Making School Design Personal

State & National Leaders Collaborate on Ohio’s First Personalized Learning Design Lab 

The idea for a Personalized Learning Design Lab took root last fall when we received calls from district after district seeking help in writing Ohio Straight A grants to implement ‘blended learning.’  In the consultation process, we discovered that districts really wanted to innovate, but were often stuck contemplating a technology integration or one-to-one initiative due to lack of support.  While these efforts may be important, they don’t fundamentally change the institutional structure of school by using time, talent and resources differently to create effective student-centered experiences (and the outcomes we need). So we began brainstorming: What strategies might support schools and districts in charting their own path toward blended learning?

The recently released report “State of Opportunity: The Status and Direction of Blended Learning in Ohio” (from the Ohio Blended Learning Network, in partnership with The Learning Accelerator and the Christensen Institute) provides us with a comprehensive look at the extent to which Ohio schools and districts are implementing blended learning, and the needs according to participating schools and districts. Professional development, resource coordination, and particularly support for planning and networking top the list.

Lack of planning time and a need for more thorough planning was noted as a primary challenge with blended-learning implementation. The report notes that iterative innovation processes are helpful in planning for blended learning because, even though there are building blocks, there is no “right formula” in implementation. If school leaders understand how to use iterative innovation processes to meet their specific goals, the planning and implementation of blended-learning programs will be more efficient and will move schools more quickly toward discovering approaches that improve their students’ outcomes. The event was conceived to support teams of educators with new, more iterative design processes—and the Lab itself is infused with a more personal yet collaborative approach to creating new models of learning.

The Ohio Report and my own ‘in the trenches’ research clearly demonstrate there is a significant gap in resources, coordination, and collaboration that must be addressed in order to ensure that all youth thrive in school – and beyond.  Few schools and districts can truly re-envision school without significant attention to ongoing, iterative innovation processes, networking and consultation, yet too few organizations have the time and financial capital to go it alone.  This challenge is especially difficult for the small/rural districts, community schools, and STEM designated schools we serve.

Making School Design Personal

The Personalized Learning Design Lab will be unlike any other professional learning or networking experience.  School or district teams submit an application describing their current plans/implementation and the challenges they are facing.  From these applications, we will invite 20 – 25 school or district teams to attend the March 17th Design Lab where they will:

  • Engage in personalized sessions with cutting edge experts where they share their journey, plans, successes and challenges. Experts will listen, offer feedback and strategies for moving forward.
  • Explore high quality/vetted resources (free or low cost) to enhance teaching and learning experience for adults and students.
  • Talk candidly with fiscal experts about strategies for re-envisioning fiscal and human resource practices to incubate, expand and sustain personalized learning.
  • Prototype their team’s personalized learning initiative with specific strategies and action steps.
  • Network with like-minded individuals and organizations and create opportunities to collaborate or bring to scale plans and practices which will greatly benefit Ohio learners.

Design support is provided by National Supporting Partners: The Learning Accelerator, Mastery Design Collaborative, PAST Innovation Lab and Pillar Technology as well as BattelleEducation, BetterLesson, and the Ohio Blended Learning Network.

Teams can apply here.

As a result of this event, we believe school and district teams will begin to increase their local capacity to incubate, expand and/or sustain personalized learning that is essential to student success – in school and beyond.

By Michele Timmons

Founder & CEO



Our Courses

Image Course Description Price Created On Last Updated On categories_ID
Supporting Families (Level 1) Consider the differences between engaging and supporting eight types of parents or family members you might encounter. Reflect on your past experiences with each of those types. Create and implement an action plan to improve your support for families who need it. 0.00 2020/07/17 2022/03/24 6
STEAMing Up Literacy (Level 1) The content in this course is designed to begin your understanding of STEAM integration (design thinking) and apply this knowledge to your own classroom. You will have the opportunity to implement a mini lesson and receive feedback about your lesson. Two “office hours” will be available to chat with the instructor and others enrolled in this course. 0.00 2021/01/09 2022/03/24 5
Trauma Brain (Level 1) The brain is constantly changing and molding in response to the environment. These changes impact student learning. This is especially true in terms of trauma. This training is designed to help participants learn what goes on in the brain and how they can set up a learning environment for each of the students in their class. 0.00 2021/01/30 2022/03/24 4
STEAMing Up Literacy (Level 2) The content in this course is designed to begin your understanding of Problem Based Learning(PBL) and apply this knowledge to your own classroom. You will have the opportunity to implement a mini lesson and receive feedback about your lesson. 0.00 2021/02/23 2022/03/24 5
High Quality Literacy Instruction (Level 1 & 2) Core content includes an overview of Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement, evidence-based literacy practices, and resources and tools for literacy instruction. Participants will create, implement and improve two classroom-based literacy strategies (in-person, blended or remote). 0.00 2021/02/23 2022/03/24 5
Supporting Families (Level 2) In Engaging Families Through Support - Level 1, you learned about eight types of parents/caregivers and reflected on your past experiences with each type, culminating in a plan to better engage specific types as partners in their children's education. During this 8-hour asynchronous course you will delve deeper in your understanding of the eight types of parents/caregivers by speaking with individual family members you work with, discovering what they need from you and your program, and implementing an action plan informed by the actual families you serve. Doing so will give you sustainable skills and strategies to build stronger family engagement year after year. 0.00 2021/03/07 2022/03/30 6
Differentiated & Engaged Instruction (Level 1) Differentiation is effective instruction that is responsive to the learner’s preferences, interests and their readiness. It could be explained as a framework for thinking about your teaching and your student’s learning. This course discusses differentiation as an effective teaching tool. Included are many resources and strategies to help meet the learning needs of each student. Participants will learn through various articles, videos, examples, strategies and resources to adapt lessons to meet the needs of each student in their classrooms. 0.00 2021/03/18 2022/03/24 5
Trauma Brain (Level 2) This course gives an advanced understanding of the brain. including differences between “active” and “relational” based brains, trauma-related behaviors, and strategies to reach and teach trauma-impacted students so that they can re-engage in learning. Participants will learn about the range of thinking that a brain does, explore how students fit into the range of thinking, and discover healthy ways of engaging the full range of thinking. 0.00 2021/05/31 2022/03/24 4
Differentiated & Engaged Instruction (Level 2) This 8-hour, self-paced course is facilitated by Laurie Trotter, an EnvisionEdPlus Instructional Specialist. The course explores advanced differentiation as an effective instructional method that is responsive to the learner’s preferences and interests. Create, implement, and improve a lesson plan to engage all learners. Participants will learn through various articles, videos, examples, strategies, and resources to be able to be proficient in starting to adapt lessons to meet all needs of students in their classroom. Prerequisite: Differentiated and Engaged Instruction (Bronze Badge). 0.00 2021/05/31 2022/03/24 5
Creativity Belongs in the Classroom (Level 1) Encourage lifelong learning, improve focus, reduce anxiety and enhance thinking in your classroom or program. Creativity is a learned and trained process for getting the most out of higher level thinking and problem solving of your students. Learn how to embed creativity easily into your lessons, using strategies that will help unlock your students ability to be innovative thinkers and problem solvers. This course is appropriate for anyone who works with youth and also satisfies the HQPD Gifted competencies of A, B, and D. 0.00 2022/01/14 2022/04/10 5

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