Personalizing Learning

Session 2 – October 21, 2023

Presenter: Matt Simon

Guiding Questions: How might we give our students more agency over what they are learning, how they are learning it, and how they are sharing their learning? How might we work with our students to co-design learning experiences that matter to them?

Learning is more likely to last for our students when they are able to make decisions about what they are learning, how they are learning it, and how they will demonstrate their learning. In this workshop, we will explore the Ohio Department of Education’s emerging Personalized Learning Framework as well as models of education that provide students with significant agency (voice, choice, and decision-making power) to ensure they are interested in what they are learning and that their learning has value to them and the world beyond school. Participants will also brainstorm and determine ways in which they would like to integrate elements of personalized learning into their own classrooms, and participants will have time to share their ideas for strengths-based feedback.

Learning Targets:

  • Identify key elements and potential challenges for civic engagement
  • Build skills sparking investigation, imagination, and action
  • Develop confidence navigating challenges and harnessing the potential of our interconnectedness
  • Catalyze your own imaginative agency and critical thinking

Session 2 Essential Questions

  • How might we leverage personalized learning to deepen student engagement?
  • How might we work with our students to design learning experiences that truly matter to them and lead to learning that lasts?
  • How might we support our students with becoming leaders of their own learning?

Session 2 Outcomes

  • I can explain WHAT personalized learning is and WHY/HOW personalized learning supports deeper engagement and learning that lasts.
  • I can design a personalized learning experience that builds on a student’s strengths, interests, growth areas, and/or aspirations.
  • I can design and share a plan for how I will personalize learning with/for the learners I work with.

Session 2 Pre-Work (Recommended)

Please take no more than 15 minutes to think and jot notes about the following questions.

  1.  Be Skeptical: What is something about our current education system OR what happens at your school or district that you QUESTION? Perhaps because it does not support students with learning or engaging deeply, perhaps because it harms students, or perhaps because it makes it harder for educators to teach deeply or powerfully? Like, why do we do this?! You will have a minute to share with others what it is you question.
  2. Be Courageous: What is a time in your life where you demonstrated courage? You will have a minute to share with others about a time when you demonstrated courage.
  3.  Be Student-Centered: Who are three unique learners you work with that you want to center today? What are each of their names, strengths, interests, growth areas, and future aspirations (or what are your aspirations for them)? What helps them to be successful in school? What causes them to struggle? You will have two minutes to tell others about these three learners.

About the Session Presenter:
Matt Simon
Director, Hawken Upper School

Matt currently serves as an Assistant Principal for Shaker Heights City Schools and leads the Innovative Center for Personalized Learning, a learning option for all high school students in Shaker Heights who want to co-author personalized, project-based courses with Shaker Heights teachers within a small, caring learning community. In August 2023, Matt will assume a new position as the Director of Hawken Upper School, an independent, progressive high school in Northeast Ohio emphasizing mastery learning and rigorous project-based learning.
Prior to moving to Ohio, Matt worked as a teacher and professional development specialist for High Tech High, a network of schools emphasizing authentic, project-based learning in San Diego, California. Matt also served as Director of Curriculum & Instruction for the San Diego County Office of Education, where he supported San Diego County community schools, alternative schools, charter schools, and innovative pilot schools with moving towards more meaningful approaches to teaching, learning, and leading.