Personalized learning is a buzz phrase we hear often in education. This pedagogical style is inspirational, and may serve students well, but it often lacks direction.
Many professional development sessions begin with: “Let’s define personalized learning,” because the term is thrown around so often. At Kiddom, we’ve had the privilege to witness many excellent strides toward personalized learning in different environments, but many haven’t yet seen it in practice. So how does an administrator or community measure the pursuit of this practice without knowing exactly how it looks or where to focus their efforts to improve?
In mastery-based classrooms, students become better advocates of their learning when they know where they excel and where they need to improve. The ability to measure performance in a focus area and put that information to practice generally empowers most students to achieve their learning goals. Schools and districts are no different.
For those systems working to offer more opportunities to personalize learning for students, visibility on success metrics makes all the difference in their own instructional growth and professional development. That’s where Kiddom comes in, and we are delighted to announce a new partnership that makes it easier than ever for districts and schools to quantify their personalized learning initiatives.
Kiddom provides both, a team dedicated to your success and a platform for personalized learning, so you have a direct pathway to monitor instructional change within your community. And now Kiddom has partnered with Education Elements to provide an Onpoint score for your personalized learning journey.
What is an Onpoint Score? A “credit score” for personalized learning, Onpoint provides the framework and metrics to help learning communities focus their individualization efforts, including curriculum and instruction, support, culture of innovation, strategy, and so much more.
Providing schools a focused plan to implement personalized learning is what we are most excited about, as many of Kiddom’s educator communities use our school operating system for this very reason. Kiddom’s early adopter program offers benefits to new schools and districts that adopt Kiddom, including training, a personal success specialist, membership to Kiddom’s Educator Brain Trust, and the newest addition, Education Elements’ Onpoint score for personalized learning.
The ability to give individualized support to every student, with wide ranges of needs, abilities, and interests, is an amazing and critical feat to accomplish. With Kiddom’s tools and Education Elements’ reports, schools and districts are better equipped than ever to quantify their own success. They now have the knowledge to target their efforts in supporting both teachers and admin as they cultivate a personalized learning experience for students.
Interested to learn more about what Kiddom offers schools and districts? Let’s set up a time for a walkthrough!
When I taught middle school math, I really wanted to learn how to teach mathematical concepts at a deeper level beyond state standards. One year, my administration asked me to pilot a new curriculum, one that emphasized deeper conceptual learning. It was exactly what I had been wanting, but I had mixed feelings. Change is hard, particularly for teachers because we are responsible for youth so we inherently rely on procedures, routines, and structures. Would the new curriculum reflect my teaching style? Would it be rigorous? How would this change the way I plan? What if students preferred my way vs. this new way? As it turned out, piloting the College Preparatory Math(CPM) curriculum would be one of the best professional development experiences in my teaching career — not because of a charismatic facilitator, but because its success or failure was all on me.
My teaching style emphasized getting students out of their seats, turning math activities into puzzles and challenges to build engagement. I actively pushed students to show their work and explain their answers, but I relied on routines and structure more than I would’ve liked to admit. I was missing the skills necessary to empower students to take control — to own their own learning. I was hesitant at first to give up control. I needed a framework (and a little bit of a personal push) to help me adopt these skills for my classroom.
Piloting the new curriculum challenged the routines I’d established for myself and my students. Instead of teaching students steps and methods first, the new curriculum prompted me to present a conceptual problem first, working backwards to reveal steps to solve later. To implement this, I needed clear examples of how to approach lessons, exemplar problems for different leveled learners, and multiple ways to set up a conceptual classroom. My pilot curriculum provided a vast bank of rigorous problems and advice on how to implement discourse like Accountable Talk. The benefits I saw in my classroom yielded a completely new learning experience for me and my students. The conceptual connections became clearer, as CPM intertwined math ideas that were linked, no longer teaching skills apart, but laying the foundation to understand the “why.” In the end, I could tell my students were more invested in mathematical thinking by the way they approached problems in class.
That year was so memorable because I took control of my own professional development, without having to rely on someone providing it for me. It was my own pedagogical “aha moment.”
Embracing uncertainty in the classroom by piloting a new program opened my eyes to what the classroom can look like, instead of clinging to the classroom I’d always known and grew comfortable with.
I started seeing math concepts not siloed into “units,” but a web of skills that students could connect with and build upon. Holding students accountable for how they discussed math showed me I can support that challenge and “struggling” through the explanations was a critical part of everyone’s learning. Allowing students to find the lesson’s objective given an exploratory challenge instead of me handing it to them required me to be comfortable letting go, something that made me nervous (it still does). Later that year, I coupled the new curriculum with blended learning, to further support kids on different learning paths and working at different paces. Sharing my learning with my mentors and colleagues was meaningful as I felt like I could contribute to the learning of others as well. Piloting a new program led me to lead my own PD and helped me get more comfortable with strategies outside of my comfort zone, on my own terms.
Learning a technique and significantly improving your craft doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why we at Kiddom offer personalized professional development resources for educators. We believe in order for teachers to have the best experience using Kiddom, it’s on us to provide the necessary supports, when teachers are ready to take on new challenges. We’re not going to swoop into your school for a day, get you signed up, and leave. Those experiences lead to teachers to further be skeptical of professional development, which is counterproductive.
When you join the Kiddom community, you’re not just signing up for education technology, you’re signing up for a tool box at your disposal. Those tools will be ready for you when you’re ready to tack them onto your tool belt. And they’ll come with the supports you need to succeed.
- Professional Development Materials
The Kiddom team recognizes that experimenting with new tools and strategies requires energy and time, both of which are limited resources. We’ve designed materials to supplement your professional development so that you and your school community can facilitate your own PD. Interested in implementing a blended learning model? We’ve got you covered with blended learning PD you can facilitate among your school community. Would an introduction to standards-based grading (competency-based education) promote meaningful conversations about what grades mean in your professional learning community? Here are some guides to get you started. If you need a resource we don’t have yet, we’d be happy to make it for you: just ask! That’s how we work.
2. Personalized Support
Kiddom recognizes how critical it is to receive unwavering support during times of transition in the classroom. That’s why when schools adopt Kiddom, we’re there to brainstorm with you and your team, answer questions, and talk through implementation. In a number of schools adopting Kiddom, we’ve facilitated PD sessions both in-person and virtually, assisting grade teams and entire schools in building strong foundations of shared understanding. We love being brought into schools via Skype to support trailblazers as they support their colleagues. If you need a one-on-one PD consult, let us know. Every classroom is different.
3. Growth and Leadership
When you’re the first person in your school to pilot a tool or strategy, you learn a lot about yourself as an educator. These lessons can and should be shared with colleagues. In this Cult of Pedagogy article, a teacher shares her story about volunteering to pilot new programs, showing that it can be support learning through experience and collaboration. Administrators seek teacher-leaders in the school to share strategies and learnings from student outcomes. Once you learn how the multiple ways Kiddom can support your practice, you’ll have a list of successes and challenges to use to guide others. Leading PD for colleagues will not only be the next step for you, but could be the next step for your school.
My “pilot PD” experience was significant because I accepted the notion that there would be hurdles, but regardless of whether it would succeed or fail, I had to come to terms that I do, we do, you do everyday was getting monotonous; the very strategy that gave me structure was holding me back. I’m excited to hear feedback from educators mastering Kiddom and seeking to lead PD to introduce the platform to others. When you’re presented the opportunity to try something new, it can be intimidating and uncharted, but the rewards may surprise you and even stay with you. Click here to pilot Kiddom, experiment with new tools, and receive PD materials to support you and your professional learning community.