Education Elements May 2016 Newsletter
Not rendering correctly? View this email as a web page here.

May 2016 Newsletter

On Our Minds:


Personalized Learning Summit...Take 2

What could be better than the 2015 Inaugural Personalized Learning Summit? Well, the 2016 2nd Annual one! We are so excited to bring together 300 district leaders, thought leaders, friends and digital content partners for two days of learning from each other. Not only do we have two fantastic keynotes lined up, but we are excited to have a student joining us all the way from Indiana to share his experiences with personalized learning and hear from him how finally in his senior year it’s starting to get more interesting and more personal. We look forward to seeing everyone there for fun, games, learning and laughter (yes, laughter, especially now that the photo booth links to a big screen). Can’t make it? Follow along at #plsummit.

From Designers to Producers

Over the past few months we have noticed that many district leaders turned instructional designers are now expanding their resumes and becoming directors and producers. Check out some of the great videos from our districts like Middletown and Warren and Syracuse. And stay tuned for more to come next month. Have a video you’d like us to showcase? Email


Another District Moving To Personalized Learning

Geneva, NY
The Geneva City School District in Geneva, NY serving 2200 students and Education Elements will work together to implement personalized learning district wide starting this spring with a planned fall 2016 launch of their schools.

Client Spotlight

We Are Middletown (video)

Nampa school district to create innovation schools

Edtech Will Reach Its Full Potential in Public Schools, Not Charters

Design Spotlight

Designing Professional Development Experiences

by Ashley Paschal, Design and Implementation Consultant with Education Elements

As educators, we have been trained to always start with the end goal in mind and plan backwards, but recently I have taken a new approach to creating professional development sessions -- design thinking. Design thinking is a five-step process that aims to eliminate assumptions and elicit creative solutions. The five steps are empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. It is not a linear process and some stages may be more time-consuming or challenging than others, but each step builds upon the previous activity. IDEO, a global design company, has used design thinking to create brilliant products such as advanced medical equipment, the first computer mouse, the mechanical whale in the movie Free Willy and much more. So we know that design thinking is effective in creating physical products but can this process also be applied to human experiences? I put it to the test in a recent workshop!

Last month, our team traveled to Evanston, Wyoming to help educators at Uinta County School District #1 design their vision and school-wide support plans for personalized learning. We kicked off the session, by introducing the teachers to design thinking through a YouTube video highlighting a team designing a new shopping cart. Then I explained to them that personalized learning is the shopping cart! We’re obviously not creating shopping carts or any other physical product, but we are designing new educational experiences for students. Just like each team in the video had different features for their cart design, each school can approach personalized learning differently and that’s okay! Each school has different students with different interests and needs. School teams then jumped into the shoes of other teachers, administrators, students and parents at their site to better understand successes and needs. The trends that surfaced through this empathy activity were then used to define a problem of practice for each school team. Next, team members brainstormed both wild and realistic ways to address their problem of practice. Ideas such as a time machine, an automatic data-scroll on students’ heads, targeted observations, and student focus groups were shared. These experiences illuminated possible solutions that teams considered when creating their own professional development agendas and support plans. This was their prototype to test out at their schools. And it worked! Each school embraced the design thinking steps and left energized about their action plans. One principal commented, “Good work, good examples and great process!” While educators will always need backwards planning, sometimes the best option is to try a new approach to designing student and adult learning experiences.

Want to see how we did it? Check out the session agenda here!



Subscribe to our blog:

Keep in touch! We would love to keep sharing our thoughts with you from our blog. Don't worry about inbox clutter, it comes out just once a week and makes your Wednesdays better!

Recent Posts from our blog, BYOT (Bring Your Own Thoughts):

Ed tech blog subscribe

Education Elements is hiring! Check out our job posts and join our team of people who are passionate about personalized learning!





Places to Meet Up

Connect with us at these events: 

  • New Hampshire Department of Education, May 12: During this workshop, Anthony Kim and Kelly Freiheit will be working with district leadership in New Hampshire on best practices surrounding competency-based learning.
  • Warren, IN Blended Learning Forum, June 9: The Blended Learning Forum, sponsored by MSD Warren Township, is a Summer of eLearning event through the support of the Indiana Department of Education and Education Elements. This one-day conference will include key-note speaker Julia Freelander from the Clayton Christensen Institute, Blended Learning simulations led by the Ed Elements team, break-out presentations, and more.
  • PL Summit 2016, May 19-20: Save the date for the Personalized Learning Summit 2016, in San Francisco, CA. Join us for a two-day event focused on guiding your personalized learning journey. Registration is now closed, but If you received an invite and still need to register, contact Can’t make it? Follow us on twitter using @edelements and #plsummit and learn with us!

Personalized Learning Summit

Want to meet up at an event? Email and tell us where you will be!

Education Elements in the News

People are talking about us...and you!

What We're Reading

We've found a few articles we think you'll find valuable:

The Core Four Elements of Personalized Learning

Four elements are critical to success with personalized learning. Learn what they are:
Download our Core Four Elements of Personalized Learning Infographic