Best Practices for Students To Take Ownership Of Their Learning 


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We often mistake “student ownership” for “student empowerment” and “student engagement“. Student ownership is defined as the amount of investment that the learner makes in the topics they learn, the methods they use, and the places they learn at. This does not occur automatically by any specific method. A variety of approaches make it possible to promote student ownership of learning.

In addition, students and adults acknowledge their mutual investment, dedication and benefits, visible in learning, relationships, practices, policies, school culture, and many other ways. Meaningful Student Involvement is not just about the students themselves; instead, it insists that teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, counsellors, and others see students as substantive, powerful, and significant partners from the time of their pre-service education in all the different machinations of schools. When they commit, they will look for nothing but fully integrate the students in each round.

AltSchool is one excellent educational institute that used a data-intensive approach to personalize K-12 education in the recent past.

Founded by Max Ventilla, the former Head of Personalization for Google, the AltSchool’s methodology amalgamates traditional classroom learning with technology-enabled learning methods. However, the differentiation lies in two elements:

  1. The ability to gather and interpret information about a student’s progress.
  2. It provides a flexible tool for students to develop a personalized learning plan that follows the best way to learn.

The school collects data from a tablet-based learning plan and associated data entry and cameras and microphones from those installed in classrooms to monitor each student’s progress in a more detailed way than a teacher with a class full of students ever could. Parents and teachers have access to this data to monitor students’ progress and help them progress through school. However, the depth of the data collected created severe concerns about the data security that the company has to manage.
In theory, AltSchool’s personalized learning philosophy should create tremendous value for children, parents, and society in general, ensuring that each child learns to their full potential will result in a more educated population with fewer children “falling through the cracks”.

To combat the challenges of testing out its software algorithms to understand how to use the product and optimize the learning experience to make sure students realize positive outcomes from AltSchool’s personalized learning; AltSchool has established its own “laboratory schools” that have implemented its technology as a form of beta testing.

Additionally, to capture value Alt School charges for tuition from those attending an Alt School location. Although the tuition is quite expensive, the company is hopeful that it will be able to substantially lower costs to make its schools available to the masses with scale.
It also looks forward to seeing if AltSchool’s personalized learning methodology and its ability to optimize teaching through data-based information ultimately leads to better results for students.

Another great example is Fairview Park City Schools (FPCS), which chose the Summit Learning Program to help fulfil its vision of increased student ownership of learning.

Located outside of Cleveland, Ohio, FPCS is a suburban district that serves approximately 1,850 students in grades K-12. In 2016-17, the district researched multiple options before implementing the Program with all 350 sixth and 9th-grade students. In addition, the following year, student achievement in mathematics and reading on NWEA MAP tests exceeded district projections by about 30%. Also, FPCS’s 6th-grade students outperformed their state-wide peers on NWEA MAP tests by an average of 6% in reading and 2% in math.

In addition to improving student performance, the district has seen its teachers come together to support one another and the Program, as well.

What are the best practices to encourage students to embrace their learning?

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