Q&A with Michael Horn

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by Stephen Pham
Senior Associate, Personalized Learning

What does the future of public education look like? Few know better than Michael B. Horn. Co-founder of Clayton Christensen Institute, an innovative think-tank, and author of the award-winning book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns and the Amazon-bestseller Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, Horn is an expert on educational innovation, blended learning, competency-based learning and how to reconstruct the education system to center around students. Read on to find out Horn’s take on the evolving role of teachers, the necessary shifts in teacher preparation programs and how blended learning will transform the future of schools. Continue reading

A Look into our Personalized Learning Toolbox

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by Stephen Pham
Senior Associate, Personalized Learning

Here at Rocketship, we strive to deliver personalized instruction to our Rocketeers, giving them the right level of academic support right when they need it. By strategically leveraging teacher-led instruction, in-class activities, small-group instruction and our suite of blended learning programs, we do our best to balance the modalities of learning and give every student the academic supports they need.

Zooming into our blended learning programs, you’ll find that we don’t just depend on one online program to meet all of the needs of our students. Rather, we utilize a suite of programs – our personalized learning toolbox. After putting these programs through methodical pilots, assessing their benefits based on a disciplined rubric and ensuring each fits into our suite, we’ve put together a group of programs that support our instructional model. Below, you’ll find an infographic that compares our online learning programs side-by-side and forms our comprehensive suite.

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Rocketship’s Personalized Learning Pilots for 2015 – 16

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by Stephen Pham
Senior Associate, Personalized Learning

To eliminate the achievement gap in our lifetime, Rocketship continues to rethink what elementary schools could look and feel like. We continue to innovate and further personalize the learning experience for our Rocketeers, whether it’s whole-class instruction or individualized lessons using technology. Over the last eight years, our approach has evolved and this year is no different. Rocketship’s personalized learning team will pilot a number of programs to further refine our approach to meet the unique needs of each student. Our scientifically designed pilots will range from small ones testing specific areas to larger ones exploring large questions and critical ideas. Below, I describe a few of the primary pilots we’re planning. Though we’re still in the development stages, we’re excited to share our vision for what personalized learning can become at our schools. Continue reading

Getting Started with Blended Learning

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by Stephen Pham
Senior Associate, Personalized Learning

The beginning of the school year is always full of excitement and new things: new starts, new classes, new students and new opportunities. After a restful summer break, chances are you’re jumping into the school year ready to try some new teaching strategies. Leveraging technology may be one of those strategies to push beyond differentiation and better personalize learning for your students. But before you dive deeply into the world of edtech tools and adaptive learning programs, make sure you spend enough time setting up for a culture where students are authentically invested in their learning. Continue reading

Blended Learning Rocketship

The Student’s Perspective on EdTech

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

After a long school year of planning, teaching and more, the month of June has arrived – when we not only take time away from school to rejuvenate, but we also reflect on the past year. Though I will do a lot of reflecting myself, I decided I would get some help from those with the most important opinions of all – the students. Continue reading

What is a Teacher’s Role in a Personalized Classroom?

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

The title of teacher has never given justice to the countless roles an educator actually plays. Teachers do more than just teach. We coach. We listen. We plan. We cheer. When a student feels down or alone, we come to their side and help them overcome their struggles. When a student makes a bad choice and hurts others, we help them understand their actions and learn from their mistakes. Teachers balance many responsibilities, so it’s difficult to define the official job description. Continue reading

Rocketship Personalized Learning

How Data Drives Personalized Instruction in My Class

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

There’s no doubt that teaching is overwhelming. Educators are responsible for the academic achievement of anywhere between 15 to 150 children, all of whom start the year at different levels and learn in very different ways. Furthermore, as many education experts are saying, the tired, old school model of pushing kids through a one-sized-fits all factory-like system, moving through grade levels as if in different stages of production, is failing to meet the individual needs of our youth. Continue reading

Rocketship rotational model

Blended Strategies for your Classroom: Expectations for Rotations

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

At Rocketship, we implement many systems to ensure students receive an education personalized to their needs. Through structures like the Learning Lab and our data-driven instruction, we give our students practice with the skills they need when they need it. Through teaching and ongoing development as an educator at Rocketship, I have been able to experience how our organization continues to improve and refine our blended learning practices. Continue reading

How Technology Contributes to Student Character Development

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

As more and more computers and tablets are integrated into schools, some argue that the excessive use of technology can be harmful to students. Though there is validity to those concerns, I know from personal experience that the right balance and leveraging of technology enhances instruction. I’d go even further to argue that the use of these technological tools rather inherently teaches our students several important character traits. Continue reading

Five Tips to Integrate Tech into your Classroom

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

It’s finally December, when teachers and students alike are counting down the days until winter break. We’ve worked hard for a long five months, and we’re ready to take our well-earned break. During these two weeks off, teachers don’t completely remove their teaching hats, though. We spend time with loved ones, rest and perhaps even travel, but we also take these weeks to reflect and plan for the upcoming six months. Continue reading

My Reflections on Personalized Learning

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

Everyday, I’m reminded that each one of my students is unique and special. They all have distinct personalities that make them who they are. Along with being individuals, they each have their own needs and their different learning styles, which makes teaching especially challenging to address as an instructor. In order to make sure every student gets what they need, though, I’ve continually pushed myself to improve my blended learning practices. Continue reading

Three Ways to Leverage Tech in your Classroom

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by Stephen Pham
Teacher, Sí Se Puede Academy

When looking around, you see that nearly every part of our daily lives is becoming (or is already) digitized. The digital age has shifted how we communicate, find information and experience entertainment. But it doesn’t stop there. Education, as a field that needs to stay on its toes, is being revolutionized with the use of technology as well. A great teacher is always key to a great classroom. However, with the right tools and proper systems, the strategic use of technology in the classroom can both increase teacher effectiveness and enhance student learning and engagement.

In this periodic column, I will share some tech practices I’ve implemented in my own classroom, both related to tools for teachers as well as tools for the classroom. Today, I share three easy ways to start leveraging technology in your classroom tomorrow.  Continue reading