Clearly what’s new and on everyone’s minds is the pandemic. So this version of “What’s New?” starts with resources and reflections on competency-based education and COVID-19. But the field continues to evolve in other areas too, as shared after the coronavirus resources.
Resources and Reflections for Distance Learning and the Pandemic
- In How to Use Online Learning to Support Competency-Based Learning, Eric Hudson of Global Online Academy explains: “Online learning and competency-based learning add up to something even stronger: a vision for learning that ensures students do cognitively complex work that matters to them, wherever and whenever that learning might happen.” He offers key principles and resources to guide learning now and beyond the current school closures.
- The Center for Collaborative Education offers Learning Refitted: A Pop-Up Guide for Schools and District Leaders for creating meaningful, manageable, and equitable learning and assessment practices during emergency distance learning. CCE is a leader in professional development for personalized, competency-based education, and this practical guide embraces the field’s core principles.
- To help ensure continuity of special education services during the pandemic, the Educating All Learners Alliance of national education organizations has come together to spotlight best practices and share a curated list of credible, actionable resources.
- Affirming the culture-design principles of competency-based education, Lindsy Ogawa of Education Reimagined writes in Learner-Centered Leaders Discuss the Power of Trusting Relationships that learner-centered transformation can’t happen without trusting relationships. She offers tips from school leaders for relationship-building with learners during a time of stay-at-home orders.
- In just two pages, reDesign’s Tip Sheet on Meaningful Learning During COVID-19 provides engaging, practical advice and resources on four topics: 1. Focus on Evidence of Learning (not evidence of working); 2. Activate Student Interest (so the learning happens); 3. Frame the Learning Experience; and 4. Think Creatively About How To Support Students (and not overwhelm yourself).
- Envision Learning Partners has developed a Virtual Portfolio Defense Kit, a guide for designing authentic culminating assessments virtually. It provides tools for educators and learners at all levels of experience with performance assessment.
Aurora Institute Events and Resources
- The Aurora Institute provides a variety of resources for COVID-19 and distance learning, including a Continuity of Learning Resources page several recent blog posts with best practices in responding to the pandemic, and the recordings and slide decks from two recent webinars on Online Learning and Serving Students with Disabilities and Getting Started in Online Teaching.
- Webinar: An Introduction to Competency-Based Education. Competency-based education transforms the culture, structure, and pedagogy of schools and districts to ensure that all students develop skills needed for success in college, career, and life. This webinar introduces participants to competency-based education, on Tuesday, May 12 at 3 p.m. ET.
- Registration is open for the Aurora Institute Symposium, October 25-28 in San Antonio, Texas. It is the field’s largest convening of professionals dedicated to student-centered learning. Innovative educators and education experts learn together, identify solutions, and share trends and innovations. Register by September 9, 2020 to receive early-bird discounts.
- The Aurora Institute announces a broad-based education policy agenda in Future-Focused State Policy Actions to Transform K-12 Education and Federal Policy Priorities to Accelerate Education Innovation. The briefs offer 15 policy actions, including a special recommendation to ensure continuity of learning, made particularly relevant by current COVID-19 school closures.
- When the new Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL) website went live in March, all CompetencyWorks blog posts and reports were migrated to the new location.
Competency-Based Education Resources
- Recognizing that implementing CBE is a developmental progression, not an overnight change, Springpoint’s A Phased Approach to the Implementation of Competency-based Education offers clear phases of implementation and a chart offering a promising pathway to rolling them out over time – all in two thoughtful pages.
- In Taking the Pulse of Proficiency: What’s the Future of This Learning Model in Vermont?, Alison Novak and Mary Ann Lickteig explore Vermont’s transformation toward “proficiency-based learning, offering important insights for other schools, districts, and states seeking to make similar reforms.
- The Bush Foundation and Social Policy Research Associated have published A Regional Scan of Individualized Learning within Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native Nations that share the same geography. The report documents current strategies along with challenges, facilitators, and recommendations to support deeper implementation.
Eliot Levine is the Aurora Institute’s Research Director and leads CompetencyWorks.