Forging ahead as a district in our Personalized Learning journey and beginning book talks expanding our knowledge, it might be useful to consider why three of the four books being offered are on “Blended Learning”. The question to address is this: if Personalized Learning is the pie in the sky, the whole enchilada, the big kahuna, then why Blended Learning? Quite simply, the foundations of blended learning is in shifting mindsets, using groupings and rotation models, planning instruction based on quality data. As it turns out, these are also the foundational tenets of Personalized Learning!
Blended Learning, as it explains nicely in this article by the Christiansen Institute, is a “modality of instruction” that incorporates technology as a key piece of the structure. This incorporation provides more resources and often eases the teacher’s burden for things like collecting data and assessment. This format of instruction started KPBSD’s foundational shift toward PL in many ways.
Personalized Learning is a much broader term that is really a philosophy of pedagogy – a way of doing things. Unlike Blended Learning, Personalized Learning doesn’t require technology to be meaningfully incorporated into a school or district’s way of doing business, although certainly a factor to be taken into account. So, the reason that there are three Book Talks offered on blended learning is to provide the foundational shift support – the mindset, if you will. We are talking about station rotations, flexible content, data and assessment options, student accountability and engagement, and an all around mindset shift toward building school culture around these topics. We need all these things as we continue on our PL journey.