On Monday, Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) announced a new set of grantees; one of the proposals awarded came from none other than our very own New Tech Network (NTN). In partnership with the Charlotte County Family YMCA in Florida and the S.A.I.L. Charter Academy, NTN is planning an innovative blended-learning, competency-based school that stays true to the New Tech deeper learning design principles and significantly expands the use of online learning to help every student be college and career ready. This exciting award is further proof of the shift to competency education occurring in classrooms across the country. (Check out KnowledgeWorks’ competency education continuum for more information on what this shift looks like at the classroom level.)
KnowledgeWorks’ most recent future forecast, Recombinant Education, tells us that radical personalization is the future of education. We believe competency education is a very effective way of operationalizing the concept of radical personalization. The PBL (project-based learning) model used in New Tech schools is a great tool for implementing competency education and NTN’s focus on deeper learning is a natural outcome of this approach.
NTN will design the new school around four key concepts: personalization, relevancy, flexibility, and outcomes. Some of the exciting ideas in NTN’s proposal include:
Teachers will rotate around students as learners shift through a modular curriculum and earn mastery-based credit, rather than seat time.
Each teacher will have a specialized role that leverages his or her strengths to support students in varying group sizes and flexible learning spaces. New roles include “Learning Analysts,” “Project Guides,” and “Academic Coaches.”
Will mix College Ready Assessments aligned to the common College and Career Ready Standards with personalized, online learning tools that measure and analyze student progress on clearly defined developmental targets on a daily basis.
Each of the 38 NGLC proposals, “articulates a vision for how the design dimensions for breakthrough schools—personalized, competency-based, blended learning—work together to create exciting and engaging learning environments that prepare students for college-level work.” In all, eight new recipients of $450,000 breakthrough school model launch grants and 30 recipients of $100,000 planning grants were awarded. NGLC is led by EDUCAUSE in partnership with the League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Funding is provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. For more information about the grants, you can check out their press release here.