Friday, March 11, 2022

Apple Elements of Learning - Personalized Learning

This post is as much informational as it is for me to synthesize my own understanding of the Elements of Learning. Plus if I do it every day that's 5 days of writing that I don't have to brainstorm a new idea. 

The 5 Elements of Learning are: 


Communication and Creation

Personalized Learning

Critical Thinking

Real-World Engagement

A note about the Elements of Learning. Apple's research shows that students that come from classrooms with the 5 Elements of Learning are highly effective learners and the technology just amplifies that learning. 

Element # 3 - Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning. I like to hear people in education talk about personalized learning. I feel like there are so many interpretations of what it really is. I feel like most people are really talking about differentiation. Again just my opinion. I have the book How to Personalize Learning: A Practical Guide for Getting Started and Going Deeper by Bray and McClaskey (Corwin Press). I've had the book for about 5 years. I haven't looked at it in 5 years. I don't remember much from it and I left it on my desk. I meant to bring it home. What I do remember is that they talked about UDL. Students should create a Learner Profile (LP). Then they create a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) and they need to identify their Personalize Learning Backpack (PLB). The latter is a set of resources and apps that will support their learning. This was my first exposure to personalize learning. 

Now on to Apple's definition. Element #3 must have 3 components to be implemented at a high level. Those components are variation of task, significant choice, and equitable access. Let's look closer at those. Variation of task is when a teacher gives students more than 1 task to learn the material. This could be different scaffolding for different ability levels. Varied tasks create different levels of difficulty within the same assignment for different students. Significant choice means STUDENTS choose, with or without the support of the teacher. Students can choose a type of product, tools, learning activity path, and even learning goals. Do you have to give students choice in all those areas? No. Should you pick one and build on it in the next lesson or unit? Yes. This choice allows them to draw on their background and their strengths. Choice is not appropriate all the time, and you don't want to make choices about things they are not familiar with. Again start small and build on yours and your student's successes. Having students do a science lab in any order they want is not rigorous enough to constitute choice. Having students design their own lab or labs is! Finally, equitable access is important. Teachers should be offering equitable access through their lesson design and their classroom culture. The iPad or other device has assistive tech or accessibility features that can support students. Teachers should be demonstrating these options to the whole class or meeting with individual students to conference about what might meet their needs. 

Again doing all of these things caused the teacher to have to relinquish some control in order to meet students where they are. This is hard for many teachers. If they would give up some control they would get so much back from their students. 

I need to look at Bray and McClaskey's again and see how I can join these two approaches together. That sounds like a future blog post. 

Excerpt From: Apple Education. “Elements of Learning.” Apple Inc. - Education, 2018. Apple Books.

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