Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework for Implementing School Change
Leading Personalized and Digital Learning:
A Framework for Implementing School Change
Nancy Mangum, Assistant Director of Digital Learning Programs, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University’s College of Education
Mary Ann Wolf, PhD, Director of Digital Learning Programs, Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University’s College of Education
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education
On December 14, 2017 The Alliance for Excellent Education and Future Ready Schools® held a webinar as part of Future Ready Schools’® Leadership Hub, a one-stop-shop of professional learning opportunities for school leaders.
Leadership is considered second only to classroom instruction when it comes to the school-related factors that contribute most to what students learn. So, too, leadership is critical for an effective transition to digital and personalized learning. Moving to digital and personalized learning often means a significant change in how teaching and learning happens. Principals need to establish a school culture that encourages and supports teachers taking risks–a culture that eliminates the fear of making a mistake—so educators can grow and improve their own instructional strategies and designs. Supporting teachers in this manner models the opportunity for students to also take risks in creating and exploring with their own learning.
This webinar focused on Implementing School Change framework at the center of the newly released book, Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework for Implementing School Change by Mary Ann Wolf, Elizabeth Bobst, and Nancy Mangum. In the same way that learning cannot be one-size fits-all, a leader and a school’s approach to personalized and digital learning will look and rollout differently from school to school. These differences are part of the challenge and also the opportunity of talking about and implementing personalized education.
Authors Nancy Mangum and Mary Ann Wolf highlighted some specific and unique examples of schools and principals that are leaders in personalized learning to demonstrate the scope of what is possible. The webinar dove more deeply into several components in the framework, including empowering students, building a culture of trust, personalizing professional learning, and employing change management and distributed leadership.
Please direct questions concerning the webinar to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to watch the webinar live, an archived version will be available in FRS Hub shortly after the event airs.
Future Ready Schools® (FRS) is a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org / www.futureready.org
If you are interested in renting the Alliance’s facilities for your next meeting or webinar, please visit our facilities page to learn more.
Bob Wise: Good afternoon. I’m Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education. Welcome and thank you for joining us for today’s webinar. We have another exciting book to talk about. You know, we only bring you the best and the ones that’ll help you most in your practice and your policy. And so as we get started, I just do wanna say because you’re gonna wanna be tweeting about this, the hashtag for today’s webinar is #futureready.
So thank you for taking your time and joining us today. I’m your host on this webinar on this new book recently released and published called Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework of Implementing Change. And how suitable it is at this time that this has come out. With me today are co-authors, Nancy Mangum, Assistant Director of Digital Learning Programs at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University’s College of Education, and also Mary Ann Wolf, PhD, Director of Digital Learning Programs at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University’s College of Education.
This book provides school leaders who are embarking on or who are in the midst of a transition, and all of you are on that path now in some way, to digital and personalized learning. And you are – and it also is for district leaders who support them with the central components of the transition process, practical examples and strategies that they can utilize immediately in their own schools. The book draws upon and supports leaders in applying research on organizational and school change, principal leadership and effective instruction and professional learning. This book, though, also emphasizes the experiences, the examples, the lessons learned and the strategies used by principals in schools that are all or at least in part personalized learning schools. These personal accounts from the principals, real life learning, are emphasized by providing these real world examples of personalized learning successes and failures. We’re all moving towards personalized learning in some way, and so this is why I believe that this book is so critical coming at this time, particularly written by practitioners. So let’s learn more about the authors. So, Nancy, you’ll introduce yourself first and then Mary Ann.
Nancy Mangum: Sure. Thank you, Bob. And hello, good afternoon. I’m Nancy Mangum, and I am the Associate Director of Digital Learning Programs at the Friday Institute at NC State University. And the Friday Institute is part of the College of Education. We are a research and outreach arm, and we like to say that we are where we combine research, policy and practice together. So the work that Mary Ann and I get to do every day combines those three things together as we work with school and district leaders, with instructional coaches and teachers to help them make the shift. Prior to coming to the Friday Institute, I worked with Wake County Public Schools as a classroom teacher, an instructional coach and a district administrator, and I’m excited to be here with you all today.
Mary Ann Wolf: Great. Hi, everyone. I’m Mary Ann Wolf, and I’m also at the Friday Institute at NC State, and as Nancy mentioned, we are so fortunate to get to work every day with teachers, coaches, principals and district leaders across the state but also the country. I’ve been a teacher, I’ve worked with all 50 states looking at policy and practice and how they connect, and right now we get to really dive deeply with those of you who are working on this shift to personalized and digital learning. I do wanna mention that part of this journey has been working across our state of North Carolina, but also working with schools and districts across the country and also being very involved with the future-ready schools initiative, and so we’re excited to share with you today what we’ve learned.
Bob Wise: And it’s great to have both of you because the Friday Institute and each of you individually have been such great partners to work with on future-ready schools, digital learning day, a number of activities that you’ve helped shape and guide. So, Mary Ann, let’s start with you, and what’s the idea? What got you all involved in writing behind leading personalized and digital learning?
Mary Ann Wolf: Sure. So we realized that almost every school and district leader that we were working with was on this journey or wanted to start this journey. And I think when you look at ten years ago compared to now, we used to have to try to convince people that maybe this was a direction to go in. And now what we’re getting is people that are asking us again and again how do I do this. And so what we started to realize is there were many different themes and trends that were emerging across schools and districts that we saw that were really making progress in this area. And so we also realized that a lotta times, a principal or a district leader came up through the education system, and when they get to that role of principal, suddenly they’re the ones responsible for organizational change. And that is a big, hard job and what do we do and how do we do this.
And so what Nancy and I and our third author, Elizabeth Bobst, did is we actually went to nine principals that we’ve worked with that have done some really exciting things in their schools. And not only are they willing to share their successes, but they also were willing to share with us what didn’t work, and I think that was really important. And so in interviewing them and putting that in the context of all these schools and districts that we work with, we developed a framework that looks at building a culture of trust, looking at how do you really manage organizational change, how do you personalize professional learning, how do you empower students and how do you really make that shift so you’re meeting the need of every student.
And as we did that, this book – it definitely came together as a way that not just to talk about from a high level, oh, this is what this could look like. We really got into it. What are the examples? What are principals doing every day? What are teachers doing every day? What are kids doing every day? And so our big idea is to really say this is a framework that helps you move toward that change. And one thing I think that we love to point out about our framework is that when you look at it, you don’t see the word technology. And that’s on purpose because what digital learning and technology allow us to do is to accelerate that change but also to make so many of these pieces a reality for all kids. It’s a hugely important part, but it needs to support all these other aspects to really be successful. As you always say, it can’t be on the side, on the top, right. It’s got to be integrated into everything. And so getting that down, I think this really is a guide for principals who are either kind of have started or are feeling frustrated, might be in the middle and wanna rethink pieces or I wanna get started and I don’t know where to begin.
Bob Wise: So I appreciate that because one thing that I’ve been hearing more and more from superintendents and principals is, when I start this process, the first way I get information is I call my colleague down the road whom I respect and think that he or she has made some differences. But then very quickly, what do I – what am I looking for? And if that colleague down the road doesn’t have time to help me a whole lot, can get me started, where are there some resources I can go to? So this is, in some ways, a conversation with that colleague down the road.
So, Nancy, what about shaping vision? Can you talk some about that and the importance of it?
Nancy Mangum: Sure. So you’ll notice on our framework that vision is at the center of the framework, and that’s really important because we have to start with a vision. Teachers need to understand what this looks like and what exactly we’re talking about when we’re talking about personalized and digital learning. And so in doing that, we have to help paint that picture, but we don’t wanna do that in isolation. We need to get buy-in from teachers, we need to work together with them to create the vision. Once we have the vision, we also have to get other stakeholder buy-in and support for the vision, which is really important. And, you know, one of the principals that we work with really closely and we point out in the book talks about he uses the vision and goes back to the vision in every decision that they make. So every major decision that they make, they go back to that vision. It can’t just be something that’s up on the wall, posted at the front of the building or in every teacher’s classroom. It really has to be something that we talk about all the time and we go back to that vision. It has to be at the center. And again, communicating that vision in multiple ways. So we have to talk about it. We can’t just say, oh, we did that, you know, at the beginning of the year and we’re ready to move on. We really have to keep that at the center.
Another important thing and another reason why vision is so important is Knoster’s model for managing complex change really helps us to see why vision is so important. If you look at the graphic there, you’ll notice that Knoster says in order to have success for any change, you have to have vision, you have to have skills, there has to be incentives, and sometimes in education we don’t always – we can’t always think of those as monetary incentives, but maybe sometimes in other things, but we also have to have resources and then we have to have our action plan. When all of those things are together, we have success. But notice at the bottom, what happens when vision is missing? There’s confusion amongst the teachers and amongst staff and amongst parents, and so that vision is so critical in making sure that we can make that transition.
Bob Wise: So you mentioned – so you’re saying that you just can’t come down like Moses and hand the vision down on a tablet.
Nancy Mangum: No.
Bob Wise: And then say, okay, you all take it from here.
Nancy Mangum: Right.
Bob Wise: So you mentioned stakeholders, and stakeholders – there can be a lot of different stakeholders involved, so I’m curious what do you mean by – who are the key stakeholders and what are the ways that leaders can engage them?
Mary Ann Wolf: Sure. And I think one of the things that we try to remind people is you need to be engaging with stakeholders early and often. You can’t just check it off the box at the beginning of the year or right at the beginning of a big effort. I think it has to be sincerely ongoing, and you have to be willing to listen to what input you get, right. So if you ask a question, you need to be prepared that you might not get the answer you’re expecting. When we talk about stakeholders, we mean the teachers and the students, of course, but we also mean parents and community members and business leaders, your school board, your district leaders. And in some cases, the state comes into play too, but really those people that surround all the work that you do in that school and who can effect and impact and also be effected by this work.
One of the things we really find helpful is asking questions. And so we have often suggested, we’ve even done this with teachers, we’ve done this many time with principals, but asking the question what do you want teaching and learning to look like. If you ask parents, if you ask kids, if you ask teachers, if you ask leaders, nobody ever says I want everyone sitting in a row doing the same thing at the same time. And yet we all know that a lot of our classrooms still sometimes look like that. And so as we really try to dig into what is that vision, what could that be, we start to hear things like we want our students engaged, we want them to be able to work on things they care about. We want them to have support when they need it. We want them to be able to learn in ways and show their learning in ways that make sense. And so for us, that stakeholder involvement means getting into some of the meat and really asking those questions as you’re creating the vision, but then also as you’re implementing that.
We also suggest to principals especially that they conduct focus groups. I think that’s a strategy that we often use in business and in other walks of life, but in education, it can be very effective too. And principals already bring together groups for different reasons, and sometimes they can utilize some of that time as a focus group, you have someone take notes and you are able to kinda code that and you suddenly have data that can really inform what you’re doing. And so I think the last thing I would just say is invite stakeholders into your building, invite them in to see what’s happening, invite them in to see the kids in action. I was at a school yesterday actually in Newton Conover, North Carolina, and the students got up and presented these things they’d been doing in genius hour, and it was these in-depth work that they had done where they had actually built a web site about how they can connect with positive news stories going on in their district. They had built a site, they came up with all these ways to share. When you see that, you suddenly understand what personalized learning can be, and so how do we get our stakeholders engaged in that way, invite them in, let them see what our students are doing but also have our students engaged in the community.
Bob Wise: And that’s important because then personalized learning becomes more than just a catchy phrase. It has vision, it has definition behind it and practical experience. Also I just wanna follow up on something, that the importance of those outside the building understanding what you’re doing. And I know that you’re newly elected to your local board of education, and so you look at this with a lot of different lenses. And, Nancy, from your teaching background, yes, the teachers are the first line of stakeholders to be involved. Parents and public better understand what’s going on in that building.
Nancy Mangum: And I know we’ve looked at districts, and I’ll just – I know Morrisville is one we highlighted many years ago in digital learning day and other places, and one idea they had is where businesses in the community have been willing to be hot spots for kids that didn’t have internet at home. And so they worked with those stakeholders, the business community, to put stickers up that says, you know, we support our students here, and that then if they needed a place to go and have wireless connection, they could go there. And I think sometimes we don’t even realize all the resources the community might love to share with our schools if we don’t have that relationship and we’re not _____. And so I think that’s one pretty simple example, and yet that goes a long way, and so how else can we build upon that.
Bob Wise: Both of you have worked long years in the education system, whether from the local board, state, even federal. The education system as we know it is not often thought of as being risk-taking, and yet doesn’t there have to be a culture here of being willing to step out and to be innovative. How do you build that risk-taking culture?
Mary Ann Wolf: So I think that’s really important, and we know culture is so important, and trust plays a key factor. We have to have trust in order to build that positive culture. I think that one of the important things that a principal or a school leader can do is to model. They have to model that culture of risk taking in order to create it. We can’t just say go out and try something new if we’re never willing to try something new. So as a school leader, we have to model it. One way we can do that is maybe to try a new tool. Maybe instead of giving announcements at a staff meeting, you could try giving those announcements via a web tool, sending that out electronically to staff and then using that time that you’ve saved at a staff meeting to do something else, to ask teachers to help solve a problem that you’re facing within the school and to get their ideas.
I think as leaders we also have to be willing to say when we don’t – you know, we’re not sure about all the answers, but we’re gonna work together to find them now. That’s really important. We also have to inspect what you expect, right. So we can’t be saying one thing and saying take risks but then doing something different. You know, one of our principals who we work with has a flaffle. Not a raffle, but a failure raffle, a flaffle that he does, and as teachers try something new but it doesn’t work, they enter themselves – they write down on a little slip of paper that’s in the teacher’s lounge what they tried and maybe what didn’t work about it and then what they learned from it. And every week he does a drawing and pulls someone out of there and recognizes them, and then the teacher kind of gives a little synopsis and explains a little bit more about what they learned and maybe what they would do differently. That is inspecting what you expect and modeling that culture of risk taking in order to say, hey, it’s okay.
Another important thing in building that culture is understanding teachers’ perspective, understanding where they’re coming from, what their pain points are and really where they need help. We have to be willing to, like Mary Ann said in the focus groups, we not only have to hold those focus groups, but we have to listen to what they’re saying and then respond in some way. And it may not always be what they wanna hear, but we do have to respond to that and help support them in the things that they’re struggling with. But I think those really modeling and being that leader that we wanna see.
Another thing that one of our principals does is a hallway huddle. This was a way to celebrate because, again, culture, we have to trust each other, and part of that is getting to know each other. And so with the hallway huddle, instead of a staff meeting, this principal would send out those notes during – electronically every week before Friday. And every Friday, he played some really fun music. Friday morning, 25 minutes – or 20 to 25 minutes before school started, so there was an end time, right. We couldn’t be too long. Everybody gathered together up in that – in the front hallway of the school and they took time to celebrate each other, to spread the good gossip, the good things that were going on, which was really important in building trust. Teachers were recognizing each other, and he also offered time during that for them to ask questions about anything that he had sent out. But instead of having a staff meeting every week that everybody dreaded where it was just people complaining or all the things that we had to do, he found other ways to give that information and then use the hallway huddle as a celebration. And then that bell rang, right, so he was 20 or 25 minutes, that bell rang and it was time to go because we had to go greet the students. But I think that using things to celebrate is also another great way to build that culture of trust.
Bob Wise: Important. So a lot of emphasis obviously, and rightly so, on teachers. What does professional learning need to look like if we wanna make the shift to personalized and digital learning?
Mary Ann Wolf: Well, and I think this is such an important question because this is not a simple shift. When we look at teachers we’ve worked with, so many of them say when they’re going down this path, it’s actually like being a first-year teacher again. I also remind people as I’m working, I’ve asked hundreds and hundreds of teachers, and they tell me they would never go back. So once they get through that first year and they’ve seen what’s possible with personalized learning, they don’t wanna go backwards, but it’s hard work to get there and to continue to grow. And so a lotta times, I think, in schools, we do what we’ve always done, which is after school, we have a one- or two-hour workshop. Teachers are already exhausted, right. They’ve been with kids all day, we have this workshop and it’s not often connected to other things. And so when we look at professional learning, we think it needs to be personalized just like what learning for kids should be. Because if teachers get that experience, they’re more likely to really appreciate and understand what’s possible for kids. And so for us, it’s how do you move away from that?
And I think one of the things that we often go back to is what is effective professional learning? We know it has to be ongoing, it has to be job-embedded, it has to be connected to the goals of what’s happening in the school. And so one of the pieces of research that we often share and will share again right now is from Joyce and Showers. And the Joyce and Showers research talks about how you can have the theory, you can even see demonstrations, you can even practice by yourself, but until you actually have coaching and mentoring, we’re not seeing shifts in the classroom. And this research goes back a long way, and Nancy and my and our full team’s work with coaches and others in schools, that’s where we see where teachers can have someone plan with them. They can have someone often co-teach, right, like let’s do this together, so creating that trust, creating that culture where you’re not alone in this. You’re actually gonna have someone who helps you and someone that can guide you and help you reflect on what worked or what didn’t work. And so for us, really thinking about how do you use some of the roles in your building that can help support the professional learning, not by going to a workshop, not necessarily – not that those aren’t helpful, but how can you do this within the school day? And so we often see, and I know a lot of the future-ready work focuses on the potential of the librarians in our building. They can have a really important role. We often work with those folks, instructional technology facilitators, instructional coaches, and also lead teachers. Are there ways to have hybrid roles where there are other teachers helping, partnering with, working with them. And for us, that’s an important part of professional learning that might be a little less formal but is still really important.
I did wanna mention one more thing professional learning because we also need to recognize that all of our teachers are at different places, just like when you look out at a classroom of kids, they’re all at different places in their learning, they all need different things. Nancy mentioned thinking about their perspective, but also where are they in knowing what to do, understanding the pedagogy and being able to implement? And so one of the things that we have actually done quite a bit of work with in the past few years is around micro credentials. And I mention this not because it’s the answer. I mention it because it’s one way that seems to be giving teachers their own pathway.
So a micro credential really is a way – it’s something that represents something that a teacher knows or is able to do. And in order to earn a micro credential, you have a topic you might choose, so we have some around learning differences or teaching fractions or, you know, there’s others around classroom management. There’s a whole range available. And what we have been able to do and the way we design them is teachers not only have new learning and reflect, but they also submit artifacts. So we see student work, we see videos, we see all these things. So the micro credential is allowing the teacher to choose something that they wanna get better in, but it also allows them to actually do something in their classroom, which is where we know learning really starts to happen. And so we share micro credentials as one example, but I think that notion of personalizing the teacher learning is as important as personalizing the student learning.
Bob Wise: So that’s an interesting point because we’re gonna move to student learning in just a moment. But what you’re saying, learning by doing or learning by engagement, assistance but not being lectured to, the elements of student learning are every bit the same as for teacher learning and teacher development, which I think makes sense because what you – teaching learning is modeling what you want for student learning, which now let’s turn to that. So we talked about teacher learning, but how do we empower our students through learner agency?
Nancy Mangum: Sure. So learner agency is really just empowering students to take ownership of their learning. And I think that that’s really key in personalized learning. Students have to be empowered and really have to be owners of that. This graphic, with research by the Rakes Foundation, I think really helps teachers to better understand what exactly learner agency is and how they can help support it. If you’ll take a look here, we can see that these seven things are key in helping to develop that learner agency. The growth mindset, which we know what that is, but I love this because it says that students understand that I can learn. And so knowing that they can learn, the self-efficacy that they can do this, that perseverance that I can do it, that it’s important to me and the social belonging that I belong here. You’ll see goal setting as well as metacognition and social capital.
So all of these findings as well as the I can statements or the I statements help teachers to understand maybe a little bit more about how can I do this. And it’s really important to think a lot of times we do these at the beginning of the year, but maybe we don’t always continue to do them, but we know how important it is. I also think about my kindergarten classroom when I was a kindergarten teacher, and a lot of these things I was doing as a kindergarten teacher, but when I taught fifth grade, I maybe did them at the beginning of the year but maybe not as much.
One other thing that teachers can do or one other idea with learner agency is the idea of data notebooks and student-led conferences. This is a great place for teachers to start when thinking about this. The idea behind a data notebook is that students will set their own goals. So with the help of the teacher, they will set goals for themselves, and in doing this, we not only want to set both academic goals, but also setting those personal goals as well. It helps the teacher to get to know the student a little bit better, but then students keep track of their progress in meeting those goals. And obviously we don’t wanna make the goals so long-term that we don’t see any progress. So making those goals short-term, keeping track of them in some way, whether it’s electronically or not, but keeping track through data collection, understanding – helping the student to understand where they are and then what can they do to get there, helping them set those goals.
And then the student-led conferences kind of go nicely with that because students can actually describe. Instead of the teacher – instead of the parent-teacher conference, it’s a parent-teacher-child conference where the child is actually describing where they are and what they’re working on. These are all ways that we can empower students along with our seven statements, kind of help us to understand how we can empower and begin to personalize our classroom. And, Mary Ann, did you have something else that you wanted to add?
Mary Ann Wolf: Yeah, well, you just made me think about – Troy Moore is actually one of the principals that we highlight in the book, and he was recently at a school named Hawk Ridge Elementary, and Nancy and I have had a chance to visit there. And when you walk into a third grade classroom in this school and they actually team teach. And so there were basically about 50 kids between two classrooms, maybe 40. I’m trying to think. About there. You had kids doing all these different things. So I think students were working on seven different areas of their math curriculum when we walked in there. But what was the most amazing thing besides the fact that they all knew what they were doing, why they were doing it, where they were, when you asked a student tell me more about your learning, they could describe their goals, they said what they were working on, the options they had, what they were going to do next, and then there were some students that were saying, “Well, once we complete this, we’re actually moving on to fourth grade standards.” And they knew that. Like, they were so able to talk about it and explain it.
And that same school took what Nancy was talking about with data notebooks and actually made it homework. And so on Thursday nights, students brought home their data notebooks. I guess at the beginning everyone kinda thought this is kind of a crazy idea. No one’s gonna like this. What do you mean the homework’s data notebook, data chat time? But really the parents said for the first time they started to understand this is where my child is, this is what they need to do, this is where they are. And the student was able to articulate it. And I think being able to do that, when you think about how many of our students are just kind of passively going through day in and day out, they might know about their grades, but do they really know what their goals are, what they’re trying to learn and also where they have different options? And so for us, I think we try to really highlight some of those examples in the book, but also the more we see those, the more we try to share because these are doable ideas. They’re not easy, they don’t happen overnight, but they are things that we can do in schools that really within – we do have the flexibility; it just takes the will and the vision, I think, to do that.
Bob Wise: So I wanna follow up because learner agency rolls trippingly off the tongue but can spark a whole lot of questions about what it’s about and yet it’s at the heart of personalized learning, whether you call it student-centered or student mastery or learner-centered, learner in agency. Can you talk a little bit more because isn’t this – can this be a fairly daunting concept to be able to bring to this transformation process?
Nancy Mangum: I think it definitely can, although I think there are some great resources out there. And, Bob, I’m so glad that you brought up learner agency because Mary Ann and I like to talk – it isn’t just about student agency; it’s learner agency, so everyone in the building, we’re all learners. I think that that’s really important, but in thinking about this and as a school leader, we have to help not only set the vision, but we have to make it actionable like you’re asking for teachers. And so I think that having the vision is important, but Kathleen McClaskey and Barbara Bray have some great frameworks that really help make it a little bit more actionable as well. Their continuum of voice, continuum of choice and continuum of engagement, student engagement, really helped teachers to see how they can begin personalizing that instruction. So I think that that’s really important to present these things to teachers and to have conversations around them.
I would also say working in professional learning communities, or PLCs, is really important. Teachers can’t do this alone, and so helping them have the conversations during those professional learning communities on how they’re gonna begin to address personalized learning, whether it’s looking at the frameworks, but then also actually how are they gonna do it, letting them plan together is really important. And, Mary Ann, do you have anything else to add?
Mary Ann Wolf: Yeah, and just a couple other things. I think sometimes you have to start with something that feels a little bit more tangible, like what you’re saying, in order to then kind of appreciate what students are capable of. And a lot of times we hear teachers, leaders and parents when students are in a personalized learning environment say I had no idea my student could do that. And so I think project-based learning is actually one strategy that really helps teachers start to see not only how do I personalize and let all students kinda have their own pathway while of course meeting standards and meeting rubrics and how do we do this, but it also gives a lot of agency ’cause there’s choice often in how do I wanna approach this problem, what kind of research do I wanna do, what do I wanna create, what’s my product, what am I showing. And we heard just recently a school that has really done a lot with project-based learning where kids are connecting with experts in the community. And they said in the beginning they were very conservative, like asking if someone’s parent happened to have a job in a hospital or happened to do something. Well, then suddenly – it was actually the superintendent this week said he got a call that – from the place his daughter had called, like it was a hospital, ’cause she was doing a fundraiser as part of her project, and it can suddenly just become, I think, really allows you to see this is what’s possible with kids, look at that agency.
And another thing I think is sometimes it’s easier to imagine for me in like an elementary school setting or even in middle school setting where it feels a little more contained, but I have seen high schools where they really are helping students see their options, whether it’s starting to take college classes, whether it’s applying and doing internships, whether it’s that, but just starting by asking kids what are your goals. I mean, I look back to when I was teaching 20 years ago, and I did some work early on in the year. And at that time, we referred to learning styles, you know, and that is not enough to really personalize, but I would ask those fifth graders, you know, are you visual, audio, kinesthetic? We did a little survey, and all year they would refer to that. They loved thinking about their own learning, which is one aspect of this that’s really important.
Well, now I think when we look at learning differences and we look at all the different ways that kids learn, we can actually help them understand and talk about their own learning as well. And so to me it’s how do we kind of make that effort early and then often throughout the year but also be willing to say something like project-based learning we’re gonna tackle as a school. That might be a lead-in to help all teachers and students kinda see what’s possible if that’s helpful.
Bob Wise: This is a transition process obviously.
Mary Ann Wolf: Yes.
Bob Wise: What key advice do you have for those leaders that wanna begin and undertake this transition?
Nancy Mangum: So knowing that it is complicated and complex, I think one of the things that we often say, and I think Brad Curry’s the one that has a great graphic on this about – that students take risk when teachers take risk, but teachers don’t take risk unless leaders take risk. And so when we’re talking with superintendents, with district leaders, with principals, coaches, they need to be making sure that they’re able to do that because if they’re not willing to do that, I don’t think their teachers are gonna feel comfortable. And then you want kids to feel like it’s okay to mess up. I’ve shared a story recently about my own Matthew, who’s a sophomore in high school, and he was working on his first AP essay, and he was sitting at the table and he’s over there with a pen, and I walk over and there’s so much scratched out. And I’m, like, would you like a pencil instead? He’s, like, “Oh, they want us to get comfortable scratching things out.” And then he’s, like, “I think I’m pretty comfortable.” And I’m, like, you know what, that is a lesson, like it’s okay to make a mistake. We only learn by the struggle by doing that, but kids aren’t going to be willing to do that if their teachers don’t also show that. And so I think that’s one really important piece of advice.
The other one that I just go back to is you just have to start. I think a lot of times principals get – wanna figure it all out at the beginning, and you cannot do this all at once. You need to think comprehensively, you need to get stakeholder buy-in, you need to have a vision, but if you don’t start, you’re never gonna get anywhere. And so I think we still see schools that are kinda struggling in that inertia of I have all these challenges, oh, there’s been cuts to the budget, there’s been these things, and those are unbelievably real, and we know that, but we have kids every single day that we’re missing if we aren’t getting started on this journey. And so to me, that’s my other piece of advice.
Mary Ann Wolf: So I actually have, I think, three things I wanna share. The first one is to seek other leaders, to seek out, and you mentioned this, you know, calling somebody up the street, but having those conversations, whether it’s within your district or within your area, but also using social media to help connect with other leaders who are doing this. I know at the future-ready summits we have some great opportunities to bring leaders together to have those conversations, and I think – so seeking out others, whether it’s people who are local, people who you can connect with on social media or at events.
I think the second piece of advice to leaders is to build a team. Don’t do this alone. You can’t go it alone. And so not only do you have to empower your teachers, but you also have to have that team, that team that’s gonna help you think through things, that team that’s gonna be there with you and to support you in all of this.
And then the third, and maybe kind of along with the team, is to have those conversations with your teachers. And I mentioned Barbara Bray’s and Kathleen McClaskey’s continuum of voice and choice, but have those conversations, whether it’s using graphics like that or other things, have those conversations with teachers. And don’t be afraid to revisit your vision. Also learning spaces, having them think about their learning space and what the space looks like can be really important in changing pedagogy. And so I think that engaging your teachers, revisiting your vision and continuing to have those conversations about what does it look like, I think are really important.
Nancy Mangum: Can I add one more?
Bob Wise: Sure.
Mary Ann Wolf: Yes.
Nancy Mangum: So one of the other things I think we’ve seen is a little bit on that line of don’t be afraid to start with something small, something tangible. And I think sometimes something school-wide that might not be the end all, be all answer but might help open people’s eyes, and so one thing we’ve seen in many different schools is the idea of genius hour. I know you all have had webinars and other things on that, but I think what we’ve seen is sometimes that allows teachers, again, to see the potential of learner agency right away, but also to help teachers start to give up a little of the control that they have to give up to really move in this direction ’cause genius hour, we don’t know what students are gonna choose. We don’t know which passions of theirs they wanna pursue or what they’re gonna produce. And so sometimes saying as a school we’re gonna dedicate some time, maybe a little bit before school starts, a little bit after, you know, I think that can go a really long way.
And I’ve also seen some schools do sometimes things like the student-led conferences as a school, like this is something we’re all gonna do, or even a project-based learning type approach that is the whole school doing it at once. Like, I know a middle school that actually tackled things with Learning without Borders where they were working on whatever the project was that year. One year it was safe water to drink in Africa and they – not only did they end up doing a fundraiser, but they read a novel that connected with it, they walked the mile to get water and come back, they tested the water connected to science standards, they learned about the history of those countries. And then they all decided what they were gonna develop and produce. And so I think sometimes doing that as a school gives all the teachers a safe space. So the early adopters might be the ones that take the lead, but every single teacher and every kid was engaged. So to me, that’s one other thing is if you’re feeling stuck or feeling like you don’t quite have the momentum you need, sometimes something like that can go a long way to kinda showing the way and just opening people’s eyes and getting them comfortable.
Bob Wise: So getting people comfortable – and I wanna hearken back to the slide on risk and the importance that teachers feel they can take risk. How do you, though, explain that to parents? Because as a parent, I’m not so wild about somebody saying wanna create an environment where it’s free to take risks with my child’s learning.
Nancy Mangum: That’s a great question. You know, I think that helping parents to see what’s going on – Mary Ann mentioned inviting parents in – and you know, I think that showing them that there are multiple ways to solve problems is one way. It isn’t just about risks, and it isn’t risks that we think about like, you know, can you dart across the traffic before the light changes. You know, I think that we have to help them understand what we mean by risks. So I think having the conversations, inviting parents in is really important. And then also seeing – helping them see, like I said, that, you know, we have to have multiple ways to solve problems and helping students understand that that is part of risk taking, that not just that we’re gonna solve the problem in the way or respond in the way the teacher wants us to respond, but that we can think outside of the box is part of risk taking. So I think maybe explaining what you mean by that a little bit and then inviting them in is really important. And I think when they begin to hear their – whether it’s a high school student or a kindergarten student – talk about the possibilities or talk about these things, like Mary Ann said, I don’t know that too many parents who get worried about that because they’re like, oh wow, you know, they’re thinking so broadly. And they know as – in whatever job that they have, that those skills are important.
Bob Wise: Suggest it might be in the first conversation to substitute to explorations for risks.
Nancy Mangum: Yes, that’s a good idea.
Mary Ann Wolf: Yeah, explorations. There you go. Yes, yes.
Bob Wise: So I think – so let’s turn to questions that we’re getting now from the audience, and we’ve already gotten a fair – a good number. And one actually starts – we’ll start with North Carolina, which is, of course, where the Friday Institute is located. So Shannon asks, “How do you help teachers with this vision of blended learning?”
Mary Ann Wolf: So I think there’s several things. I think one is really asking teachers about how do you think you can meet the needs of all your students and what does learning need to look like to do that, so kinda helping them dive into that question. And I think Nancy and I and many of us, you know, many of you watching have worked with students in a way that lets you see that each student needs different things. And so to me, kind of starting to understand that. But I think the best thing we can do is show, right. Actually bring teachers into settings where they can either experience this or see this in action. And a lotta principals that we work with – Derek McCoy is one that stands out in the book – you know, he took a group of teachers to visit a school different than his own but also another middle school and to show what was possible. And he is very careful. He’ll talk about not to only bring teachers that are kinda ready to jump. He’ll also bring teachers that might be the doubters, that might not be sure they wanna go. They’re like, well, the way we’ve been doing this has been working forever. Why do we need to shift? And so by bringing teachers and showing and then having those conversations, I think is a really long way.
The other thing I’m thinking of, Nancy, is learning walks.
Nancy Mangum: I was just thinking about that.
Mary Ann Wolf: Yeah, so a lot of times we talk with leaders about learning walks, and these are non-evaluative walks that get teachers into other teachers’ classrooms. So it’s not administration going in, but it’s teachers going into other teachers’ classrooms to see what’s happening. And so if you have some teachers that are really leading the way, that are doing great things and kind of meeting your vision and really where you wanna go, you set up time for other teachers to come and observe. Observing someone else is one of the most powerful things. That’s how we learn from infancy, right. Like, that’s how we learn, and so letting teachers observe other teachers is really important.
And the way we set up those learning walks is we set aside a time, and not a long amount of time, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. So teachers will meet in the hallway, will walk into a few classrooms, will spend a few minutes, and actually – we actually encourage people not to take a lot of things in there. We don’t wanna take iPads or computers where we’re typing things out. That feels evaluative, right. we want it to feel like a safe space, and so we go in, teachers are going into other teachers’ classrooms, they’re taking a look at what’s happening and then we’re coming back out in the hallway and we’re talking about it. What did we notice? What was the awesomeness? What do we wanna borrow that was great in that classroom? Maybe it was the way that the furniture was laid out or the learning environment. Or maybe it’s what students were actually doing or the way that the teacher was working with small groups. So whatever those things are that teachers notice, we wanna draw those things out.
And then at the end, we wanna ask teachers, so what did you see today in going to other classrooms that you might be able to take back and implement? And this works great from elementary school to high school. I know that you all had a webinar recently with Sheila Evans, and Sheila was leading high school where we implemented these learning walks, and quite honestly, I was a little bit nervous. I thought, okay, how are math teachers gonna feel about going into an ELA classroom or into a social studies classroom or a science classroom? But it was actually some great conversations. It really helped to build a culture of collaboration amongst the staff, break down some walls. But getting teachers into other teachers’ classrooms to see what it looks like through those learning walks is a great – another great way;
Bob Wise: Personal contact is always the best. I did have someone suggest the other day that perhaps we ought to start using virtual reality to enable classroom and school visits and that you –
Nancy Mangum: That would be great too.
Bob Wise: You send a school five sets of quality goggles so that they can go through somebody’s classroom and at the same time, those school leaders and those teacher leaders that are the exemplars for everybody aren’t constantly besieged by folks coming through.
Nancy Mangum: That sounds like a fun project we can work on.
Bob Wise: I think we got this one. Yeah, that’s right. We need to talk, as they say. As they say, let’s take a meeting. So Stacy, and continuing from North Carolina, Stacy in Newton – you all _____ Newton asked about learner agency. And she says, “I can statements are often used in elementary schools. How do we approach this in a way that appears – appeals to secondary classrooms and students?
Mary Ann Wolf: That’s great. That’s a great question. You know, I think we sometimes, I think, in high schools fall into a lot of the restrictive type parameters around we need to have all these classes, we need to do these things, there’s an AP test at the end of the year. But I do think there continues to be a lot of opportunity within those classes to ask high school students, you know, what are your goals. And I think a lot of those are actually very similar.
I also have found that high school children love thinking about their own learning if you give them the space to do that. And so something we’ve actually done at the Friday Institute, which is funded by the Oak Foundation, was to build a course for middle and high school kids to help them understand their own learning and their own learning differences. And what happened was we have a course for teachers, thousands of teachers have taken it, and teachers kept saying I’m really starting to understand what my students need while I’m having conversations with them. It’s not just learning strategies to teach them; it’s having those conversations. So then out of that came this course for students.
And what we do is we actually have a tool called the Learner’s Sketch. The students go in and they kinda see their strengths and their challenges, and then we help them learn many different strategies, whether it’s executive functioning, motivation, time management is a big one. But it helps them think about their own learning and what can I do. And also we teach them what are some of the technology tools you can use to help you. So those types of things I think sometimes we don’t really give kids the space to think about their own learning, but once they start to understand it, they have strategies and then they’re more successful. So I think that’s very much on that learning side of it, but I also think kids do have goals beyond what they’re learning in class, but we rarely kind of ask them what those are within the school setting. A lot of times those have to happen outside of school.
And so if we’re willing to kind of pull back a little bit and give teachers the space, like, I’ve wondered is it ninth grade English, like where’s the right space? I think every teacher could actually work with kids to kinda say what do you wanna do? Do you have ideas beyond this class? Like, I look at the interest that comes out of government classes or social studies classes, comparative religion, all these different things. What can you help kids see as possible beyond that? And so I think a lot of it is the same, it’s just not stopping and not letting those transcripts and those grades limit what we ask kids to do.
And finally, I think project-based learning in the secondary schools is unbelievably powerful. And we actually – you know, kids can solve challenges in the community, they can do a lot of things, and they can align to the standards. And so it’s just not easy and it’s not overnight. It’s really, you know, teaches being willing. So I know that it’s not something that we can all start tomorrow, but at the same time, I do believe it’s something _____.
Bob Wise: ‘Cause it does have unique aspects of practice and pedagogy about it. I just think there’s a lot of things we can put out there as here’s a project to work on. That’s not project-based learning. Project-based learning has an entire foundation and underpinning which increasingly I think people are tuning into and understanding the importance of it.
Mary Ann Wolf: Exactly.
Nancy Mangum: And, Mary Ann, I was just gonna add. If people are interested in the student course, is that getting ready to launch?
Mary Ann Wolf: It is. So I think right after the holiday that will be available, and it’s free. And so if a teacher wanted to work with their students, it’s only about four weeks, about an hour a week. There’s teacher guides to go with it. And what we’ve seen is it’s just a really powerful way to open up that conversation, and so many students in middle and high school have challenges around executive function, and if teachers help them do that, not only can they help them think about their own learning, which we know leads to more learning, they also can really help them build strategies around expressing ideas and time management and attention. And so, you know, if anyone’s interested, we can certainly send it out through you all because it’s a wonderful resource.
Bob Wise: I just wanna stress the importance of learner agency. We’ve been talking about it pretty much from the standpoint of what’s happening within the school and that learning experience, but let’s remember – which I don’t have to tell you all – let’s remember that’s – the student who leaves is going to be learning all his or her life, and whether you’re changing jobs, whether – whatever the function is, and it often will be taking place in a non-institutional environment. So the ability to instill those learning – that learner agency early on is just so critically important in our society.
Nancy Mangum: And we often share the research. I think it’s from Roland _____ who talks about in the ’50s, when you left high school, you almost had 75 percent of what you needed in your career in terms of knowledge. And in the early-2000s it was 2 percent. And so when we think about what we want students to be able to do when they leave is they need to know how to learn, how to collaborate, how to communicate, how to think critically, right, all our four Cs in deeper learning. And so how – you know, if we really wanna build that in, learner agency is key for any job that our kids are gonna have. We know we do it every day, right. We’re constantly learning and growing, and so how do we help prepare our kids for that? It’s not to regurgitate information, right, it’s to do a lot.
Bob Wise: So James in Kansas is onboard, I believe, but he’s a little skeptical on something. Great, but who is educating the principal or the board of education? It will be changing super-fast, and these are sometimes slow people.
Mary Ann Wolf: Yes, this is a question after our own heart in many ways. I think one of the things Nancy and I have, you know, and our team and I think the Friday Institute’s been able to do, but I would also say the Alliance for Excellent Education with future-ready schools is making this a priority. What we find is so often in districts it’s the school leaders and the principals that actually don’t stop to make time for their own learning. And I think that they wanna learn, they might be able to connect on social media, but actually taking time away to connect and work with others is key. And so. I mean, we’ve developed programs, we’ve worked with you all to develop programs that really give people who are n those leadership roles time to think and reflect but also build their own skills around this. And I think making that a priority is really, really important. You know, we look at programs that look across time, that create cohorts of learners ’cause we want people to stay connected throughout the time. And so I don’t know, Nancy, if you wanted to talk about any in particular there at the Friday Institute or –
Nancy Mangum: Sure. So I mean, we have a program, our leadership and professional and digital learning – I’m sorry, leadership and personalized and digital learning. It is professional learning. But that program is a program for school leaders, and that we actually train trainers to then facilitate back in their own organizations. And so I think it’s important, just like you said, whatever it is, we have to make time for leaders to have that learning. And so that’s a great program. Hopefully there’ll be more future-ready institutes. I know we had those this fall that focused on principals and district leaders as well, but I think –
Bob Wise: Four more institutes in 2018 plus additional workshops. Because the Friday Institute’s always an integral part of it. Schedule coming soon.
Nancy Mangum: Great. Yes, we’re excited to be a part of that.
Mary Ann Wolf: We are.
Bob Wise: So James in California asks, “When leading this change, do you recommend starting small? Maybe one teaching one class who’s personalizing or one subject? Or school-wide?”
Nancy Mangum: I think that’s a great question. That was James, right? So great question, James. You know, I think that there are a couple – I think it actually has to be in tandem. So I’m actually gonna straddle the fence a little bit and not choose a side, but I think that we have to set the vision. As a principal, we have to set the vision and say this is what we want teaching and learning to look like in all classrooms eventually, but we are gonna start small. We don’t expect you to change overnight. And so I think setting out that vision for everyone is really important. And allowing teachers to kind of move at their own pace but setting an end goa. So by – whether it’s by next year everyone is going to be doing this or, you know, within the next year and a half, but we’re all gonna try these small things. So I think that setting that out and kind of laying out the time on letting everyone know this is where we’re going, we’re all gonna get onboard and go there.
But then I think investing and trying small things. So Mary Ann talked about try one or two things and encouraging everyone to try those few things is important, but then also taking a few of your core teachers, your teachers who are really excited about doing this, and maybe giving them a little bit more time for professional learning or time for – to develop lessons so then they can kind of be your model classrooms where other teachers can see what’s working, what’s not working and how it’s going, I think is really important. So I would say it kind of has to happen both things at once.
Bob Wise: And this is why I think this answer is so critically important because what you said was to set the vision but recognize that you’re not gonna be able to do transformation necessarily all at once. So I wanna put that in the current policy context we’re in because, as you know, under the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind, every state has now submitted a plan from accountability and a number of things. Where the alliance is excited is now it’s up to school districts, 14,000 school districts in this country, to determine what are their lowest-performing schools, and most significantly what are their plans for turning them around? You will be engaged in this very shortly, school board member.
But then also within those schools – within schools that have certain subgroups that aren’t performing as they should, now the school develops a plan. So why I’m excited about your book is because, to those school leaders and district leaders who will shortly be involved in this, they can set that vision and they’ve also got a roadmap. And your book and some others that have come out recently too, they’ve got a roadmap for beginning that implementation process and it doesn’t have to be all at once, but the important thing is if I can get a vision down on paper, then I can work towards that. If I don’t have even a vision down, that’s pretty hard to move in that direction. So that’s why I think that you may – that’s why I think your book is so important, but also the answer you just gave to James, or to a whole lot of people.
So let me see if we can get – Mario in Jersey City picked up on exploration. On the topic of risk taking or exploration, have you come across any schools that dramatically changed their school days, their hours, as a way to explore, for instance, shorter days, and if so, how is it unique? So I think he’s looking at how do you adjust the school schedule to reflect _____?
Mary Ann Wolf: So I have seen some high schools that are being creative with schedules and, you know, we’re always the freshest with the ones we visited the most recently, but I was in a high school recently that has the first hour and the last hour are longer to allow high school students to either go and take community college classes or to take classes at the more – the comprehensive high school because this actually was a high school based on more project-based learning and they wanted to have options if a child needed an art class or something else that wasn’t offered there, but also I think really trying to make room for students who needed different pathways.
Other districts, I think, have done a lotta good work at the high school level, and whether it’s an early college approach or even allowing kids to dual enroll and do those kinds of things. I think from a teacher perspective, we’ve seen elementary schools that have added a block, like a science special, in order to give teachers more sustained time. So that’s something else that stands out to me, or larger blocks. Do you have other examples, Nancy? Those are the ones that jump to mind for me.
Nancy Mangum: Yeah, I think, just piggybacking on what you were saying, the larger blocks of time for teachers to actually do more exploration happens when you can put those back-to-back specials. So you have – maybe you go to PE and then students to go art right after that, and the PE teacher walks them to the art classroom. Which those of you who are elementary school teachers know that – or elementary principals know your teachers maybe have about 30 minutes, and 30 minutes isn’t really a long time to be in those professional learning communities. So stacking those specials together and not having the teacher have to go back and walk the student down the hall is really important.
But one other thing that comes to mind when we’re thinking about exploration and changing schedules, this isn’t actually changing the hours, but it is, like Mary Ann you mentioned, this was elementary schools and thinking about how do we get time for genius hour. And so Troy Moore’s school, what they did is that at dropoff time that typically students are doing morning work in an elementary classroom or kind of hanging out in the cafeteria, they actually go and they use that time in addition to the first 15 minutes, which was kind of, you know, everybody going over the morning work that students had just done. So they actually created about 40 minutes in the day every day for genius hour. And so that’s when students were working on their passion projects.
And so I think, to Mario’s point, while we know that some people are extending hours or changing up the schedule some like Mary Ann mentioned, I think some of it’s thinking outside the box. Why do we have to have 50-minute or 90-minute classes or why do all the students go to the cafeteria at the beginning of the morning and just kind of hang out before they can go in? Like, what else can they be doing to explore their passions or to experiment with other things?
Mary Ann Wolf: And one other thing that that brings to mind is the idea of extended hours in, like, the library media center, especially for kids that might not have access at home or need extra support. So we’ve seen many schools open up really early in the morning and stay open even until almost evening, 7:00 at night so students that need support or need access to technology, they can actually stay and have that safe place to be. And so I think that actually opens learning opportunities greatly as well.
Bob Wise: And we haven’t even gotten into summer and summer learning. So we’re gonna run over a little bit, but I wanna ask this question because I think it’s a very important one. John from Illinois asked, “I’ve said to teachers worried about their lack of computer expertise that they should focus instead on creating an environment conducive to learning. How can I help teachers who feel technologically outpaced by their students?”
Mary Ann Wolf: I think that’s a great question, John, and I think first and fore most we have to assure teachers that good pedagogy is at the center of all of this. And so strong instruction is so important. And it isn’t all about the technology. And so we have to have those strong instructional skills. I think then also letting them know they don’t have to know all of the digital tools to try a tool and to figure out how it fits with best instruction, where it goes appropriately, but using that tool, they don’t have to know all of the tools, right.
And then I would also say designing good lessons that give students choice and allowing students to maybe choose a tool that they wanna use. As a teacher, I don’t have to walk them step-by-step through that tool. Just by giving them strong these are the things that I’m looking for, these are the things that have to be included, but letting students choose the tool that they wanna use, because like you mentioned, the students already know how to do it, and so letting them help each other. And we have to – it’s also a great opportunity for us to say, you know, we don’t know all the answers, but maybe somebody else does. And so I think that letting go a little bit of that control, remembering that good instruction is always at the center and designing good lessons is important. And then trying one or two new tools. We don’t have to know them all, and giving students an opportunity for choice.
Nancy Mangum: And the only thing I would add is just asking for help both from your students but also from the coaches, the library media specialist, the others in the – the teachers in the building that might be ahead. People, I think, are happy to help and happy to help you, and when you have a question like that, I think it’s just, again, once you kind of take that first step of asking, then suddenly you become part of that conversation.
Bob Wise: Well, thank you ’cause you just answered Amber’s – addressed Amber’s issue as well in how can other school leaders such as school library media coordinators, librarians and others move personalized learning forward? It is truly a team approach.
Mary Ann Wolf: Truly. They can be a great resource, we know, and they’re really – they’re content experts, right. They go across all of the curriculum, and so using those library media folks or school librarians to help us and to support teachers as they move to provide resources and to model when that’s appropriate I think is a really great way to use them.
Bob Wise: Well, unfortunately one of the constants in education is also a constant on webinars, and that’s time. And so how do we think outside the box and get as much in as possible, and you all certainly have helped us. Additionally, of course, everything that has been discussed today is being archived and people will be able to access it. So we’ve run out of time for today, but certainly not on this topic, and I do want – I’d love to have the chance to come back at some point and talk about so many topics that we were not able to address, for instance, personalized learning communities across school and district lines, particularly in rural districts and areas where that teacher may be the only teacher in that content area in the building and so many other issues to talk about.
So I encourage, once again, great book. I just encourage school leaders to check out Nancy and Mary Ann’s book called Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework for Implementing Change. This book is available on Amazon or Harvard Press. You can also connect with them direct via Twitter at – speaking of our social media skills and tools – via Twitter at @nmangum, N-M-A-N-G-U-M, or @maryannwolfed.
I want to remind our viewers that information on the future-ready effort can be found at futureready.org. We’ve had the privilege of working many years with the Friday Institute in designing future-ready and conducting the institutes, developing the interactive dashboard that over 1,000 school district leaders are using currently. We encourage and challenge district superintendents to join over 3,100 others of their colleagues and sign the future-ready pledge. And I have to mention all of this is free. We also encourage our school leaders who are watching today to join us at one of the future year’s future-ready institutes, which as always are free for attendees. And once again, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to two well-known authors, Nancy and Mary Ann, and of course some others – Tom Murray and others who are so involved in this.
I want to encourage our viewers to get involved with our new and growing strands from district leaders. Future-ready schools now works with IT, principals, librarians and instructional coaches. Mary Ann mentioned that earlier. We have vastly expanded the reach of future-ready schools because everyone has a part in advancing digital and personalized learning. And of course, check out our Facebook groups and ongoing activities for these strands today.
I very much wanna thank Mary Ann and Nancy for – and to thank all of you, our viewers, for joining us for this future-ready webinar. Don’t forget to connect with us here at future-ready on Twitter @futureready and on Facebook at facebook.com/futurereadyschools. If you missed any of today’s conversation or you wanna go back and get some more – hear some more of this rich content or look at the PowerPoints that were presented, the slides that were presented, all of this will be archived at www.allforred.org/webinars soon after this webinar. On that page, you can also see a list of upcoming webinars and you can also find all the alliance’s Google Hangouts on our YouTube channel as well. Thank you again for joining us here at future-ready, and have a fabulous day. And thank you, Nancy. Thank you, Mary Ann for this wonderful book. We’ll see you next time.
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