In early August, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), in collaboration with ASCD and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), hosted Innovate to Educate: A Symposium on [Re]Design for Personalized Learning. Held in Boston, the event aimed to accelerate the evolution of the current, mass production education model to a student-centered, personalized learning model that will engage, motivate and better prepare students for life, meaningful work and citizenship.
Focused on creating common definitions and highlighting best practices, the event brought together more than 150 high-level, visionary K-12 educators, national thought leaders and senior technology executives. It also served as the catalyst for an ongoing initiative to support policies that will reshape educational practices and curriculum development to support personalized learning.
Participants, including Sara Brown Wessling, National Teacher of the Year, and Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Education Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, reflected on the evolution of the education industry and discussed how innovative policy and new industry practices can reform the future of education. As an example, Steve Nordmark, VP of Solutions Management and Development for netTrekker, shared one discussion focused on schools’ willingness to incorporate outside or student-owned devices as a way to scale large personalized learning programs within the current economic climate.
Todd Brekhus, President of Capstone Digital and Co-Chair of the SIIA Personalization Working Group, shared that the consensus of the symposium was that personalized learning is more than a software agenda or a brief reform agenda; it is about rethinking curriculum, instruction, technology, and student-centered approaches. Todd explained, “The symposium was only the beginning of a long-term discussion, and I am hopeful that the next innovations and breakthroughs in education will derive from personalized approaches.”
SIIA has posted a Symposium Primer, which will be updated and added to the archive of proceedings (including sessions summaries, speaker videos, and discussion highlights).
As educators and administrators, how do you feel that personalized learning approaches can benefit student outcomes? As education technology vendors, what are your organizations doing to support these efforts?