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Focus Area:
Innovation and the Future of Learning

In public education, we need to challenge our assumptions and recognize that we can’t get dramatically different results by doing the same things over and over.

We need to rethink traditional models for teaching and learning. Finding ways to use the innovative technology of the 21st century can improve public education by maximizing teacher expertise, and creating new ways for parents to engage with their child’s schooling. Some technology can also create more flexible learning environments for students to receive curriculum and instruction tailored to their unique needs. Using these technologies in the classroom can greatly increase the efficiency of teaching, learning, and administration. Our work addresses policy barriers that make many of the most promising innovations impossible to implement.
Current Work: A Learning Agenda for Taking Personalized Learning to Scale
With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CRPE is conducting a multi-year, multi-method effort to learn about how school districts and regional partners can support the successful implementation, expansion, and sustainability of personalized learning (PL) in schools. CRPE researchers will use a combination of field studies, surveys, and secondary data analysis to explore how schools, districts, and partner organizations outside the school district help to seed and grow PL and with what results.

Key questions for the project include:

What do principals, teachers, and system leaders need to know and be able to do to successfully support, implement, and scale up PL?
What policies and practices, at the classroom, school, district, partnership, and state levels, offer important supports (and barriers) for successfully implementing and scaling up PL?
What are the early results for teachers and students?

The project runs through June 2018.

Statewide districts: A way to unleash creative new learning options—and study them as they grow

How can school systems possibly find the bandwidth to act on new visions for public education when their leaders are constantly trapped in crisis mode? One particular mechanism might allow them to pull this off:...

Perspectives that bind: Reshaping partnerships in education

Partnerships between schools, families, and expanded learning providers are a powerful tool that could be used for lasting change in education.

“The most professionally satisfied I’ve been.” How could the best aspects of learning pod staffing be scaled up?

Pod staffing arrangements have the potential to be replicated at a much larger scale and in a way that endures beyond the pandemic.

Use of personalized learning platforms in one pandemic-era microschool: A case study

This paper poses the question of how personalized learning platforms might affect students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes.

Voice and choice: New England students highlight which pandemic-era changes should stay—and which should go

Research on the pandemic’s negative impact on student learning, peer-to-peer relationships, and teenagers’ mental health makes it easy to assume high schoolers are eager to “return to normal.” Yet recent conversations with high school students...

Progress and potential: The innovations of pandemic learning communities led by leaders of color

What seven initiatives led by community leaders of color can teach us about advancing racial justice in K–12 educational spaces.

Pods in Action: The Central Florida Urban League

CFUL opened Whitney M. Young Academy, a microschool designed to meet the individual needs of low-income, African American students.

From a Lakota-focused microschool to service opportunities for kids with disabilities, innovations from 161 schools to aid marginalized students

This year’s Canopy data suggest schools are innovating is to design solutions to the problems most often faced by marginalized students and families.

Pods in Action: African Leadership Group

The African Leadership Group created a learning pod that in most cases not only helped students keep up but actually improved their academic performance over the 2020–21 school year.

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