Just when you thought you knew what the latest thing was in personalized learning, it changed.

personalized-learningFor the past few years, the innovation was around school models, with ideas ranging from classroom rotation to flex, with schools experimenting with different configurations around time, place and people (see Christensen Institute for more details).

This year we are seeing a dramatic shift from school models to district designs. District designs are different than individual school approaches and have the potential to scale. This also makes them more complicated, because within each district, each school may have different strengths and needs, and move at a different pace.

In order for a district design to work, it is important to focus first on equity for students, teachers, and schools. In our experience, there are three main components of a successful district strategy:

  • Districts recognize the uniqueness of their schools. It’s not about one school model, but instead about having multiple classroom models which provide options to different teachers and classroom needs;
  • The district deployment strategy is clearly articulated so that there is equity across the district schools;
  • Internal capacity is built around the implementation of technology to support personalized learning. Technology does not replacing teaching, and helping teachers integrate technology with instruction is a key component to success.

(Next page: How technology can make it more sustainable for teachers and students)