Darlington School: Promising Directions for Personalized Learning
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Promising Directions for Personalized Learning

Rebekah Kinney | February 20, 2019 | 134 views

Thanks to the generosity of the Thatcher Faculty Development Fund, I was recently able to attend the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando, Florida. I would especially like to thank Technology Integration Coordinator, Beth Wardlaw, for proposing the Thatcher Grant that allowed me, Ashley Evans, Kimberly Human, Taylor Boyle, Beth Wardlaw, and Jennifer Luitwieler to attend this conference.  

One of the sessions I attended, “Promising Directions for Personalized Learning in 2019 and Beyond” by Larry Berger, will assist me when working with my colleagues to develop the most efficient personalized learning techniques for the classroom. This particular session focused on five important examples of personalized learning. 

Darlington faculty have already been focusing on all of these examples of personalized learning through participating in professional development workshops, professional development grants, learning from valuable speakers, and from observing one another teaching. Some of the examples are evident at Darlington, and others we hope to learn more about and implement in the future. 

The five examples of personalized learning are:

1. Incorporating Self-Reflection and Goal-Setting:
When students take time to consider what they have learned and how they have grown, the learning is longer lasting and much more impactful. Goals allow students to focus their energy on a few specific outcomes and channels their work allowing learning to make more of an impact on the individual.

Darlington faculty members are asked to develop goals each January. They work with their colleagues, department chairs, and divisional directors to accomplish these goals. 

2. Flexible & Intentional Master Schedules
Flexible scheduling is defined as creative use of the time in the school day in an attempt to match the instructional time and format to the learning needs of students. Darlington’s schedule provides time for students to visit faculty members during office hours and to focus on their passions in iPeriods. Longer classes in Darlington’s eight day rotation schedule allows faculty to develop more projects and activities incorporating individualized learning.  

3. Using Digital Content and Tools in a Purposeful Way
Technology is integrated into all aspects of learning at Darlington School (because our world requires it). Darlington has a responsibility to develop students who are digitally capable, literate, discerning, and responsible. We believe that the best way to accomplish this goal is to create technologically-infused environment in the classroom and throughout all learning environments.

4. Planning for Flexible Seating
Flexible seating encourages children to share space and supplies and allows students to find comfortable positions throughout the classroom. Comfortable students are calm, focused, and productive.

5. Involving Students in Grading Conversations
“Grade Interviews” with students are helpful in any classroom setting. This is what the Learning Center at Darlington puts into practice daily. Students leave a discussion about their grades with a faculty member knowing exactly what they need to work on or what they are doing well.

These five examples of personalized learning will continue to benefit the students and faculty members at Darlington.