I recently came across an interview with Mira Brown, the chief external officer for Summit Public Schools, a school district located in Redwood City, California. The district had decided that it did not want to use a commercially available Learning Management System. Instead, it accessed a group of volunteer engineers from Facebook, whose company is headquartered miles away. The engineers helped the district design its own Personalized Learning Plan (otherwise knows as a Personalized Learning Network) that it could use to deliver online content to its students.
One of the main reasons that the district decided to take this approach was that none of the available LMSs could deliver what they wanted: a network that could offer students access to a more personalized teaching style that they could access when and wherever they chose. This level of cooperation has now grown to include the students, who are making suggestions to improve the district's PLP.
While Mrs. Brown also talks about the specific processes involved, what I was most impressed with was the student involvement aspect. What a great model for cooperative learning! Students taking an active interest in their own learning and contributing to and helping to build the system, in this case, a network, that delivers instructional content is quite phenomenal.
In my own classroom, I know that lessons that allow students a degree of control over how they learn are more successful and engaging than the ones that are totally teacher driven. That Summit Public Schools was able to implement this model on such a large scale is amazing.
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I am a Special Education teacher currently pursuing his Master of Arts in Information & Learning Technologies (Option: K-12) at CU Denver. I work at Boulder High School in Boulder, CO. Here you will find my thoughts on education.