K-12 Education

Personalized Learning Plans: A K-12 Trend to Watch

Allan Booth

Education Dive is an online media outlet that covers K-12, Higher Ed, massive open online courses (MOOCs), blended learning, EdTech, school administration, testing, education policy and more. In a feature article about K-12 trends to watch in 2016, Education Dive identified personalized learning plans (PLPs) as one of the issues that is poised to shape the future of K-12:

 

“The sparsely-populated state of Vermont is leading the way with a push towards personalized learning plans (PLPs) for students. It recently mandated the creation of PLPs for all public school students in grades 7-12. The Flexible Pathways Initiative was signed into law in June 2013 and will be phased in over the course of the next four years. The intention is to put students at the center of the construction of their own learning experience, which evidence indicates will result in greater relevance and engagement, and therefore better outcomes.”

 

Beyond Vermont, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have been promoting the use of PLPs. This year, the Gates Foundation partnered with the RAND Corporation to produce a new report, “Continued Progress,” to measure the efficacy of personalized learning. In general, the study found that students from 62 different public charter and district schools “made gains in mathematics and reading over the past two years that were significantly greater than a comparison group made up of similar students selected from comparable schools.”

 

Programs like Big Picture Learning, digital learning platforms similar to those offered by Schoology, and the advent of 1:1 device-to-student ratios also promote individualized learning. Denver’s Roots Elementary also helps students develop PLPs.

 

Zuckerberg highlighted that personalized learning “helps students reach their full potential” in a Facebook post on Nov. 10, saying that it “empowered” them to become self-directed learners and “connect their daily actions to their long-term goals.” “In a personalized learning classroom, technology frees up time for teachers to do what they do best: teach students in small groups and customize instruction,” Zuckerberg wrote.

 

Successful implementation of next generation learning will revolve around reinventing traditional structures, including the financial model. Next generation learning financial plans will redefine how funds are allocated. School districts will need to develop innovative approaches to resource allocation strategies and consider new creative options. At the same time, determining what the new role of the teacher will be and planning for human resource capacity in financial models will be key to successful next generation learning program design.

 

Conventional budgeting processes don’t provide the flexibility and configurability that are needed to consider and implement next generation plans. Rather, school districts require a fully integrated solution that has been designed specifically to meet the unique needs of the public sector.

 

If you are looking for a collaborative, web-based budgeting tool that provides a controlled environment for budget input, review, approval and maintenance, then look to Questica Budget.

 

Questica Budget offers one point of data entry and seamless integration with a school district’s financial system. The software offers an available ranking system to determine which initiatives should receive top priority. Running different “what-if” scenarios for various resource allocation options is straightforward, and the impact of each scenario is immediately understood. Questica Budget also offers a tool that allows schools to input their unique staffing requirements, salary and premium information to forecast their anticipated staffing costs.

 

Questica Budget currently manages over $55 billion in annual public sector budgets. If you would like to take advantage of the benefits of a proven budgeting solution as you conceptualize, design and develop next generation learning, take the first step today and request a demo of Questica Budget.

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