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Deeper Learning Digest: Deeper Learning is Personalized, Effective Learning

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December 05, 2014 11:46 am

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The ‘Deeper Learning Digest’ is a bi-weekly roundup of articles, blog posts, and other content around deeper learning. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed to stay up-to-date on all deeper learning news. Please be sure to follow @deeperlearning on Twitter for more on deeper learning.


Erin Frew, principal of New Tech West High School in Cleveland, OH, discusses personalized learning and project based-learning as one of the Alliance’s Project 24 Team of Experts. Frew describes how her school used Project 24 gears to change how it utilized time curriculum to better serve students using the method of ‘scaffolding’ to engage students in deep learning.

New Englanders support students learning Deeper Learning skills, according to a recent survey conducted by the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy. Spanning six states and 380 residents in the Northeast, the Rennie Center survey found that 93 percent believe communication skills and critical thinking skills are “Very Important” skills for students to learn in school. In addition, 77 percent of those polled feel that schools should allow students the opportunity to advance to more challenging content.

Kathleen Cushman, co-founder of What Kids Can Do, has spent much of her career listening to young people and adults tell her stories of their most power learning experiences. The recent author of The Motivation Equation, Cushman outlines over two posts ‘10 Ways to Deepen Learning,’ calling them bold moves on the parts of the educators and students enacted them. In her first post, Cushman highlights such learning tactics as putting two teachers in the classroom, facilitating collaborative planning, skill-based breakout groups, and performance assessments.

Cushman discusses rethinking time in the learning day and week in her concluding blog. She writes, “If we make a serious priority of thinking more deeply, we will need to find the most engaging and substantive ways possible to bring all of us learners — teachers as well as students — to that outcome.”

Some public schools in the U.S. have started to shift from an emphasis on students’ ability to memorize information to a more engaging approach to accountability. But, according to Joseph Bishop, policy director for the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign, schools and school districts could do more to give every student the chance at a deeper learning approach. Bishop outlines eight factors – which include Shared Responsibility, Professional Competence, and Transparency – he says are necessary to “create an education system that is truly accountable and–most importantly—effective.”

‘Blended-learning’ programs are on the rise in D.C. As students and teachers rely more on computers, some schools are having success by sharing traditional class time with computer-based learning. The Washington Post

Many advocates of blended learning hope the move to computerized instruction will reduce costs in today’s classrooms. The idea is that computers can take over much of the work of personalizing lessons, drilling students in basic skills and assessing them, thereby reducing teacher workloads, and potentially teachers. The Washington Post

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