Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TIES 14 Notes: Personalized Learning-Our Journey

Michelle Ament, Director of Technology and Learning in Eden Prairie and Terry Nealon, CEO and Co-Founder of Fishtree, shared their work on personalized learning.
iLearn @EP is their 1:1 initiative, where students at elementary and middle school receive an iPad, and high school students use a Macbook Air for their learning.

Ament shared the process they went through for choosing an LMS (Schoology), and that they realized they needed a way to personalize learning with Fishtree, and how they integrated the two together to make Fishtree an App inside of Schoology. Scoology is the one-stop-shop for single sign-on to get into both systems.

Nealon's vision for Fishtree is to align resources for any standard for any subject, personalize the resources for the learner, and adapt to every learner in a simple interface. 
The name of the company comes from this Einstein quote:

Learning relationship management involves personalization, Curration, collaboration and learning management. They want to save teachers time, engage every student, support every parent and demonstrate return on investment for the institution.

To me, this sounds similar to School-Of-One, or Plato, except they pull Open Educational Resources into the mix. I'm not sure that this definition of personalized learning meshes with my own. I think this study speaks to the need for personalization to be more about student choice in what they learn, how they learn and how they will demonstrate learning. 

Ament showed how the Fishtree sits in an iFrame within Schoology. They launched an online cohort a few days ago, with a blended cohort. She has seen a great deal of collaboration already within the space. She believes that it isn't about the tool, but about the learning possible, however it requires a tool kit to get things started.

One of the Eden Prairie coaches mentioned a teacher who is doing what I described above in the editorial using Peardeck, Nearpod and other tools and then students post what and how they learned in Schoology, not using Fishtree. Nealon believes that Fishtree allows for more differentiation, but Ament added that what coach described is what personalization really is about, Fishtree is just another tool. Fishtree pulls great analytics on the resources a student needs to be successful.

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