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Several B.C. schools will be selected to test personalized learningFebruary 11, 2015

Author: Webmaster

The concept of personalized learning will soon be tested in several schools around the province.

The schools, to be selected this spring, will each be matched with a post-secondary institution that will provide research support, chart changes and evaluate results as the schools encourage personalized learning in every classroom.

“On behalf of educators across the system, these innovation schools will help us find out what works and what doesn’t,” Education Minister Peter Fassbender told a January forum titled here.)

The schools selected to be part of what is being called the K-12 Innovation Partnership will share results with other B.C. schools so that they too may benefit from the research, the minister said.

One of the first steps will be the creation of an advisory body of superintendents, principals, vice-principals, teachers, and independent school representatives along with post-secondary, business and community leaders to identify several K-12 schools interested in taking part in the project. That advisory body will also guide the day-to-day operations.

Lessons learned will help shape the future direction of B.C. education, the government says.

BCCPAC has been assured that parents will be part of the consultation process too.

The ministry has also updated its BC Education Plan to describe the progress that’s been made toward more personalized learning since the plan was unveiled in October 2011 and what’s anticipated next. The overall goal is a more flexible and dynamic system that will better equip students for a rapidly changing world.

The reforms include a redesign of the K-12 curriculum, assessment practices and the graduation program. The plan also calls for a greater focus on skills training in schools so that more students will consider high-demand careers in the trades.

The updated BC Education Plan can be found here.

As part of the plan, the ministry is seeking public input this month about how it should improve the Grade 10-12 scholarships and awards program by 2015-16.

BCCPAC president Nicole Makohoniuk says it will be challenging to shift to a new educational paradigm given the system’s resistance to change, and vice-president John Puddifoot urged parents to get involved.

“Parents need to know that the BC Education Plan is a work in progress,” he said. “Input is still being sought and we encourage parents to comment.”

Both attended the January forum and are urging parents to watch the archived presentations. Makohoniuk said efforts are underway to showcase one of the speakers, author and scholar Yong Zhao, at a B.C. parent forum. Zhao is director of the Institute for Global and Online Education at the University of Oregon.

Here are some of comments they noted from his January presentation:

– “PISA measures mediocrity, not greatness of individuals.”

– “For individuals, it is never nature versus nurture, it is nature via nurture. No one is good at all things;  that is why education has to change.”

– “Our current education is about fixing a deficit. We don’t look at individuals, we look at what we want from those individuals.”

They also provided some notable quotes from Andreas Schleicher, coordinator of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA):

– “Do you want your child to be smarter than a smart phone?”

– “The quality of an education system can never exceed the quality of its teachers.”

– “Money explains about 20% of the (education) performance difference among countries.”

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