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Could DeVos’ Proposed Priorities Support Dual Enrollment?

Posts from WOL - 2 hours 40 sec ago

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently proposed 11 priorities for the Education Department’s discretionary competitive-grants. Number one on the list of priorities: “Empowering Facilities to Choose a High-Quality Education that Meets Their Child’s Unique Needs.”

While some are concerned by the secretary’s plan to prioritize choice, others see the Trump administration’s broad definition of “high-quality learning opportunities” as a chance to gain momentum for dual enrollment initiatives.

.@PoliticsK12: Could Betsy DeVos’ Pitch to Expand School Choice Help Dual Enrollment? https://t.co/wHXyPlzjVW #edpolitics

— Education Week (@educationweek) October 19, 2017

Within the proposal, the Trump Education Team recognizes high school students’ ability to earn credit toward a postdentary degree or credential as a form of school choice.

The Trump Administration’s nod toward dual enrollment could potentially mean future opportunities for both dual enrollment and other early college programs, KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of National Policy Lillian Pace told EdWeek.

“We see this as being an important signal,” said Pace.

Read more on how DeVos’ proposed priorities might support dual enrollment from Ed Week reporter Alyson Klein.

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Speaking a Shared Language and the Future of Readiness

Posts from WOL - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 8:00am

A few weeks ago, I attended the 2017 Close It Summit. The theme of the conference was “Shift Happens,” and, over the course of three days, postsecondary educators, education innovators and employers gathered to shared ideas, strategies and practices for better preparing learners to enter the employment sector as the way we work changes.

Reflecting on the summit, one of the most striking aspects of the three days was that, despite the diverse set of speakers and talks, one theme seemed to surface again and again: the need to develop a shared language about the skills and competencies needed by the employment sector, for use not only across the employment sector, but also by K-12 education systems and postsecondary and higher education institutions.

I was pleased to see this theme run so strongly throughout the summit. It is my belief that not only is a shared language needed, but such a language should begin with a new definition of readiness. KnowledgeWorks’ latest strategic foresight publication, “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out,” details the need to redefine readiness and presents a new foundation for readiness informed by the ways work is changing. The paper examines how the rise of smart machines, which include technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and other forms of automation and which are increasingly capable of doing tasks or jobs once thought safe from automation, is changing how many tasks associated with work are completed. The paper also explores how work is being organized differently than it once was, with full-time employment on the decline and the average job tenure falling, the emergence of gig or project-based work, where a worker is hired to complete a defined scope of work, and taskified work, where a person is hired to complete a small task.

While the long-term effects of these changes are uncertain, in the near- to mid-term they are leading to a decline in the shelf-life of skills. This is due to two factors. The first is that smart machines are taking over as our dominant production paradigm. They will be increasingly vital to the completion of work. Being digital technologies, they will also improve and become more affordable at an accelerating rate. These developments will make them be able to accomplish an expanding range of tasks and will also incentivize their adoption. The second factors leading to the decreasing shelf-life of skills is that, as job tenure declines and work becomes increasingly atomized, causing more people to move from linear careers to project- and task-based work, the need to reskill rapidly will become more and more pronounced.

The long-term uncertainty about the future of work and the shrinking shelf life of skills creates a need to redefine what it means to be ready for work. Our paper proposes a new foundation of readiness that is intended to leverage people’s uniquely human aspects so that we can prepare to thrive no matter what future of work comes to fruition, from a post-work future to one in which we are utilizing our smart machine partners to complete jobs we can’t yet imagine. This new foundation for readiness appears below.

Babies born today will be graduating from college in the year 2040. This new foundation for readiness applies to them, as well as to all of us who will still be working and supporting learners then.Download a larger .pdf of A New Foundation for Readiness, an illustration from “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out.”

These core social-emotional skills and foundational cognitive and metacognitive practices promise to help people develop the capacity to learn the more specific skills needed for rapidly changing employment contexts and to leverage their uniquely human traits in the workplace.

The uncertainty about the future of work, while at times daunting, is providing the opportunity rethink what skills and traits will be needed to help people prepare for the workforce. As the future of work unfolds around us, the new foundation for readiness might help provide the beginnings of a shared language across sectors. As work changes and readiness is redefined, speaking a shared language of readiness will be vitally important to ensure that all learners are ready for any future of work that might emerge.

Interested in learning more about how you can rethink what it means to be ready for learning, living and working in an uncertain future? Download “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside-Out.”

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Personalized Learning, Technology and the Still-Important Role of the Teacher

Posts from WOL - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 8:00am

In today’s education landscape, teachers are more important than ever. That’s just one of many points KnowledgeWorks Director of State Advocacy Anne Olson made in a recent article for the Brookings Institution. Olson explained that in a personalized learning environment, teachers are the guides that help shape how learners approach, appreciate and advance in the world.

.@annekolson: Tech has great potential in the classroom, but teachers are essential to unlocking its #edu power: https://t.co/uklJwiigKB

— Brookings Governance (@BrookingsGov) September 27, 2017

At KnowledgeWorks, we have conducted in-depth interviews with district, state and classroom leaders to understand some of the conditions necessary to create a thriving system of personalized learning. The commonalities across districts with thriving personalized learning in place are:

  • Instruction that is aligned, customized and varied in pace
  • Data that informs practice
  • Transparency so that both students and their families understand what is expected for mastery and advancement

None of these are possible without a strong teacher presence.

“While KnowledgeWorks’ definition of personalized learning is learner-centric, we recognize that creative, empowered teachers bring personalized learning systems to life. Consistent with a recent recommendation by the RAND Corporation that districts ‘provide teachers with time and resources to collaborate on developing curriculum,’ we believe that it is not technology itself, but how technology is cultivated by teachers in a learning environment, that leads to success.”

Read more in Olson’s complete article, “Personalized learning: The importance of teachers in a technology-driven world.”

Learn more about the district conditions necessary for a K-12 school district to support the scaling of personalized learning.

 

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A Good Book is Hard to Find: Book Speed Dating Cultivating a Love of Reading in Marion

Posts from WOL - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 8:00am

After reading Penny Kittle’s Book Love, two Marion City Schools teachers, Amy Dunmire and Emily Partyka, decided to adapt a process the author called “book speed dating” for use in their classrooms. The results? Their learners are now exposed to more kinds of literature than ever before and they get to choose what they read for class – a first for many.

“Students don’t always have the voice and choice to pick their own books,” said Partyka when describing the experiences of students in her classroom, some of whom may not have browsed a library since grade school, and the opportunity to explore a variety of genres. “It empowers them to choose something they may not normally try.”

There are always a variety of genres for students to choose from, and Dunmire and Partyka will circulate, moving between conversations the students are having regarding their choices. Both teachers have read most of the selections, and indeed, purchased most of their books with their own money.

“The freshmen think it’s hilarious when we start talking about ‘checking out’ books,” said Partyka, describing how students will preview a book’s cover and read the jacket copy. “We’ll act as if a book is an actual date and talk about how we look at its ‘face,’ and then we’ll look to see what kind of ‘brains’ it has.”

Partyka’s students are sophomores in a co-taught class with another teacher, Josh Pace, and have gone through the “book speed dating” experience. She’s adapted the activity to be what she calls a “book tasting.” Students preview the books and write a short summary, though she is considering providing them a “menu” of reads the day before the next time she does the activity so students get more time with the books themselves the day of.

“The classroom is set up like a restaurant, and I’ve heard comments about how they’ve never seen a classroom decorated like that,” Partyka said.

“We’ve never had a student sleep or play on their cellphone during this activity,” continued Dunmire. “They actively look through the books, laugh and discuss them.”

Both teachers believe that these experiences create a no-risk environment that benefits their students as readers. If they choose a book but don’t like it, they can choose again, and because everyone participates, there’s an opportunity to foster conversations between classmates about their latest reads.

“Most students have three or more books on their To Read list once the activity is over,” said Partyka. “They become much more invested in their own reading and learning when they get to choose.”

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Readiness Skills as Displayed in Young Adult Fiction

Posts from WOL - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 8:00am

How do you track down the evil scientist who infected you with a virus that occasionally turns you into a super-being with wolf-like attributes?

Sure, that might not be a question you ask yourself every day or, okay, ever, but it’s a run of the mill query for a child in a sci-fi adventure novel. Science fiction, fantasy and adventure novels can offer escapism, but they also put forth a definition of readiness from which, no matter how absurd, we can usually extract some core truth.

Here is a list of adult-friendly young adult books in which characters face outlandish obstacles, but where good conquers evil thanks to skills that, with a little interpretation, have applications in real life.

The Virals Series: Emotional self-regulation as a form of readiness

 Emotional self-regulation as a form of readiness.When Tory moves to live with her dad on a small island, it’s a happy accident that all of the other kids on the island are her age, attend her school and are also science nerds. That last point comes in handy when the group visits a nearby research facility, gets infected with an experimental strain of canine parvovirus and discovers they have unique wolf-like powers.

In addition to modeling strong female leadership and endorsing an interest in science, the kids in the Viral series by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs have to apply their skills to get out of jams. Yes, they might get powers like super vision or super hearing, but their problem-solving abilities come down to two things:

  1. Each child has a strong foundation in science and technology from which they can draw
  2. Their emotional regulation is applied in ways that are way transparent from what you normally see in books, but also essential to their survival

In the recent KnowledgeWorks forecast, “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out,” the authors outlined three core skills that promote the social and emotional awareness needed to succeed in the future workforce. One of those is emotional regulation, which they define as “workers will need to be able to recognize their own emotions; understand the triggers that create them; and move to more productive emotional states.”

That skill is essential for the kids of the Viral series. When their wolf powers go into effect, which they call flaring, their eyes start to glow and their senses go into overdrive. Sometimes it happens by accident, causing all sorts of mishaps, and gradually they learn how to control it. They self-regulate so they can apply their special skills when necessary and where needed, not unlike how all of us learn when and how to apply our own skills.

Summerland: Deep self-knowledge as a form of readiness

 Deep self-knowledge as a form of readiness. In Summerland, a baseball fantasy novel by Michael Chabon, Ethan is struggling. His mother has passed away and his Zeppelin-designer father is too immersed in his work to give his son the support he needs. To make matters worse, Ethan hates baseball. When Ethan’s dad is kidnapped, he enlists his friend Jennifer T. to help solve the crime. They attach a blimp to an old Saab and set out to lands filled with Indian mythology, sasquatches and other mystical creatures.

Because this is a baseball fantasy book, the story culminates in, you guessed it, a game of baseball. But that’s not the real story. What really happens is that Ethan learns more about himself, what strengths he has and how to apply those, on and off the baseball field. That journey of self-discovery is one we all take as we mature. What we learn about ourselves, and how we apply it in the workforce, is one piece that helps us be successful.

Fangirl and Carry On: Empathy and perspective taking

 Empathy and perspective taking.The logical follow-up to Fangirl, a book about a girl writing fan fiction, is Carry On, the fan fiction which was being wrote. However, the two books are more than a clever gimmick from writer Rainbow Rowell. They also offer a lens from which to view the act of writing fan fiction, in which you write alternate plotlines, or ask the question “yes, and”, “yes, but” and “what if?” about a book and answer them in a retelling.

The very act of writing fan fiction can be a sort of empathy. The reader wants more for a character or storyline, and offers a way to achieve it. That’s what happens in Fangirl, in which Cath is pretty fixated on the character of Simon Snow in the book series she grew up with. She writes new romances for him and builds a huge following online. While this is only one subplot in Fangirl, readers can take a deep dive into the life of Snow in Carry On.

What Rowell does in Carry On, which is also reflected in her other writing, is offer multiple perspectives of the same event by changing points of view within a scene. It helps the reader have empathy for more characters and it gives more depth to the changing alliances throughout a story.

The authors of “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out” define empathy as a skillset “people will need to be able to recognize others’ emotions and perspectives to help build inclusive, collaborative work environments.” Those same skills are applied in the writing or critical reading of fan fiction, helping readers change perspective and flex a willingness to challenges assumed outcomes.

Readiness in the Face of Great Obstacles: Readers Reflection Guide

Young adult fantasy, science fiction and adventure books don’t have the market cornered on characters having to apply skills to solve problems. Instances of this can be seen throughout books for all ages. Take a look at a book you’re reading, or work with your students and books they’re interested in, to identify characteristics times when a character overcomes a problem and look at the skills necessary to achieve that end. Here are some guiding questions to help:

  • What was a hurdle the character in your book had to overcome?
  • What skills did the character use to meet the challenge? Did they already have those skills to did they have to develop them?
  • What previous experiences did the character have that helped prepare them for their circumstance?
  • If placed in the same circumstances as the character in your book, do you think you would have the skills necessary to succeed? Why or why not?

Note: While I personally like every book I’ve included here, their inclusion is not an endorsement from KnowledgeWorks.

Interested in learning more about how you can rethink what it means to be ready for learning, living and working in an uncertain future? Download “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside-Out.”

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Don’t Let Your Students Grow Up to Be Blade Runners

Posts from WOL - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 8:00am

Before there were internet memes, there was the Voight-Kampff machine. And rather than tell you which Harry Potter house you’d be sorted into or what your favorite ice cream flavor says about you, it did just one thing: determined whether or not you were a human being.

1982’s Blade Runner is a sci-fi cult classic, and this week’s sequel, Blade Runner 2049, will no doubt introduce a whole new host of questions around who is a human being and who is a replicant, the world’s version of artificial intelligence. Without getting into the details of the original, it’s pretty important to the film’s main characters who is and is not a replicant, and the story wrangles with some tough questions around sentience and the value of life – any life.

Our latest resource, “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside-Out,” explores the rise of AI as a key trend in determining the future of learning and working. Examining four different possible future scenarios – none of which feature Harrison Ford, though this does not discredit their extreme coolness – readers are invited to consider that what makes us uniquely human may be the key to reshaping our society and unlocking our true potential. There’s a lot of talk lately about what it will mean to pursue an education and earn a living when AI will be capable of doing almost everything we can do. How will our relationships with technology change? Our relationships with each other?

While the world of Blade Runner sees replicants as a threat, I am not so sure it has to go down like that. If we aspire to live in an era of partners in code, as imagined in our most recent forecast, we can come to rely on our increasingly smart technologies as collaborators rather than mere tools.

Interested in learning more about how you can rethink what it means to be ready for learning, living and working in an uncertain future? Download “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside-Out.”

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Determination and Passion: One Student’s Personalized Learning Story

Posts from WOL - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 8:00am

Sometimes I get as nervous interviewing new people as they do being interviewed. Sometimes I am at a loss for words despite the questions I’ve prepared, or find myself awkwardly changing the subject because that’s just how I converse. I’m an introvert. It’s a thing.

But when I had the chance to interview Lewis Cha, a junior at Lindsay Unified High School in Lindsay, California, and learned that his mother had suffered a stroke when he was seven years old that precipitated their move to Lindsay, I wanted to stop talking for a different reason.

I often get canned responses to questions about how families feel about their children’s accomplishments, and that’s a good thing: it means parents and caretakers are invested and excited by the progress learners are making in the schools we work with. Cha’s parents are proud, too, but because of the stroke, his mother can’t verbalize how she feels about the incredible work he is doing in school and the community. I immediately began wondering how I could find a way to honor his experiences, to tell his story and his family’s story, in a way that felt genuine?

Watch a video interview with Cha and other students from Lindsay Unified High School:

What Cha loves about his mother is “her determination to keep fighting,” and within a few minutes of speaking with him, it was clear to me that he’d inherited that determination.

 How Personalized, Competency-Based Education Helps One Student Share His Passion With the World

Interested in learning more about how personalized learning is creating a community of academic, social and emotional support? Download Lewis Cha’s story.

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From Farm to Table, Across Four Industrial Revolutions

Posts from WOL - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:08am

Every Sunday I pick up my basket of food from Hazelfield Farm. I’m a member of their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, through which I invest in the farm each Winter and enjoy their crops all Spring and Summer. I get my food from Todd, who is the farmer who helped grow it. Throughout the Summer, I get updates about the famer’s family and how crops are doing. On social media, I can see pictures of fresh produce and new crops being planted. It feels simple and wholesome, being so connected the people growing the food I eat, but my experience isn’t the norm. And the vegetables I buy at the grocery store to augment my CSA hauls aren’t grown in the same way.

Despite what the farmer emoji on your phone might indicate, and contrary to my CSA farming experience, farming is, and always has been, among those leading the way in technology through each of the industrial revolutions.

Agriculture during the first industrial revolution

The first industrial revolution helped us move from an agrarian society to one where more tasks were mechanized.The first industrial revolution helped us move from an agrarian society to one where more tasks were mechanized.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, people started to move away from farms and into cities, where new types of employment were becoming available. Among the notable inventions during this period were a reliable form of steam engines, transatlantic cable and mechanical sewing machines.

Farmers were not left out of this period of innovation. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, helping to automate the separating of cottonseed from the cotton fiber. This, combined with the inventions of the spinning jenny, which made finishing cotton easier, and the flying shuttle, an advanced kind of loom, revolutionized cotton growing and how it worked with the increasingly factory-based textile industry.

Agriculture during the second industrial revolution

Advances in transportation did more than help move people. They also helped move crops, livestock and farming machinery, expanding markets and making farms more efficient.The second industrial revolution is tied to such advances as telephones, light bulbs, diesel engines, airplanes, the Model T and the introduction of assembly lines. Advances in transportation did more than help move people. They also helped move crops, livestock and farming machinery, expanding markets and making farms more efficient. The expansion of the railroad during the second industrial revolution meant that, for the first time, Midwestern farms could transport goods to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Agriculture during the third industrial revolution

This third industrial revolution brought with it a technological revolution that was one piece of how the agriculture industry could keep up with population growth, which more than doubled between 1960 and 2008, despite decreasing land availability.The third industrial revolution, which is sometimes called the digital revolution, saw technology advancing from mechanical and analog to digital. This technological revolution was one piece of how the agriculture industry could keep up with population growth, which more than doubled between 1960 and 2008, despite decreasing land availability.

Digital tools gave farmers the ability to record and analyze more data, in order to engage in precision farming. In 1994, farmers started using satellite technology to innovate farming practices, and the FDA granted the first approvals of foods produced through biotechnology. Agricultural technology experienced many advances during the third industrial revolution, allowing farmers to start using weed-and insect-resistant crops, genetically engineered crops and more advanced insecticides.

Agriculture during the fourth industrial revolution

We are now at the start of the fourth industrial revolution, during which we are seeing advances in digital technology become embedded into day-to-day activities and business. Attribution some rights reserved by Mauricio Lima

As discussed in KnowledgeWorks’ latest forecast, “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out,” we are now at the start of the fourth industrial revolution, during which we are seeing advances in digital technology become embedded into day-to-day activities and business. For agriculture, this means big advances in precision farming, as indicated by John Deere’s recent acquisition of the agri-tech start-up Blue River Technology. Farmers can keep track of their crops’ progress via drones and care for plants with robotic sprayers.

“People assume that farmers don’t use technology,” said Saskatchewan-based farmer Kim Keller in an article for CBCNews. “In fact, farmers are often on the forefront of using technology, and we use a lot of technology in our day-to-day operations.”

The future of farming and technology

The reality is that farms like the one I support each week cannot feed our planet’s growing population without more support and, frankly, more of them. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that the world’s population is expected to grow by 30% between 2009 and 2050. They go on to say that “projections show that feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 would require raising overall food production by some 70 percent between 2005/07 and 2050.” Around the world, farmers and technologists – not mutually exclusive categories – will be looking for ways to be more efficient, increase output and keep people fed.

Advances in technology mean changing how we approach readiness. Download “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out” to see what new research shows for an evolving definition of both college- and career-readiness.

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Presentations of Growth Mindset in Classic Children’s Fiction

Posts from WOL - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 10:53am

Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny in Gertrude C. Warner’s The Boxcar Children. The lead in every Noel Streatfield shoe book. Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Pippi Longstocking throughout the Astrid Lindgren novels. Pollyanna in the Eleanor H. Porter classic of the same name. Pip in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. All orphans.

The use of orphans in children’s stories is common, and it extends into other mediums as well. Bambi, Simba, Cinderella, Snow White, Elsa and Anna, Maui, Lilo and Kit Cloudkicker are all familiar orphans from Disney movies.

In addition to parentless children, these stories have another thing in common – their characters are often displaying a growth mindset. It’s that approach that helps the character transform from victim to hero, from a person with a problem to a person solving a problem. With that in mind, what can we learn from characters like Edmund Pevensie, Sophie and the BFG and Anne Shirley?

See examples of #GrowthMindset in classic #childrensliterature or find them in modern-day #books
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Learning from your mistakes

 Learning from your mistakes.In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmund Pevensie first mocks his sister Lucy’s discovery of a new world with talking animals, but later explores the land on his own and befriends its evil resident Queen Jadis, otherwise known as the White Witch. He repeatedly betrays characters, ultimately playing a key role in the death of the hero lion Aslan. As the series goes on, though, Edmund is redeemed and it is in that redemption that he displays a growth mindset. Following a dramatic intervention from Aslan and forgiveness from Lucy, Edmund changes radically. He learns from his mistakes and becomes a valuable part of the story in terms of good conquering evil. When he is crowned King of Narnia along with his siblings, he becomes known as King Edmund the Just, “a graver and quieter man than Peter, and great in council and judgment.”

Adapting beliefs based on new facts and experiences

 Adapting beliefs based on new facts and experiences.At the beginning of Roald Dahl’s the BFG, Sophie knows it is dangerous to peer outside each night while everyone is asleep. When the giant BFG captures her, she screams once than then behaves quite bravely. She challenges the what he does, and he challenges her right back about the behavior of humans.

“Giants isn’t eating each other either, the BFG said. Nor is giants killing each other. Giants is not very lovely, but they is not killing each other. Nor is crockadowndillies killing other crockadowndillies. Nor is pussy-cats killing pussy-cats.”

“They kill mice,” Sophie said.

“Ah, but they is not killing their own kind,” the BFG said. ‘Human beans is the only animals that is killing their own kind.”

“Don’t poisonous snakes kill each other?” Sophie asked. She was searching desperately for another creature that behaved as badly as the human.

“I is not understanding human beans at all,” the BFG said. “You is a human bean and you is saying it is grizzling and horrigust for giants to be eating human beans. Right or left?”

“Right,” Sophie said

“But human beans is squishing each other all the time,” the BFG said. “They is shootling guns and going up in aerioplanes to drop their bombs on each other’s heads every week. Human beans is always killing other human beans.”

He was right. Of course he was right and Sophie knew it. She was beginning to wonder whether humans were actually any better than giants.

It is through the conversations Sophie and the BFG have that they are both able to evolve their perspectives about the other. As they learn new facts, they evolve their beliefs. Without those mindset shifts, the story’s plot couldn’t happen!

Setbacks can be used as a wake-up call to work harder next time

 Setbacks can be used as a wake-up call to work harder next time.The perpetually optimistic Ann Shirley in Anne of Green Gables has had her share of setback, varying from struggling to find a forever home to trying to fit in to having red hair, not listed in order of importance as she would designate. When Anne is placed by the orphanage with Matthew and Marilla Cutherbert, her enthusiasm for life is tested numerous times. When adults make fun of her red hair, her biggest source of shame, she initially reacts by screaming but later finds peace with the perpetrator. When she tries to learn ladylike skills like cooking and cleaning, she mixes up ingredients and is easily distracted, resulting in comical disasters and second attempts. With each failure, she has a choice: give up or try harder the next time. In every instance, Anne tries harder the second time around. It is for her curiosity, grit and willingness to keep trying that Anne Shirley has become a beloved character.

Growth Mindset: Readers Reflection Guide

Although an archetype in children’s literature, fictional orphans are not the only ones displaying a growth mindset. Work with your students to identify characteristics of a growth mindset in the books they read. Here are some guiding questions to help:

  • What was a hurdle the character in your book had to overcome?
  • What was the character’s initial reaction to the challenge and how did their approach change as the story developed?
  • When was a time this story that the character(s) learned from mistakes? Learned a new skill to be able to tackle a problem?
  • Were the characters in your book able to address an obstacle on the first try? If it took multiple attempts, how did they change their approach over the course of the story?
  • As the character in your story learns new facts, what do they do with the information? How do they apply it to their own belief system or to face their challenge?
  • Have you experienced challenged in your own life that are similar to what the character faced? What problem-solving skills that were used in this book do you think you could apply in your own life?

Looking for modern day alternatives you can try? Here are some children’s books worth checking out:

  • Boy 21 by Matthew Quick
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley
  • When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad

Looking at characters in novels through the lens of a growth mindset isn’t only for kids. While all of the books mentioned here are good for all ages, including kids, here are some stories targeted specifically for adult readers:

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Note: While I personally like every book I’ve included here, their inclusion is not an endorsement from KnowledgeWorks. When recommending books to the children’s in your life, be sure to review them for content and age appropriateness first.

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Editor’s Choice: Award-Winning ESSA Personalized Learning Moments

Posts from WOL - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 9:58am

After many long months of reading ESSA state plans and sharing our personalized learning finds, the KnowledgeWorks policy team decided to bring a little levity to our project. With the recent Emmy’s on our mind, we thought it would be entertaining to create our very own Editor’s Choice Awards to highlight our favorite policy finds throughout this grueling process.

So without further ado, read on for some “award-winning” ESSA insights from the esteemed KnowledgeWorks Policy Team:


Tyler Barnett
Sarah Jenkins
Anne Olson
Lillian Pace
Matt Williams

Category: Reader’s choice – favorite policy idea for advancing personalized learning

Multiple Pathways

Overall, a significant increase in the number of states implementing multiple pathways for all students. These include those that are more STEM/STEAM focused, competency and personalized pathways and multiple pathways for graduation. I view these as a great stepping stone to scaling personalized and competency-based systems.

Microcredentials

Generically, I love that the concept of microcredentials is gaining traction (although the definition and utility of microcredentials is inconsistent from state-to-state). Where microcredentials pertain to teachers rather than students, I think the concept is an outstanding way to do a number of things in the area of professional development:

  1. Recognize professional learning milestones to inspire continuous improvement
  2. Move away from a one-size-fits-all (and oft debunked) approach to salary schedules, which typically depend exclusively on time served and postsecondary attainment
  3. Move towards recognition of skill development on an a la carte basis rather than solely as part of an advanced degree program
  4. Generate more personalized and self-paced professional learning opportunities
Supporting marginalized students

A lot of states are personalized learning as a foundational approach for supporting marginalized groups of students, including English learners; migrant students; homeless students; and youth who are neglected, delinquent, or at-risk. I appreciate the emphasis on personalized learning as a basic necessity for achieving equity.

 

Local flexibility / differentiation

I’m glad to see so much emphasis on differentiation at multiple levels of the system. ESSA allowed states to outline their philosophy and priorities based on stakeholder feedback in their state, allowing for a certain amount of strategy customization. States are then passing that same type of flexibility (with oversight) down to districts and schools, particularly those designated “in need of support and improvement.” States seem to also be opening the door to targeted, customized professional development opportunities for educators, and personalized learning opportunities for students. If nothing else, having policy flexibilities that create personalized opportunities for support and development at multiple levels of the education system models the process of differentiation for schools looking to support the individual needs of students. By meeting all types of stakeholders where they are, they create a more equitable environment for learning.

Personalized school improvement

Vermont has a rich legislative history of advancing personalized learning and did not disappoint with its ESSA plan. In Vermont, all schools will engage in a quantitative and qualitative process to inform the development and implementation of a bi-annual continuous improvement plan. The quantitative component is addressed through a dashboard of five critical areas:

  1. Academic proficiency
  2. Personalization
  3. Safe, healthy schools
  4. High quality staffing
  5. Financial efficiencies

The qualitative component consists of an integrated Field Review process which includes an on-site school review with members from the state agency, a group of educators and community members. This team will monitor high quality instruction, strategies to support personalized learning such as the existence and implementation of rigorous Proficiency-based Graduation Requirements, personalized learning plans and the availability of Vermont Act 77-required Flexible Pathways. This process provides the baseline for all schools, whereas those identified for Comprehensive and Targeted Support and Improvement benefit from more intensive support.

Category: Best original policy idea

Local culture and whole child

Hawaii’s approach to incorporating their local culture and prioritizing the whole child went beyond any of the other state plans I looked at. Even their planning process was based on local values and traditions.

 

 

Grow your own educator pipeline

Idaho’s Grow Your Own programs, which create options for districts to cultivate the next generation of effective teachers in hard-to-staff areas. Under the Grow Your Own umbrella, the state will fund a few significant initiatives to help districts build a teacher pipeline from the ground up:

  1. The development of district-level teacher training programs for paraprofessionals currently working in the district
  2. The establishment of concurrent credit opportunities specifically for high school students wishing to major in education
  3. The establishment of scholarships for students who commit to teaching in high-needs areas.

I especially love this because not only does it help with teacher shortage issues, but it also creates personalized pathways for students and aspiring teachers.

Participatory budgeting

I keep coming back to New York’s participatory budgeting idea, involving parents at a school designated in need of support to engage in the process that delineates where a portion of support funds will go. It’s potentially risky, but if done well, could have great benefits for student learning and community engagement.

 

Instructional partnership initiative

Not crazy out-of-the-box but smart, which is just as important. Tennessee emphasizes differentiated professional learning and mentoring for teachers, implemented in part by the state’s Instructional Partnership Initiative (IPI). IPI is a personalized professional learning approach that leverages existing expertise within schools to help teachers improve their craft. Teachers in the same school are strategically paired based on complementary strengths and areas for growth on specific instructional practice areas. This is a great platform for supporting teachers and laying the foundation for personalized learning.

Shared responsibility for school turnaround

After a decade of controversial and arguably ineffective school turnaround policies, it was refreshing to read Rhode Island’s proposal for school turnaround. The state smartly starts with a set of guiding principles for school improvement that emphasize themes like personalization, local flexibility and autonomy, tight standards of accountability, shared accountability and authentically engaged communities. With an eye toward sustainability, the state has proposed that all Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools create a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to help design and implement school improvement efforts. Schools that have not met their exit criteria in four years will engage in “School Redesign” in which LEAs authentically engage with their educators and CABs to fundamentally redesign and relaunch the school as a model best positioned to address student needs.

Category: Most unforgettable (in a good way)

Anne: Tennessee. 

Tyler: Arkansas

Matt: Can’t chose just one, I’d say Illinois, North Dakota and Tennessee.

Sarah: Hawaii

Lillian: Since Matt choose more than one, I have to say Tennessee, Vermont and South Carolina.

Clearly, months of reading uncovered some intriguing ideas that will be fun to watch and learn from as the implementation phase of ESSA unfolds. If the “Most Unforgettable” category peaked your interest, stay tuned for Matt Williams’ closing blog in the series that profiles the top states overall for advancing personalized learning. These states put forth a bold vision for personalized learning and smartly integrated that vision throughout all elements of their plan to create a cohesive system that will benefit all students. They deserve significant recognition and the final word in this ESSA series.

Take a closer look at what we found when reviewing state ESSA implementation plans visiting our interactive map and related resources.

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New Intergenerational Success Project an Investment in the Future of Cincinnati

Posts from WOL - Mon, 09/25/2017 - 10:27am

A new effort is going to help improve outcomes for single mothers and their children in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. StrivePartnership announced it will receive $350,000 in grant funding over 42 months to fund the Intergenerational Success Project, a new local collaborative aimed at strengthening the capability of the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky region to recruit more women into the education and workforce pipeline.

It’s because of this kind of work that KnowledgeWorks is proud to support StrivePartnership. It’s not only an investment in the Cincinnati community, but in the people who will ensure our future success: children.

The power of the Intergenerational Success Project is in helping two generations of our community at once. It will help provide stronger family supports and build connections to self-sufficient career pathways. Joining StrivePartnership in this important work are Brighton Center, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Gateway Community and Technical College, and Partners for a Competitive Workforce. The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation will also provide technical support for the project.

As part of this work, Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky has been designated as a Talent Hub by Lumina Foundation for meeting rigorous standards for creating environments that attract, retain and cultivate talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college and from low-income households. We are one is one of 17 communities nationwide to receive this designation.

“The women we will be working with bring talent and aspirations that we are failing to fully utilize in our region’s economy,” said Byron White, executive director of StrivePartnership. “Lumina Foundation’s investment in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky as a Talent Hub will serve as the catalyst for stronger alignment of local organizations already assisting single mothers, and provide an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty for these families.”

Learn more about the Intergenerational Success Project.

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The Intersection of Immigration and Readiness

Posts from WOL - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 8:00am

In every single one of the courses that I’ve taught in many years of teaching, I have begun and ended with this particular quote from the most resonant book in my life, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.:

The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.

Through the very act of pointing, we choose what deserves attention, we clarify what it is and we place it on a hierarchy of what’s important, what we deem to have the greatest value. Within this life path, at every given point, I have recognized this process of identification and valuation as the framework within which decisions are made … within which actions are taken.

 emotional regulation, deep self-knowledge and empathy and perspective-taking. Looking back at what I consider pivotal points along my life path, I have kept these skills in mind when assessing my state of readiness before any “big jump.”In looking at my life path thus far, it has been clear to me that my immigration experience is the defining thread of my life path. Immigration is one of the most transformative changes that any person can ever experience. It is no short of an upheaval, from the way you speak, the way you present yourself to the outside world, the way you relate and connect with others, to the way you form the values that will ultimately define paths taken, paths bypassed and paths to be traversed. Immigration is a life event requiring a substantive amount of preparation … some take half a lifetime to make this move. In my case, it took all of two months between my parent’s announcement that we are moving to the U.S. and actually setting my feet on Los Angeles, California. Was I ready to make this move?

When do you know that you are ready? Are you ever ready for anything? What does it mean to be ready? I have long realized that, ultimately, readiness refers to an aspirational frame of heart and mind, within which we align our decisions, preparations and actions, in order to perform well. This frame both have internal and external components – our expectations of ourselves based on our assessment of our own capacities and our expectations of what is required of us in any given situation. In the paper “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out,” the following three core skills promoting social and emotional awareness are deemed necessary to the state of readiness, within both the projected future realms of work and personal spaces: emotional regulation, deep self-knowledge and empathy and perspective-taking. Looking back at what I consider pivotal points along my life path, I have kept these skills in mind when assessing my state of readiness before any “big jump.”

Culture change readiness: emotional regulation in turbulence

 emotional regulation in turbulenceUpon hearing from my parents that we were about to join them in Los Angeles, we asked, with a mixture of excitement and anxiety, what can we do to prepare ourselves for this imminent big move. They told us to work on not mixing our “f’s” and “p’s” (so we can’t be tripped up to utter “I want to flay in the pountain.”) and get a good winter jacket made, so that we can stylishly drape it on our arms as we ascend onto the Pan Am aircraft (all images of immigration I was exposed to up to that point contains this indelible image).

What my parents didn’t warn us about was that the move to the U.S. would require a keen intuition for functionality and a determined sense for survival and resilience. Los Angeles is a tough place for a person at any age; for a sensitive and impressionable young man, it is both brutal and endlessly fascinating. Emotional regulation allowed me the stability to focus on goals beyond the turbulent teenage years.

College readiness: self-knowledge as a foundation of resilience

 self-knowledge as a foundation of resilienceHaving successfully navigated an American high school experience, I set my sights to go to college in a prestigious institution far away from home and family. I wanted to be one of the best prepared students of my class, taking as many AP courses as I could and aiming to out-organize all my peers by acquiring the thickest Day Planner I could get my hands on. I felt both competent and ready, but I hadn’t planned on the condescending looks and statements from the privileged prep-school kids in my freshmen seminar class. They constantly made me feel that my comments and contributions were not as sophisticated or valuable as their polished affectations. This is where I realized that deep self-knowledge can provide the foundation for resilience. Knowing my cultural roots, having strong family support and establishing a validation network of friends outside the class helped me to withstand the subtle but significantly damaging attacks. I came out of that seminar knowing full well that I deserved to be in that place just as much as anyone else.

Career readiness: vulnerability as a path to meaningful connections

 vulnerability as a path to meaningful connectionsEmbarking on a corporate career right after my undergraduate studies proved to be a different kind of challenge and opportunity. While going through my engineering program, I went on a co-op manufacturing internship to gain the necessary skills and experience in preparation for a demanding corporate position. I aspired to be “business-like” in both conduct and function – streamlined, effective, efficient. But what I didn’t prepare for was the oppressively conformist corporate culture that greeted me, along with the feeling of isolation that an unfamiliar and distant city brought.

I soon realized that the feelings of oppression and isolation were ushered in by the very things that I thought prepared me for this life. In trying to be “business-like,” I shielded myself from making significant connections with the people around me, from being deeply involved in the community within which I found myself. To change my experience into a more positive one, I strived to see people as human beings with complex lives and perspectives, not just mere corporate cogs and functional creatures with defined roles. This opening up, allowing for a space of vulnerability, allowed me to connect meaningfully with others, both in the work and community spheres.

After making the switch to corporate America, I spent more than 20 years in tertiary education as a university professor. My current career shift into K-12 education reform was both serendipitous and unnerving. Landing back in Cincinnati after over 25 years as a performance analytics fellow with StrivePartnership felt both good and right.

I am no longer aware of decisions I make about readiness; I feel ready for whatever life brings. Hindsight has given me the comfort of knowing that all decisions, preparations and actions seem to mean very little within life’s surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant ones. Be it in life-threatening situations, or within the minutiae of the everyday, instincts and character seem to play a much bigger role than any preconceived state of readiness. I can only hope that I face every exciting and challenging twist and turn with an attitude of love, commensurate grace and ample sense of gratitude.

Looking back over changing definitions readiness in our own life can provide useful evidence for changes in future definitions. Download “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out” to see what new research shows for an evolving definition of both college- and career-readiness.

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From Early Computers to the Cloud: The Changing World of Work

Posts from WOL - Thu, 09/14/2017 - 8:00am

Asking educators to imagine the world of 2040 seems like a stretch, but when you take a moment to think about how the working world has changed since you had your first job, it becomes a lot easier to imagine how things might be drastically different for our future graduates.

We recently had the opportunity to challenge ourselves to think about what’s changed, and the experiences of two long-time staff, Nancy Arnold, executive assistant, and Vicki Tallarigo, office manager and executive assistant, were particularly illuminating. They exchanged ideas about how those changes were often as exciting as they were challenging.

What’s one change you’ve seen in your work?

“There was no voicemail – the only way to leave someone a message was having a receptionist or administrative assistant take one by hand,” said Tallarigo. “With the implementation of computerized and digital systems, tasks like taking a message have been drastically transformed, and are so much more efficient. While some found it a little scary, once the reality of how much time was freed up to support other business needs in our environment people jumped in with both feet.”

For Arnold, it was the shift from a manual typewriter to an electric typewriter.

“I could type faster and I had an erase key – that was amazing,” said Arnold. “And we made copies on a mimeograph machine or by using carbon paper when we were typing.”

What’s a change you experienced that was scary but turned out okay?

Nancy Arnold was initially unsure about using computers – but they’ve since become integral to her work. Read more about her experience with the changing world of work.Arnold was initially unsure about using computers – but they’ve since become integral to her work.

“I didn’t think I would ever be able to learn how to use a computer,” Arnold said. “Word processing was such a unique concept, and I’m always learning. Excel, PowerPoint, etc. What’s next?”

When Tallarigo had to move away from paper filing systems, she was initially wary.

“For many years, there was a great comfort in knowing that we could get what we needed simply by walking to a cabinet and pulling out the needed information,” said Tallarigo. “Back then, it was very hard to imagine managing all of that information without paper copies at our fingertips. Looking back, I can see that my mindset has evolved – now I prefer not to have things in paper form. It’s more efficient, secure, better for the environment and less expensive.”

What is a change you are (or were) excited about?

Vicki Tallarigo notes that her personal as well as her professional life have benefited from innovation. Read more about her experience with the changing world of work.Tallarigo notes that her personal as well as her professional life have benefited from innovation.

“Recently I’ve been trying to gather a lot of my music collection in one place and discovered that so much of what I once had in other forms is now available digitally through places like Apple Music and Spotify. Seeing items once not available even in CD format is really cool – and it’s opened up opportunities to find music that I thought I’d never listen to again because of the format in which it was originally recorded in,” Tallarigo said. “I think that speaks to the fact that many of the innovations we are experiencing can actually connect the past to the future and allow us to bring our memories and experiences along with us.”

And for Arnold, the computer she once felt so unsure about has become the thing she values most.

“I see how much more improved the world is because of it,” Arnold said. “When I think of the changes I’ve seen in my forty plus years in the work force, I am amazed. Can you imagine a world without Facebook? Without Twitter or blogs or Snapchat? I’m excited to see what’s ahead. Because of internet access, the world awaits!”

Interested in learning more about how we might better prepare learners for a future of work that looks so much different than the world of today? Download The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out.

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Supporting All Students: ESSA Plan Examples

Posts from WOL - Wed, 09/13/2017 - 8:00am

Over the course of this blogging series, KnowledgeWorks’ policy team has discussed the prominent trends and leading states in maximizing personalized learning in ESSA plans in accountability systems, school support and improvement and educator effectiveness systems. Last week’s blog post highlighted the trends in using personalized learning to support all students, and today’s blog post will look at how three states are using personalized learning to maximize their ability to serve all students.

Maine

  • Multiple Pathways
    • Maine offers targeted professional development and coaching opportunities to health and physical education teachers, art teachers and CTE instructors.
    • Maine leverages multiple pathways to promote student engagement and success. Available pathways include CTE, alternative education programs, career academics, advanced placement, online courses, adult education, dual enrollment, gifted and talented programs, independent stud and internships. Proficiency can be demonstrated through student-designed assessments, portfolios, performances, exhibitions, projects and community service.
  • Personalized System
    • Maine’s strategic plan prioritizes meeting individual student needs through learner-centered instruction, effective teachers and leaders, multiple pathways, comprehensive school and community supports and coordinated state support.
    • Maine’s proficiency-based system provides opportunities for a well-rounded education system throughout the education continuum.
  • Whole-Child Supports
    • Maine has tested whole child formative assessments for kindergarten through third grade to identify developmental indicators, including social and emotional indicators.
    • Maine’s “Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community” initiative includes programming around bullying, school health policies, nutrition, school-based health services and family and community engagement.

Oregon

  • Multiple Pathways
    • Oregon offers accelerated learning experiences for early chance to work towards attaining a college degree or certificate.
    • Oregon’s Regional Promise grants encourage K-12 and higher education collaboration to design learning communities that align high school through college to prepare students for post-secondary opportunities and to create accelerated learning models.
    • Oregon’s CTE system has six learning areas with 23 career clusters and promotes frameworks that allow for customization at the local level.
    • Oregon’s Department of Education, Bureau of Labor and Industries and Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development are collaborating to offer pre-apprenticeship programs to high school students for the opportunity to earn dual credit, develop employability and technical skills, potentially earn a wage and start planning a postsecondary pathway.
  • Personalized System
    • Oregon’s school districts grant credit towards a diploma if students demonstrate proficiency or mastery of standards. Schools and students can create personalized pathways that address the learning needs, interests, aspirations and cultural backgrounds of individual students.
  • Technology
    • Oregon is using state and federal funds to increase access to technology-supported personalized, rigorous learning experiences.
    • Oregon will provide guidance to districts developing Student Support and Academic Enrichment plans that include increasing access to personalized, rigorous learning experiences supplemented by technology. These programs may include expanded technological capacity and infrastructure; innovative blended learning projects; access to high-quality digital learning opportunities for rural, remote and underserved students; and specialized or rigorous academic courses using technology.
  • Transitions
    • Beginning in middle school, Oregon’s students have an Education Plan and Profile that serves as a personalized learning plan in preparation for steps after high school.
  • Well-Rounded Education
    • Oregon’s approach to education includes the whole student and his/her community and emphasizes learning experiences, knowledge and skills learning and beliefs and attributes developed.
    • Oregon has identified nine essential skills that apply across subjects: reading, writing, math, communication, critical thinking, appropriate technology use, civic and community engagement, global literacy and personal management and teamwork skills.
  • Whole-Child Supports
    • Oregon is partnering with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning to create partnerships to establish conditions, including standards, competencies, policies and/or guidelines, to support social and emotional learning
    • Oregon has an advisory committee working towards a Graduation Blueprint of elements leading to positive graduation outcomes, including supports for emotional, mental and physical health of students; seamless P-20 education system; and clear educational pathways.

Pennsylvania

  • Multiple Pathways
    • Pennsylvania seeks to expand the number of students enrolled in at least one advanced rigor course—AP, IB and dual enrollment—to reduce gaps. The Future Ready PA Index will launch in Fall 2018 and will provide data on the number of high school students participating in advanced coursework and the number earning industry-recognized credentials.
    • Pennsylvania uses a number of initiatives to promote multiple pathways to enable students to earn an associate degree while in high school, participate in career pathways and career readiness programs, engage in meaningful work-based learning experiences and be part of STEM pathways.
  • Personalized System
    • Pennsylvania has identified four priorities for federal and state funding: (1) Ensure well-rounded, rigorous and personalized learning experiences for all students; (2) Address the needs of students through school-based supports and community partnerships; (3) Promote successful transitions in early childhood through postsecondary education; and (4) Promote school climate and social-emotional learning.
  • Technology
    • Pennsylvania’s students can explore career interests, possibilities and pathways through PDE’s web-based career exploration tool. They can receive individualized feedback on job categories, interest clusters and work personality environments and then create a portfolio, printable resume and explore budgeting and personal finance.
  • Transitions
    • Pennsylvania’s Career Education and Work Standards enable middle school students to identify career opportunities aligned to their personal interests; explored relevant educational pathways to prepare for careers; and created a personalized career plan including career goals, pathways and training and education requirements.
  • Supports for At-Risk Students
    • Pennsylvania’s migratory students complete a needs assessment to inform service delivery that appropriately meets their unique educational needs.
    • Pennsylvania’s Graduation and Outcomes for Success of Out-of-School Youth Consortium seeks to provide services to improve the educational attainment of out-of-school migratory youth whose education is interrupted. One goal is that participating out-of-school youth will increase their content achievement and other outcomes as specified in their needs-driven learning plan.
    • Pennsylvania’s educational programs for students in correctional facilities are designed to meet the needs of each student. The staff work together to develop a comprehensive education plan and an Individual Program of Instruction for every student.
  • Whole-Child Supports
    • Pennsylvania has invested in programs to enhance the capacity of school districts and schools to identify and assist at-risk students through academic, social, behavioral, emotional and other interventions and supports.
    • Pennsylvania is partnering with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional learning to create partnerships to establish conditions, including standards, competencies, policies and/or guidelines, to support social and emotional learning.

The strategies outlined in Maine’s, Oregon’s and Pennsylvania’s ESSA plans can also be found in plans of other states across the country. The variety of approaches outlined above ensure that personalized learning will be maximized to support students with a range of needs and interests.

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A Student-Centered Approach at Avondale Elementary School

Posts from WOL - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 8:00am

Avondale Elementary School in Birmingham, Alabama, feels like a neighborhood school, despite it’s big city location. It’s one of the things that makes many of the Birmingham Public Schools unique and something that Courtney Nelson, Avondale Elementary Principal thinks makes her school unique.

A former KnowledgeWorks partner school, Avondale Elementary has seen great successes in the past years in literacy, reading and math.

“Courtney and all of the staff at Avondale take a student-centered approach to teaching,” said KnowledgeWorks Technical Assistance Coach Diana Tuggey.

Nelson reiterated that point in an interview with AboutTown. “We are in the business of children at Avondale,” she said. “They come first with every decision we make and that will never change.”

By developing strong partnerships throughout the community, Nelson’s team was able to create more opportunities for students. “Our success is absolutely a result of the community-at-large in conjunction with our local school efforts joining forces to make Avondale the optimal learning environment for the children we serve,” Nelson said to AboutTown.

One of Avondale Elementary’s partners is Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF), which provides students with hands-on learning opportunities. One student participating in the Avondale Farmer’s Market Club describes the club as a group of fifth graders who are entrepreneurs selling vegetables and fruits, learning about agriculture and business. He describes a social entrepreneur as “a person that is trying to help the community while making profit, so it’s a social enterprise.”

Avondale Elementary School is part of a five-campus feeder pattern known as the Woodlawn Innovation Network (WIN), which is supported in part by the Woodlawn Foundation. The schools, Woodlawn High School, Hayes K-8 School, W.E. Putnam Middle School, Avondale Elementary School and Henry J. Oliver Elementary School, were all part of a previous partnership to help re-imagined schools around interest-based themes.

“Our work in Birmingham was an exciting opportunity to help reorganize traditional school structures into models of innovation, moving from traditional classrooms to spaces of student-centered, blended learning focused on the academic growth of every child,” said KnowledgeWorks Director of Teaching and Learning Robin Kanaan.

Learn more about Principal Nelson and the great work happening at Avondale Elementary School in this article from AboutTown.

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How Do We Evaluate a Learner’s Readiness?

Posts from WOL - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 2:56pm

We need to help young people develop their uniquely human skills and dispositions and develop deep knowledge of their authentic selves. This isn’t only to help students be their best selves, but also to help prepare them for the future of learning and work, according to our latest forecast, “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out.

“Without this focus on the inner human core in the K-12 years, rapid skill development and frequent adaptation will be very difficult for people as they navigate the shifting landscape that is the future of work,” KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of Strategic Foresight Katherine Prince said in a recent article for edCircuit.

In the article, she goes on to share three building blocks for a new foundation for readiness:

  • Deep self-knowledge
  • Individual awareness
  • Social awareness
Babies born today will be graduating from college in the year 2040. This new foundation for readiness applies to them, as well as to all of us who will still be working and supporting learners then.Download a larger .pdf of A New Foundation for Readiness, an illustration from “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out.”

While this new foundation for readiness might seem straightforward, what does it mean in execution? Prince explores different options to help K-12 and higher education prepare students for the future.

“Educators can take steps today to help young people develop the foundation that they will need to navigate complexity and find their individual niches in new employment landscapes,” Prince said.

Read Prince’s edCircuit article to learn three ways to start preparing students for the future.

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KnowledgeWorks Stands by All Students; We Stand With Dreamers

Posts from WOL - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 12:06pm

All means all at KnowledgeWorks. Our vision calls for all students to experience meaningful personalized learning that enables them to thrive in college, career and civic life. We believe in an America that embraces all our children, their endless potential and the future gifts they will give to our great nation.

We stand with the Dreamers. We stand with the children who struggle with English as a second language and those who easily master quadratic functions. We stand with the children who eat free lunch at school and those who bring a full lunch box from home. We stand with the children who navigate the halls in wheel chairs and those who look for the approving eyes of a caring adult. We stand with children as they discover their identities, passions, refine their life’s goals and reach for the stars. We stand with all children, proudly, unconditionally and unapologetically.

When KnowledgeWorks was founded, it wasn’t to improve educational opportunities for the privileged few. We worked to expand opportunities for learners in underperforming schools; for students from underserved communities, first generation college-goers and English language learners to have the opportunity of college through early college high schools; for students who deserve a learning experience tailored to their personal needs, goals and dreams. We were founded to serve all students.

Ending DACA is destructive to our nation. Pulling threads out of a quilt weakens its fabric and structure; it compromises its ability to generate warmth, to protect, and to nurture. Pulling friends, family and neighbors out of our communities weakens our connections, diminishes our vibrancy and damages the very thing that makes our country great: our diversity.

Because all means all, we stand with all the teachers, and school leaders working to bring a quality education to students so that their dreams for a better future can become a reality. We stand by all children, and we stand with the Dreamers.

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Can a Teenager Teach Tolerance?

Posts from WOL - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 8:00am

When I took my daughter in for her 4 year well-check, her pediatrician explained in response to her whining, her moods and rages, her irrational freak outs over being asked to put her shoes on the right feet or my audacity in offering the orange cup instead of the blue one, “This is exactly what she will be like as a teenager. She’ll just have different problems.”

I won’t lie, I shuddered. But, spending a lot of time with toddlers and having the opportunity to speak with a number of truly delightful teenagers, I think they both get a pretty bad reputation. Sure, they may need some (or in my daughter’s case, so much) guidance around emotional regulation, but they can be incredibly generous, empathetic individuals who spend as much time thinking about others as they do thinking about themselves.

One of those teenagers is Ikonkar Kaur Khalsa.

Khalsa is passionate about traveling and about helping others learn to recognize and navigate their own prejudice. And because she’s a student at school with a competency-based learning approach, Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD) in Lindsay, California, she has the flexibility to pursue her passions and meet learning targets at the same time.

So, when Khalsa says she “wants to fight against injustice” and “protect people,” it’s not something she has to wait until she’s older to do. She hopes to be a law enforcement officer – and she’s practicing and teaching critical tolerance now to better prepare herself for her hoped-for future.

Want to learn more about how students like Khalsa are empowered by competency-based education to pursue their passions? Download her story.

Want to learn more about how students like Khalsa are empowered by competency-based education to pursue their passions? Download her story.

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How States Are Using Personalized Learning To Support All Students In Their ESSA Plans

Posts from WOL - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:21am

Enthusiasm around the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) focused on a new opportunity to create education plans tailored to the needs and context of individual states. At KnowledgeWorks, we have been tracking how states have used this opportunity to advance systems focused on personalizing education according to individual students’ needs and interests.

Now that all states have either submitted or released a draft of their state plans under ESSA, we have looked at how personalized learning is advanced through accountability systems, school support and improvement and educator effectiveness systems. The final area of exploration in this blog series looks at how states leverage the flexibility under ESSA to support all students through personalized learning.

Based on our analysis of state plans, we’ve identified five common approaches that states are taking to support their students. In addition to those five common approaches, we also identified two emerging trends in how states are leveraging personalized learning to serve the widest array of student needs.

Five common approaches:

1. States are providing multiple pathways to students.

Many states are providing students with access to career and technical education pathways, early colleges and dual enrollment, advanced level coursework and work learning experiences.

2. States are explicitly prioritizing personalized systems.

A number of states are emphasizing that their education systems will be based on a foundation of providing personalized, and sometimes competency-based, structures to truly meet students where they are.

3. States are leveraging technology to meet students’ needs.

Many state plans include a financial investment in technology to sustain personalized systems as well as training and competencies in technology use.

4. States are focusing on providing individualized support during transitions.

Almost half of the ESSA state plans specifically identify the types of personalized supports that students will receive before, during and after key transitions to prepare them and ensure that needs are being identified and met throughout the educational experience.

5. States are emphasizing a well-rounded approach to education.

While accountability systems focus primarily on math and English language arts proficiency and growth, many states aim to provide access to a broad variety of courses, including arts, history, health, STEM and physical education.

Additionally, some states are using personalized education as a way to meet more specific needs of students:

1. States are prioritizing personalized learning for students needing extra supports, including homeless students; English learners; migrant students; and youth who are neglected, delinquent, or at risk.

Several ESSA plans discuss the how students and families in these designations will be supported to navigate the education system. Individual plans for students will be transferable between schools to ensure that transitions between schools and levels of the system will not lead to students being overlooked.

2. States are proactively looking at ways in incorporate social emotional learning into their systems.

Some states are partnering with the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning to identify social emotional competencies to deepen how schools approach the individual needs of students.

These seven approaches demonstrate that state education leaders have been thoughtful in how to use ESSA to meet individual student needs. States prioritizing systems that serve individual students from a variety of approaches are maximizing on the promise of ESSA to be a better fit for local contexts.

See for yourself how states are incorporating personalized learning into their ESSA state plans and what is happening in your state with our interactive map.

The post How States Are Using Personalized Learning To Support All Students In Their ESSA Plans appeared first on World of Learning.

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Innovation Addiction: How Do We Sustainably Advance the Future of Work

Posts from WOL - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 1:21pm

Our latest strategic foresight publication, “Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out,” explores how readiness for further learning, career and life might come to be redefined as work changes in the future. That forecast highlights how the rise of smart machines will lead to significant changes to how work is organized and how we complete work tasks. We define the rise of smart machines as the advancement and proliferation of technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning and other forms of automation that are increasingly able to carry out tasks that people perform today.

When I ponder this driver of change, I find that I have mixed feelings about how the rise of smart machines might play out for the future of work. On one hand, reflecting on the long arc of history, technology has played a key role in making work better for the vast majority of people. Technological advancement has helped to automate and reshape work, historically making work safer and less boring by automating or making more efficient repetitive and dangerous tasks. As smart machines continue to advance and proliferate throughout the workplace, this historic pattern gives me hope that the future of work might be one that encourages people to bring their humanity to the workplace and that eliminates more highly repetitive or dangerous tasks.

On the other hand, the rise of smart machines reflects a broader trend that gives me trepidation. Because the rise of smart machines is altering our dominant production paradigm, it represents a paradigm-shifting innovation. Such large-scale innovations in the past include the application of iron, steam, coal and computers to human production. As time goes by, the time between such major applications has gotten shorter and shorter. For example, the time between the second and third Industrial Revolutions was roughly 100 years, but the time between the third and fourth Industrial Revolutions was around fifty years. Zooming further out, the time between the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages was in the thousands of years.

This acceleration of innovation has allowed humanity to enjoy near open-ended growth in our population, our quality of life and our economies. Unbounded growth cannot be sustained without such innovations or access to infinite resources. Since we don’t have the latter, each paradigm-shifting innovation sidestepped the issue of potential collapse. This is where my trepidation comes in: in order to continue to enjoy continuous, open-ended growth, we must not only continue to generate paradigm-shifting innovations; we must do so at ever-faster rates. To put it another way, we have become addicted to innovation to sustain wealth creation and fuel our social systems. If left unchecked, this addiction may ultimately lead to collapse.

There is no quick-fix solution to this dilemma. It is a solution that will require generations and involve reframing core assumptions such as how we define success and value. In the near-term, we can expect the rate of change to continue to increase. Education must prepare learners for a world of work where paradigm-shifting innovations come faster and faster, changing the way work is completed. Looking longer term, we need to prepare ourselves for recovery from our innovation addition. Educators needs to begin fostering a dialogue with learners about how they define success and value so as to sow the seeds of deep change before the accelerating rate of change runs out of paradigm-shifting fuel and leads to collapse.

Download “The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out” to read more about an evolving definition of both college- and career-readiness.

The post Innovation Addiction: How Do We Sustainably Advance the Future of Work appeared first on World of Learning.

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