Click here for a video explanation of the Accelerated Learning Framework:
In May 2011, I led the creation and development of Park Manor’s Accelerated Learning Framework. This framework was first released at the ECOO 2011 conference in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada on October 21st, where myself, Liz Anderson (Language Arts Teacher, Park Manor School, WRDSB), James Bond (Principal of Park Manor School, WRDSB) and Melanie Jespersen (French Immersion Teacher, Park Manor School, WRDSB), presented PlayBooks – Digitally Rich Learning Without Limits.
The Accelerated Learning Framework was also shared on my blog at http://playbookclassroom.wordpress.com/ on October 27, 2011.
Since that time the Framework has prompted educators and administrators to conceptualize the link between a digitally rich learning without limits environment and student achievement. The Framework has allowed them to make informed decisions regarding professional development, resource purchasing and learning cycle planning. Whats more, it has allowed them to focus clearly on the goal of student achievement and be able to articulate how the use of each element of the Framework meets individual student needs.
Below is an explanation of the framework.
In education we are always cognizant of the end goal. Clearly identifying a target is imperative to guide our decision making as learners, educators and system leaders.
The Ontario, Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, Reporting in Ontario Schools (2010) http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/growSuccess.pdf, has outlined that student achievement is based on establishing clear learning goals and success criteria. These goals, that are written in student friendly language, provide us with a target that is measurable and attainable.
Beginning with the end in mind allows us to set a clear goal to focus our efforts on. However, we are not in this alone. We have others that are working towards the same goal. Educators, administrators, families and other students have the greatest impact on student learning. Together they create the environment that support the goals.
In order to allow our students to meet their goals, they must be equipped to use 21st Century Skills. Students must develop skills that allow them to Create, Collaborate, Communicate and use Critical Thinking. They must also develop an awareness of their digital Citizenship role.
As teachers, we embed exemplary pedagogy (the skills of teaching), into our programs. High-yield strategies, such as using graphic organizers, anchor charts, student exemplars, ongoing assessment and feedback, differentiated instruction, learning cycles and gradual release, contribute to improved student learning.
Developing our ongoing proficiency in understanding and using these strategies is critical for student success. Technology can never replace the ‘art’ of teaching. As Michael Fullan states, “Deepen instruction and harness technology—this is the correct sequence” (http://www.lideresemgestaoescolar.org.br/ideiasemeducacao/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/OECDPISA_JapaoJUN2011_Fullan.pdf).
As a teacher I must look for rich learning tasks that provide my students opportunities to develop the 21st Century Skills that will allow them to meet their learning goals, through demonstrating the success criteria.
Within our school environment we have a variety of technological tools that we can use. At Park Manor we have: Document Cameras, SMART Boards, Tablets such as PlayBooks and IPads, NEOs, Data Projectors, Dual-Platform Computers and Wireless Internet.
At Park Manor, teachers have been selecting programs, applications and websites that provide students with learning experiences that support their current learning needs. Some of these include brainstorming using Today’s Meet, using VoiceNotes to assess their fluency and pronunciation, using a class Wiki to access resources for research and many more.
Building capacity to use these tools is ongoing and requires our staff and students to teach and learn from each other, in order to explore the possibilities of the technology.
Our students will work on many learning goals and success criteria throughout their school years at Park Manor. However, students are developing more than academic learning. They are also developing the social skills that they will need to be positive contributing members of their school, community and world.
It is therefore, our goal at Park Manor for students to be Global Critical Thinkers Collaborating to Change the World.
As a collaborative team, we believe that our goals for student success can be realized through a Digitally Rich Learning Without Limits Environment. When a community of learners is able to develop 21st Century Skills, with the support of exemplary pedagogy, and the experience of rich learning tasks, the process of learning can be accelerated through the use of technology.
I am excited to share the Accelerated Learning Framework, in the hopes that it may allow others to conceptualize how technology can be used to not only improve student learning and achievement, but reach towards goals for our students as contributing members of our schools, communities and world.