The why and how of personalization
An inquiry question forms the backbone of action research in the classroom. It guides the full shape of the research to come, and forms a foundation for the educator and students to build ongoing research. Learning Lab VT is a program with action research at its heart — action research being performed daily, and with the help of visiting educators and students. And field trips!
How inquiry questions work in Learning Lab VT
Learning Lab VT is a statewide learning community of educators curious about personalized learning. Participating Vermont educators and leaders open their classrooms and schools to those interested in seeing what’s working when implementing personalized learning. They spend a full year pursuing an action research project, and meeting at intervals — both online and in-person. They commit to performing their action research with an open door for visitors and with complete transparency to their students. So choosing a powerful inquiry question is key.
Driven by inquiry
When educators apply for Learning Lab VT, they identify the most pressing question on their minds about best ways to implement personalized and proficiency-based learning. The one they’d like to spend a full year answering with their students related to the Learning Lab’s program questions:
- Why personalization?
- What, exactly, are teachers and students doing in settings that are becoming increasingly personalized, and to what end?
- How might our findings be helpful to each other, our colleagues, and the field of education in general?
“How might students’ sense of personalization grow as they shift from doing projects to project-based learning?”*Charlie Herzog
“How can school in general look more like Genius Hour work?”*Tom Drake
“How does a focus on personalization and community empower students to help themselves and their peers in a sixth grade classroom?” *Curtis Taylor & Melissa Williams
“How can we increase students’ ability to reach targets through differentiation and personalization?”*Tasha Grey
“What kinds of opportunities encourage students to go beyond ‘proficient’?”*Deirdre Beaupre
“How can adding personalization to project-based learning foster strong student engagement?” *Heidi Ringer
“How might personalization through self-reflection, self-assessment, and flexible grouping and scheduling across grades 3 and 4 at Proctor Elementary School positively impact student engagement and achievement?”*Courtney Elliot & Corey Smith
“How can I personalize learning for teachers through coaching and professional development so they can personalize learning for their students?” *Melissa Rice
“How can social justice be a lens for personalized, student-designed learning?” *Sam Nelson
“How can a focus on Digital Badging for transferable skills increase student engagement and create a common language in the PLP process?”*Noah Hurlburt
“How can using math menus increase personalization in my math classroom?” *Melissa Richard
“How can a flexible schedule within a school day create opportunities for personalization and help students meet their graduation proficiencies?”*Alena Digen & Sarah Marcus
“How can we increase student voice and extend opportunities for personalization through project-based learning?”*Kyle Chadburn & Andrea Gratton
“How can I give students a completely independent learning experience through PIP’s and then have students use those same skills to give them personalized learning in the humanities classroom?” *Marley Evans
“Can project-based math yield the results we we want to see on testing? (The project is fun, but does the math get lost?)” *Jon Brown
“What systems and processes can be implemented to sustainably engage students and teachers in personalized learning that is aligned around our [district’s] core transferable skills? How can we encourage students to become more self-directed and reflective in their Personal Interest Projects (PIPs) and Genius Hour work while maintaining their seemingly high level of engagement?” *Allan Miller
“What are the systems that need to be developed to support personalization in the school day/week? How can schools (students, teachers, and administrators) collect and share the learning process and outcomes of students with families and the community to demonstrate alignment with our district mission? Who are the resources I can connect staff with, as they nurture and refine their personalization goals for students?” *Jen Roth
What’s your inquiry question? What question have you been exploring in your classroom this year?
Let us know in the comments below.