21st Century Learning

Personalized Learning Playbook – Your guide to introducing personalized learning in your classroom

When we talk to educators it is very easy to see the difference in the educators who already had a the PL Mindset.

They asked questions which helped them understand what happens in the classroom week after week. They asked about how the school was different than before, and what changes they made year-over-year.

The educators without the PL Mindset often asked about which digital content was being used and if the content worked. They often criticized what was happening in the classrooms and said they were doing it better at their own schools. They said they couldn’t do this work because of bell schedules, resources, lack of infrastructure, etc.

What is the PL Mindset?

First, it is the belief that every child deserves a personalized learning experience. You have to believe that personalized learning as a strategy for instruction will provide the best opportunities for each student to meet their fullest potential. All other decisions, then, revolve around this belief..

Second, it is the understanding that personalized learning is a continuously evolving process. As you get new information about the student, teachers, available technologies, and developments in the world around us, what personalized learning looks like for you will change. personalized learning is a journey, not a destination. If you do it right, you will make frequent and purposeful decisions to iterate your school model and instructional strategies.

Third, it is knowing that this work is creative and often answers are unknown until you try. You have to be ready to fail fast, fail small and try again. When you succeed you try to scale and replicate. In order to do this, we have to create a culture and work environments where we can be creative, collaborate, and learn. Educators spend a lot of hours in schools every day and they have to be places that are awesome for this way of working.

“The greatest common denominator in effective teaching  and learning is personalization” …Anthony Kim founder of education elements

We are at a new moment in our ability to make  education relevant, individualized, and effective  for students and teachers alike. The components  of customized education have always existed, but never before  have we had the capability to extend that personalized  approach to all students of all abilities. The accessibility and  effectiveness of technology is at a “tipping point” where it can  deliver on its promise while creating more room for creativity  and connection than ever before.

For the past 30 years, technology has been making its way  into classrooms in fits and starts. We’ve seen computers on  carts, computer stations, iPads or laptops for every student,  computer labs, and all kinds of smart boards and other tools  to enrich our classrooms and teaching. But the benefits have  been uneven, frustrating, and unreliable.  However, we are at a unique moment in the evolution of technology in the classroom. The tools and capabilities themselves  have caught up to the demands of teachers and students:

The “cloud,” digital content, teacher tools, and “dashboards”  make resources available at all times and from anywhere.

  • There is ease, accessibility, affordability, and reliability with  today’s software and hardware.
  • The latest learning tools and standardization of curricula  produce results when used properly. The time and attention  invested in technology is time and attention that is rewarded.

We can finally bring the ubiquity of technology in the “real  world” into our classrooms. We are able to provide a level of personalization and customization that can transform the  educational experience of teachers and students.  A useful model is to think of personalization as a simple  equation with three elements:

WHY PERSONALIZED LEARNING ? – Personalized learning allows students to get the instruction  and direction they need, when they need it. Personalized learning  means that students’ needs are better known to the teacher. It means that  students’ learning styles, skills, and even personal issues affecting  their learning ability are known as well. Through personalized  learning, teachers can “catch” students  plateau, give up, and disengage.

TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS AND TOOLS – Carefully chosen and relevant technology platforms and materials give teachers more time for personal, in-depth interaction  with students. Students are accustomed to technology in every  aspect of their lives and see technology as something “personal”,  or meeting their individual needs and interests, and part of their everyday experience.

WHOLE SCHOOL DESIGN – Integrating technology, relevant instruction, and facilitating  deeper learning and personal connections happens through  creative and effective classroom design. The elements of  classroom design layout of a classroom, instructional models  used, timing of lectures, group projects, and independent work are among those that create the environment for engaged  and optimal learning.

High Engagement and Sustainable Success – When all three of the elements work together, we see students  receiving regular feedback from the use of relevant tools and  more individualized time with teachers which results in more  ownership of learning, excitement, and pride over progress.

Evolution of Workplace & School – The world has evolved from the industrial age, Information age to the age of Networking and Collaboration but out schooling system remains designed for the industrial age.

What is personalized learning  and why does it matter?

Personalized learning is about knowing and meeting students needs, interests, skills and competencies. Our students need to be prepared for the world we live in and for the FUTURE.

What Do Students Want from Teachers and School?

• Students want to be in school but are not always completely  satisfied with what the school has to offer or why they need  to learn the way the material is taught.

• Instruction tailored and relevant to their needs—not inefficient,  as it seems to many of them.

• Feedback received in real time — and positive reinforcement  for being right.

• To be better learners, and to find answers more efficiently.

• For students who believe they can find information anytime  and anywhere, they want to know what they can do with all  that information. What can they create, discover, innovate?

What Do Teachers Want?


• To make a positive and lasting impression on students.

• To influence, motivate, and change the lives of students.

• To create the communities of our future by helping students  become thinkers and problem solvers.

• Meaningful and engaged relationships with their students.

• Respect from their students and community.

What Do Parents and Communities Want?

• Schools and teachers who listen to their needs  and are flexible.

• Equal opportunities for their children.

• Students who are prepared for the future, who are ready for  college, and careers and who become productive citizens.

• Choices based upon family interests.

• Safe environments that foster social interaction  and positive relationships with peers and adults.

“Even with all the resources out there, far too many schools are either neglecting the opportunity that technology holds to help personalize learning at scale or are leading with the technology rather than their education goals.” – michael horn, m.b.a., co-founder, clayton christensen institute

Technology powers Personalization


Teachers who try to provide personalized learning to students without the support of technology have a heroic task. It’s nearly impossible to sustain the long hours required to teach, review material, and provide individual feedback for student growth. For a teacher today, curation of information and helping students create knowledge is as important as delivering information.

There are various ways to implement personalized learning. They include blended learning models, project-based learning, competency-based models, and flipped classrooms. However, these strategies are often unsustainable without the support of technology.
There are 3 principles you need to accept immediately to move forward:

  1. There isn’t an uber technology platform that has the level of intelligence we need or that substitutes for the teacher.
  2. We can’t expect instructional software to solve the teaching and learning problem on its own.
  3. Software isn’t that smart. Let’s think about this in a way that relates to our everyday lives.

3 ways technology amplifies the reach of the teacher

  1. Feedback
  2. Collaboration
  3. Creation

5 elements of whole school design to implement personalized learning:

  1. Strategy to clarify the vision focused on desired outcomes and the rollout steps that would follow.
  2. School-level design that covers instructional models, student success factors, bell schedules, classroom layouts, and assessment systems.
  3. Curriculum and instruction, encompassing online and offline content, targeted student learning plans, and monitoring tools.
  4. Support for teachers, schools, ongoing communication, and resources.
  5. Operations to enable the necessary budget, IT for current needs, maintenance, upgrades, and staffing.

Source :  By Anthony Kim founder of education elements, Personalized Learning Play-book


About Ekin Knowledge

Ekin Knowledge is an innovative Edutech company in the space of personalized learning. edWhizz by Ekin is a personalized learning platform which enables teachers to deliver differentiated instructions and personalized assessments based on individual student needs.


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