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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

July 11, 2018
Jason Weeby
In February 2018, Bellwether released a white paper making the case that policy professionals can create better education policies by using human-...
February 27, 2018
Jason Weeby
Human-centered design is an approach to creating solutions for problems and opportunities through a focus on the needs, contexts, behaviors, and...
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...
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 7, 2016
Andrew J. Rotherham, Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
Education is not getting much attention on the presidential campaign trail, but that doesn't mean the next administration won't face a variety of...

Op-Eds

November 7, 2019
Understanding why culture-based education is particularly important for the resilience of Native youth.
November 4, 2019
Despite enormous effort across the education sector over many years, persistent and pervasive gaps in educational access, engagement, and achievement...
September 24, 2019
Crossroad Academy Charter School in Quincy, Florida, defies expectations. More than 90% of the school’s 530 students are Black or Hispanic, more than...