisions are mostly determined through gathering and analyzing data. Likewise, data is used to identify individual academic support, which eventually influence the choice of technology to be used as part of personalization of learning. With the increased demand in addressing student academic performance in reading and mathematics, personalized learning experiences and best practices have been used for direct extensions of common student learning and teaching practices. However, the implementation of more challenging strategies was not as common and many. For this reason, I see the urgency and need to focus understanding of deeper learning on competency-based learning and use of technology for individualized/personalized learning.
ISTE Standards Targets for Personalized Teaching and Student Learning
Aurora Institute [iNACOL]: Disrupting Education - Designing Equitable Learning Spaces
Presenters: Karla Virgil, EduLeaders of Color RI, Emily Abedon, Equity Institute
Session Learning Outcomes:
I was asked to share an inspiring message to public school teachers as part of their final reflection and culminating after school activity at my district, aside from welcoming and introducing the VIPs and special guests that late afternoon. I thought about this for a while and I was not quite sure as to what to share for this special event where teachers, administrators, and district leaders will be part of the audience. So, I dug deep into my "inspiration toolkit" and selected one of my favorite poems where I draw inspiration from, especially when I want to encourage positive and meaningful change among teachers and campus leaders. This poem is called "Innovate Together" by Najwa Zebian who is a Canadian-Lebanese author, educator, and spokesperson. Please click on the title below to view this poem that is located at George Couros' blog site. I also provided a video of Najwa's poem reading and delivery from George Couros' YouTube channel.
How do you develop better student feedback? Better yet, what is student feedback? Where do you start?
During my first year of teaching, developing student feedback was one of my challenges as I dived into the complexities and high demands of the education profession. I chanced upon seeing in my PLN Twitter Community this wonderful image made by Lisa Westman (@lisa_westman) that captures very important and interesting information about feedback.
As you can see, feedback stems from these characteristics: consistent, specific, user-friendly, goal-referenced, time and on-going, tangible and transparent, and actionable. With these characteristics in mind, it is evident that feedback is not merely providing a simple, "yes, I agree", "this is awesome!", "i think you can do this better", and other similar statements. In order for feedback to be effective, it has to be clear, targeted, specific, detailed, with supporting evidences, including the characteristics that have been mentioned.
There are also other ways to deliver feedback for effective learning. Below is an example.
This visual representation of the article, 20 Ways To Provide Effective Feedback for Learning , provides the importance of having purposeful and meaningful feedback. For example, students are more encouraged when:
Below are more great resources on Effective Feedback:
Director Active Learning El Paso ISD. Social, Economic & Cultural Awareness. Equity in Education. Student & Woman Empowerment