Text transcript of video (pdf)
Parkland Ready 21 (PR21) is a new initiative that takes stock of best practices of incorporating technology into the curriculum to allow students to have greater voice and choice within their learning paths to make them personal for each student. PR21 represents a pedagogy shift as we continue to evolve from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-driven environment. This is called Personalized Learning. Our teachers are being tasked with guiding learners to become more self-directed, self-monitored, and self-motivated. The PR21 committee consists of teachers, School Board members, administrators and students. As we embark on this endeavor, Assistant Superintendent for Operations Tracy Smith explains, “The ultimate goal is to have more personalized learning that taps into the potential of every child, every day, resulting in highly invested students who are also lifelong learners.”
Personalized learning isn’t new at Parkland, however. This video showcases examples of student-centric learning currently happening in our schools:
Middle School teachers will incorporate Schoology into their curriculum in 2017-18. Schoology is an online learning management system (LMS) that allows teachers to create engaging content, design lessons, and assess student understanding. Classrooms that utilize Schoology will allow students to keep track of assignments by storing papers and projects all in one portal. The LMS also provides a conduit for students to turn in assignments to their teachers. Teachers will provide feedback within the portal, thus allowing a more engaging space for parents to better access and understand what their child is learning and how well they are learning.
We highly recommend the book, “Make Learning Personal – The What, Who, WOW, Where, and Why“ by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey. The Parkland Ready 21 Committee read this book this year and it is a great book for parents or for anyone who wants to learn more about our goal of digital transformation to a more personalized learning environment.
As we transition to this more digital learning environment that encourages teachers and students to use online resources in order to probe concepts that are introduced by our curriculum, Parkland will provide every middle school student with a Chromebook computer. Students will use the computers as a tool for many different tasks including homework assignments, course work, research projects, and more.
The rollout will occur in phases for grades 6, 7, and 8 and details surrounding this initiative will be forthcoming. There are 45 existing Chromebook carts at the middle school level that will be shifted to the high school and 8 Parkland elementary schools next year which will provide many more computers in the other buildings across the District. Also, iPad Mini carts will be added to each elementary school for use in grades K, 1 and 2.
Personalized computing is a model in which every student has his/her own personal learning device. The benefits of this approach include:
• Students can collaborate in real time and have access to information that is updated as it occurs.
• Teachers have automatic grading and data analytics, allowing them to tactically use their time where it is needed most – with students.
• Teachers will have to spend less time on scheduling carts of computers and can instead focus on what they do best – teach.
• Students can create, highlight, categorize, and keep their course materials in a variety of multimedia formats that are immediately available and searchable.
• Students with advanced skills are able to expand their skills and knowledge by working at their own pace.
• Students with learning differences are better able to keep pace with classmates because they can utilize technology to meet their individual learning needs.
iNACOL Report: What’s Possible With Personalized Learning (February, 2017)
For comments and questions, please contact Tracy Smith, Assistant to the Superintendent for Operations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or JR Renna, Coordinator of Educational Technology, at email@example.com.