Differentiating Instruction. Individualized Learning. Personalized Learning. Data-Driven Instruction. Problem-Based Learning. Customizing Instruction. Student-Centered Classrooms. 21st Century Learning. College & Career Readiness. Blended Learning. Flipped Instruction. Digital Natives & Digital Citizenship. Technology Integration. 1:1 Initiatives. BYOD & BYOT. Data Analysis. Common Assessments. Diagnostic, Formative, & Summative Assessments. Balanced Assessments. Portfolios. RTI & IEPs, SSTs & 504s, BIPs & FBAs, LRE & Inclusion.

The above mentioned words and phrases is a sampling of some of the many initiatives, acronyms, and activities that educators are managing on a daily basis. Each of these words, phrases, and acronyms all in some way support learning & teaching in our schools. Yet educators often find themselves pulling their hair out with all the noise that surrounds them. Sometimes, “less is more” and I have found instructional leaders who prioritize, simplify, and focus on doing a couple of things really well often end up elevating performance in multiple areas. Education is both a science and an art. Practitioners who are able to take data and make it actionable through creative, engaging, and relevant instruction often yield the results they are after.

In a nutshell, personalized learning is “Just Enough, Just in Time, & Just for Me”. It involves meeting students where they are academically as well as affectively. How students learn and what preferences and interests they have all work interchangeably with where they are academically. Before teachers can even begin to think about personalizing learning, they first have to know the students they teach. We live in a world that is now saturated with information. Data is everywhere, but simply having access to data is not enough. Students need to see clearly where they are, how they got there, and what they need to do in order to improve. Teachers need data that is timely, easy to understand, and corroborated. Positive, healthy teacher-student relationships where students know their teachers care and have an interest meeting them where they are is transformational. Teachers who are able to know their students both cognitively and affectively are empowered to give students the individualized instruction necessary for optimal success. The good news is that we have tools and resources that can empower educators to more efficiently personalize learning to students in relevant and engaging ways.

Equal to the “noise” educators experience in managing and delivering curriculum and instruction in schools are the endless amount of options available to educators in the education technology space. After reviewing some websites and reviewing some materials, over time, it all sounds the same. The time involved in sorting through various technology options is a daunting task. In addition, technology investments need to be carefully weighed ensuring that stakeholders have the training, readiness, and willingness to embrace and foster technology rich learning environments. Cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and confidence that the technology will help yield desired results are vital factors that education leaders look at when evaluating new software.

I have been fortunate enough to have spent time on both sides of the education technology space having spent several years in the classroom as a teacher and administrator as an “end-user” and now, in my current role with FocalPointK12, as an education consultant training school districts and working with education leaders interested in using our solutions. Below is a quick summary of FocalPointK12’s solutions that power learning and teaching in schools.

Who we are…

FocalPointK12 equips school districts with a comprehensive suite of state of the art next generation solutions that co-exist with your current technology set-up giving you the flexibility you need to meet your district goals and improve student achievement.  Data, Resources, assessments, and collaboration all embedded in a world class Personalized Learning Management System for K12 districts.

What we do…

Organize your district’s technology

  • Universal Screeners, local based assessments, & historical longitudinal data are actionable with drillable standards mastery reporting that students, teachers, principals, and central office can view.
  • Individual Student Learner Profiles provide students, educators, and parents with insights that inform where students are in the learning process.
  • Single-Sign On right out of your SIS giving you access to all of your district applications eliminating the need to log-in/log-out of multiple systems.
  • An Early Warning Indicator System giving schools real-time data on all students allowing for quick interventions and support.
  • A smart data warehousing solution designed to be a practical and applicable tool for practitioners and stakeholders.

Enable Personalized Learning & 21st Century Teaching

  • Relevancy Algorithms serve up standards-aligned resources to students and teachers meeting students where they are and what they need.
  • Advanced capability to provide resources that cater to individual student learning styles, interests, and preferences
  • A next generation online assessment system with best of class item banks, pre-built assessments, and technology enhanced items for the 21st Century Learner
  •  A Curriculum Mapping & Balanced Assessment Tool allowing districts to streamline learning targets, resources, materials, units, and assessments in role based views for students, teachers, and administrators.
  • Performance based assignments and assessments that support problem-based learning and higher order thinking to prepare students for college/career readiness
  • Ability for educators to create questions, build assessments, add their own resources, and share content while also taking advantage of pre-populated resources that empower teachers to deliver high quality instruction.

Support PLCs, Staff Development, & Blended Learning

  • Promote collaboration and save teachers time with virtual groups called Communities that allow for discussions, messaging, document sharing, data analysis, and training to occur virtually anytime and anywhere saving teachers time and increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
  • A Personalized Learning Management System with virtual classrooms. Administer assessments, post assignments, send messages to students, and enable blended learning with an intuitive user-friendly design.
  • Engage students and reinforce expectations with badging and personalized pages.

If you would like to join me on a screen share call to learn more about the FocalPointK12 software, please reach out to me at nathan.buhl@focalpointk12.com

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