2016-2017 is Patrick Henry’s third year participating in APS’s Personalized Device Initiative, with grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 all using 1:1 iPads. In the fall of 2015, APS released a draft handbook on personalized learning devices to address family and staff questions regarding the initiative. Feedback was collected from the community and the Digital Learning Steering Committee used that feedback to make appropriate amendments to the handbook. A final version of the handbook was released in May 2016 and can be viewed and downloaded here.
The initiative is rooted in the district’s mission: “Arlington Public Schools instills a love of learning in its students and prepares them to be responsible and productive global citizens.” To prepare students for an ever-changing world, APS recognizes the need to engage students in learning experiences that prepare them for the world in which we live. To meet that goal, which is part of our 2011-17 APS Strategic Plan, our teachers are committed to fostering a personalized learning environment where each student is challenged and engaged in relevant and meaningful learning. Technology is a tool that supports our personalized learning environments.
Benefits of Personalized Learning
While personalized learning is not new, technology is helping us to make greater strides toward this goal, and we see many wonderful benefits.
- Classrooms are student-centered and the teacher’s role is as facilitator to guide learning rather than just being gatekeeper or a single source of knowledge.
- Through personalized learning, students are challenged to think critically and use higher order level skills.
- Students are more engaged in learning when they are given more opportunities to take control of their learning.
- Teachers are able to offer immediate feedback so that students can make adjustments to their thinking and improve on their work.
- With collaboration tools, students and teachers are able to communicate easily both inside and outside of school.
- Students are exploring more creative ways to solve problems, express their ideas, generate new learning and develop skills to work as part of a team in the classroom and virtually.
These are the skills needed for success in college and careers in the 21st Century and APS is proud to offer students these high-quality learning experiences to prepare our students for their lives beyond high school.