Reaching the Summit, Scaling the Mountain called Personalized Learning
I’ve been teaching for 14 years, most of which have been at the middle school level in an urban school district. I’m a risk taker, I enjoy trying new things in my classroom, especially when it comes to technology and how it can impact my student’s learning. This is how I discovered Summit Learning. Summit is a learning platform that has changed how I run my classroom, how I interact with students, and how I view the future of education.
As an educator, I want to empower my students through choice and agency. In the past, my students have taken part in Genius Hour, which allowed students more opportunities to drive their own learning. The struggle I encountered was identifying how to support students. Do I provide support and how much? Too little support students aren’t sure what path to take and too much it takes away student agency and choice.
This is where Summit comes into play. Through the use of this platform. I am able to mentor students one-on-one on a two-week rotation, because of this, whole group lectures decreased and student engagement increased. Students can go back and forth between content study and project-based work. I can easily see where they are at in their learning cycle and step in when it is appropriate.
My students identify what they need, whether that be independent learning time or collaboration with others. Students are taking ownership of their learning, setting goals, making plans, sharing progress and challenges. It has provided that litmus test for “how much” when it comes to student agency.
Another side effect of using Summit has been the change in relationships with my students. I am able to connect with them on a deeper level. Students who have been reluctant to speak up in class or put their head down and don’t even try, are turning in work. It has changed how I prepare for my classes and how I interact with students when they are behind.
After this experience, and seeing the growth in my students and our relationships with one another, I cannot go back to a “traditional” classroom again after witnessing first-hand the change it has made in my classroom. Not only have the students benefited from utilizing the Summit Learning Platform, but I as well have grown as an educator. Not only have my students greatly benefited from a platform that facilitates personalized learning, but I have grown in possibilities and hope for the future of education.
About the Author
Sam Sicilia has been teaching for 14 years, most of which have been at the middle school level in an urban school district. He gets excited to try new things in his classroom, especially when it comes to technology. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and spending time with his family. Go Green!