Conference Recap: 2017 Blended and Personalized Learning Conference

Assorted Electronics on table

MVLRI staff attended the 2017 Blended and Personalized Learning Conference, hosted by The Highlander Institute, The Christensen Institute and The Learning Accelerator. Over the course of two days, attendees and presenters connected on a number of different topics in the realm of blended and personalized learning, including curriculum design, systems-wide change, professional development, and equity and inclusion. Presented below are one-sentence takeaways from each of the sessions that MVLRI staff participated in, as well as a list of all of the presenters and facilitators involved. Thank you to everyone who helped make the conference a valuable opportunity to learn and network.

  • It is crucial to allow individuals and programs to “walk” before they can “run.”
  • Leaders should focus on implementing common-sense policy and strive to unify conversations when implementing change.
  • Second-order change, or change that is irreversible, is largely dependent on culture.
  • Effective professional development involves defining competencies, reflecting and assessing on strengths and gaps, offering personalized supports, and aligning systems and processes to expectations.
  • Two challenges posed in research of personalized and blended learning: definitions and variables.
  • You don’t have to be a “capital R Researcher” to do impactful research.
  • This event is not a technology conference, but an “instructional models conference.”
  • Developing partnerships with higher ed institutions, nearby schools and districts, philanthropic organizations, and local businesses can be key to building a personalized learning initiative.
  • Personalization of instruction should enable the growth of cultural identities and voices with the goal of achieving equity.

Shawn Rubin, The Highlander Institute – @ShawnCRubin
S. Dallas Dance, Baltimore County Public Schools – @DDance_BCPS
James Murray, Waukesha STEM Academy – @edUcation_frwd
LeeAndra Khan, Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School – @leeandrakhan
Ken Wagner, Rhode Island Commissioner of Education – @RIDeptEd
Sally Schultz, Knox Middle School – @Ms_SallySchultz
Juliana Finegan, The Learning Accelerator – @JulianaFinegan
Rafael Gallardo, Puget Sound Educational Service District – @blendlearntech
Ethan Scherer, Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research – @HarvardCEPR
Tricia Maas, Center on Reinventing Public Education – @triciamaas
Heather Staker, Ready to Blend – @hstaker
Michele Williams-George, University of California, Davis
Julia Freeland Fisher, The Clayton Christensen Institute – @juliaffreeland
Ashley Bryan Flores, Dallas Independent School District – @ashbryanflores
Kristen Watkins, Dallas Independent School District – @k10watkins
Lucas Orwig, Nellie Mae Education Foundation – @blackcapped
Britt Neuhaus, Overdeck Family Foundation – @brittchy
Mike Baur, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation – @mbaur
Caroline Hill, DC Equity Lab – @CarolineIHill
Michelle Molitor, Fellowship for Race & Equity in Education – @MichelleMolitor

Picture of Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) is a non-biased organization that exists to expand Michigan’s ability to support new learning models, engage in active research to inform new policies in online and blended learning, and strengthen the state’s infrastructures for sharing best practices. MVLRI works with all online learning environments to develop the best practices for the industry as a whole.

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