The Personalized Learning Initiative (PLI) will empower Mount Pulaski CUD #23 students to be successful, problem-solving citizens both locally and globally in this world of ubiquitous computing. Whether students enter college, technical college, or the work force, they will have the tools, expertise, and knowledge required to be successful.
The PLI will develop learner skills that foster anytime, anywhere learning. Both teachers and students will actively participate and establish ownership in the process of learning while:
- Critically analyzing and evaluating information
- Collaborating to create new knowledge and solve real-world problems
- Effectively communicating new knowledge
- Creating personally relevant and original work(s) for a local and global audience
The PLI requires a shift when thinking about the traditional role of the teacher. Technology now offers the ability for the teacher to facilitate student-centered, authentic experiences to reinforce skills needed to be successful citizens in our world. Teachers can facilitate a more engaging learning experience at an individualized pace with the use of technology. The initiative is not about the tool used, but about how it is used to effectively facilitate learning. With that being said, a device selection committee has selected Apple as the vendor of choice for this endeavor. The device for student use will be the iPad. Instructors will use a MacBook Air for content creation and an iPad for classroom use. This incorporation of technology will work in tandem more efficiently to align transformed teaching styles and methods to the diverse ways in which students learn.
Since this success of this PLI will be directly linked to how the technology is used, it is critical that professional development for instructors be the initial and an ongoing focus of the initiative. In investigating possible tools to use for this PLI, the committee agreed that Apple provides the best Educational Professional Development opportunities to transform the classroom into a collaborative zone for content creation, critical thinking, and problem solving. Additional benefits in selecting Apple as the vendor include; un-paralleled user-interface, technical capabilities, iCloud storage, iBooks Author, iTunes U, Apple TV Mirroring, brand dependability and recognition, and true portability.
The Framework for Using Technology in Education
Teachers will not be expected to transform the way they teach overnight. Adequate and effective Professional Development is critical for teachers to have ample opportunity to achieve expertise and comfort level to implement the PLI. Traditionally, technology tools given to teachers have been specific tools for the teacher. With this PLI, the tool becomes student-centered, therefore redefining the learning environment. Professional Development will focus on creation of lessons that are based in the SAMR Model for integrating technology in education. The SAMR Model, created by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, takes learning from the introductory level of “Substitution” to “Redefinition.” This model is intended to provide teachers with a way to self-reflect and refine their practice and pedagogy using instructional technology. Furthermore, this model is used by Apple Professional Development Educators in training due to the research that supports its validity.
Tool Selection Committee
The following individuals served to evaluate and discuss the best tool to support teaching and learning by transforming the classroom and aligning to the way this generation of students learn.
- Todd Cyrulik, Former Board of Education Member
- Todd Hamm, Former MPCUD #23 Superintendent
- Terry Morgan, MPHS Principal
- Heather Fricke, MPCUD #23 Technology Coordinator
- Michael Copley, MPHS Mathematics Instructor
- Susan Springer, Former MPHS English Instructor
- Sheila Myers, MPHS Business Instructor
- Barbara Maske, Retired MPGS Junior High Language Arts Instructor
- Rob Siebert, MPGS Elementary Instructor