A monthly eblast highlighting school-based successful practices, tools, and resources that support teaching and learning.
September 2017

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The jumping off point for this month’s IndistarBURST is the recent Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL) webinar on Personalized Learning. From there we begin an exploration through the vast store of CIL’s resources that support Personalized Learning.  We journey to Indistar’s Indicators of Effective Practice and their accompanying Wise Ways research briefs. We then explore INNOpod3 and the Genius Hour, which leads us to an interview with Principal Andrew Davis who connects the personalized approach of the Genius Hour to his hopes and plans for the students in his school.  Finally we read a blog from IndistarConnect that asks the provocative question, “Are We Doing Too Much For Our Students? Do We Need To Do Less?”

Mark Williams, CIL, provided an outstanding overview of Personalized Learning during the September 13th webinar "Meeting Student Needs Through Personalized Learning." He made Personalized Learning come to life as he wove together the different complexities and subtleties of the concept in a clear and concise way. Whether you are new to Personalized Learning or a veteran, you’ll come away from Mark’s presentation with a deeper understanding of how to better meet the needs of your students this year.

Open this link to view all the Personalized Learning Effective Practices and Indicators. Click each Effective Practice title (A-F) to view all indicators.

Mark Williams highlighted two Indicators of Effective Practice during the webinar that relate to Personalized Learning. Indistar® is based on the belief that those closest to the students (teachers, administrators, and teams) are best positioned to impact student learning. The Indicators of Effective Practice form the core of Indistar® and provide direction for the school’s continuous improvement efforts. Indistar®  provides support for every Indicator through Wise Ways®:

While indicators and their corresponding Wise Ways were developed for Indistar®, they can be applied in any situation where teachers and administrators are committed to improving the adult practices in a school.

Following are the two Indicators of Effective Practice referenced in the webinar and links to their corresponding Wise Ways:

GENIUS HOUR is sometimes referred to as 20% Time or Passion Project. It originated from innovative companies, like Google, where employees are allowed to spend 20% of their time at work to conduct research and pursue projects of their own interest. You may have heard of Gmail or Google News…they are both products of Genius Hour. Seeing the potential for making learning personal for children, this idea is now used in classrooms to allow students to explore their interests and investigate their burning questions.”

Find out more about the Genius Hour here:

“We love Genius Hour for students because it’s the kind of learning needed in our world today. No longer is the teacher a dispenser of all knowledge, but students must be entrusted to make learning their own. Students need to do the hard work of critical thinking, creating, and contributing.”

If “students need to do the hard work of critical thinking, creating, and contributing” as stated in the Genius Hour, we need to consider how we organize learning in our classrooms, schools, and outside the school building to facilitate this “hard work.”  Read this blog from IndistarConnect as you consider the question: “Are We Doing Too Much For Our Students? Do We Need To Do Less?
IndistarConnect is a professional/social network where Leadership Teams and educators share ideas and talk about how to improve teaching and learning.
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Indistar®  contains a vast library of video clips, interviews, and other video resources to support school improvement efforts. Principal Andrew Davis shares his goals for his school.  Note particularly his references to how his school personalizes learning for all his students to achieve the goal of “Students need(ing) to do the hard work of critical thinking, creating, and contributing.” Andrew Davis - Connections to Personalized Learning and the Genius Hour

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