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Innovation and Personalized Learning

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Most recent reform initiatives — from standards and accountability, to vouchers, to charter schools, to teacher evaluation — do little to change the underlying format of public education or of children’s day-to-day experiences in the classroom. Yet achieving dramatically better results for all students — particularly those facing the greatest challenges — will require fundamentally different and more efficient means of delivering education and engaging students.

Increasingly, schools, districts, and other education organizations are experimenting with new models that change how students access content and tailor learning to individual needs. Personalized learning models, for example, are designed to tailor instruction to a student’s skill level and learning style by using different learning modalities, flexible learning environments, and competency-based progression. These and other innovative models employ technology in new ways and change how teachers work with one another and with students.

Bellwether’s work seeks to identify, learn from, and support the growth of personalized learning and other innovative models. We conduct research to analyze the conditions, including public policy changes, that enable high-quality models to scale. Through our grant-funded field-facing publications, we aim to increase public dialogue around reimagining traditional forms of teaching and learning. We also work directly with schools, districts, charter management organizations, and nonprofit organizations seeking to develop, implement, scale, or evaluate innovative programs to improve student results. Our expertise in other education policy areas — including accountability, teacher evaluation, and charter schools — allows us to incorporate an understanding of broader K-12 trends into the advice we provide our clients.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

October 12, 2016
EdSurge -- Rural schools have received little attention in national conversations around education reform—even though they serve nearly 1 in 5...
October 11, 2016
Jennifer Schiess, Carolyn Chuong
Around the country, a growing number of schools and districts are leveraging personalized learning — an instructional model centered around student...
October 11, 2016
The Atlantic -- In a small marine community in Maine, the crustaceans have long been a key to economic livelihood—but now, they're entering...
September 21, 2016
Jason Weeby, Kelly Robson, George Mu
Innovation is critical to advancing any sector. It increases the productivity of organizations, tests the merit of new ideas, and phases out...
September 15, 2016
WETA/WHUT TV -- A one-hour town hall event Rethinking High School with Soledad O'Brien -- a moderated panel discussion with students, teachers,...

Blog Posts

September 26, 2016
Jason Weeby
Last week, Digital Promise, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating innovation in education, hosted its fourth convening of Education...
April 18, 2016
Hailly Korman
This week, the education technology community is gathering in San Diego, CA for the 2016 ASU GSV Summit, a conference that the New York...
March 25, 2016
Jason Weeby
The result of a field atwitter by the promise of innovation without the infrastructure to test ideas and research results is that anecdotes...