Personalized Learning and Tech Equity Under COVID-19

Personalized Learning and Tech Equity Under COVID-19

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One of the big lessons learned during COVID-19 for K-12 schools is that tailoring teaching and learning to students’ individual academic strengths and weaknesses as well as their life circumstances is very hard. That is especially the case for students who are already at a disadvantage in America's education system: kids from low-income families; students of color; English-language learners, and students with disabilities. Yet the evidence of success of personalized learning efforts is still mixed, at best. COVID-19 and the shift to remote learning, either full-time or part-time, have made such efforts even more difficult in many places. Too many students still do not have adequate access to Wi-Fi or digital learning devices to engage in meaningful remote or hybrid learning; opportunities to engage in professional development remain insufficient; and building academic rigor into personalized learning programs is a challenge. This online summit will help Education Week readers brainstorm and gather ideas, strategies, and tactics for meeting students’ individual needs, including bridging the tech equity gaps that can be barriers to meeting those needs.


November 17, 2020
1-2:30 p.m. ET

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*Agenda subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

Education Week can only provide 1 hour of professional development credit for online summits if the educator attends live. On demand viewing cannot be provided credit in your state because of the summit platform functionality. We look forward to seeing you live at the next summit.

  • 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET | Discussions Open

    Taking Stock of Personalized Learning During COVID-19
    Moderator: Alyson Klein, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    ‣ Using the results of a nationally representative survey of educators on personalized learning during the pandemic as a starting point, this discussion will examine the perspectives of teachers, principals, and district leaders on key issues such as teachers’ abilities to gauge individual students’ academic strengths and weaknesses as well as personal interests, the impact of COVID-19 on one-one-one and small group instruction, how much time teachers are using software as their primary instruction tool, and the effectiveness of professional development for personalized learning.
    Jal Mehta, Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

    Tailored Teaching and Deep Learning: What Should They Look Like?
    Moderator: Mark Lieberman, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ The current prominence of remote and hybrid education, some experts argue, should be an opportunity for more project-based learning, where curiosity drives students to make a product or explore an important question. For older students, COVID-19 opens the doors for deep learning that involves solving a complex problem that might encompass economic, health, and social justice challenges. This discussion will address the steps schools need to take to encourage and improve tailored teaching and deep learning experiences.

    Seat-Time Requirements vs. Mastery of Learning: What Have We Learned?
    Moderator: Kevin Bushweller, Assistant Managing Editor, Education Week
    ‣ During the coronavirus school closures in the spring, many states relaxed or waived seat-time requirements because everyone was learning remotely. Some did not replace those relaxed requirements with an emphasis on mastery of content—they simply made academic learning easier. This discussion will examine how the wide range of school models currently in place might shape efforts to emphasize student mastery of content over time spent in a classroom, known as competency-based learning.
    Travis Lape, Innovative Programs Director, Harrisburg School District, Harrisburg, S.D.

    Getting Technology in the Hands of All Students
    Moderator: Christina A. Samuels, Associate Editor, Education Week
    ‣ During COVID-19, the digital divide has turned into a yawning chasm for far too many students. Educators have long known that a sizable percentage of students have no way to access learning at home, either because they don’t have devices, high-speed internet, or both. But those concerns were more easily papered over while students were in school buildings full time. Now that millions of students are learning in all-remote or hybrid environments, there is a sense of urgency to ensure all students have access to Wi-Fi and digital devices. This discussion will examine key steps schools can take to bridge tech equity gaps during COVID-19 and beyond.

    From Digital Divide to Digital Connection - Data as a Tool to Support All Students
    ‣ In partnership with schools across the country, we’ve developed tools and resources for data driven instruction, helping all students reach their full potential. Visit Summit Learning’s booth to see how our schools use data to drive more equitable learning experiences.
    Whitney Metzger, Managing Director of Growth, Summit Learning
    Mary Kircher, Success Manager - Growth, Summit Learning
    Lauren Partma, Teacher, McKinley School of the Arts, Pasadena, Calif.

    Closing the Tech Equity Gap by Investing in Educators
    ‣ Bridging the tech equity gap in classrooms requires us to do more than just hand children a device. This cultural transformation begins with providing professional development that takes the guess work out of providing access to learning content, strategies for engagement, and tools that give ALL learners a voice. This session will walk you through tools to support a culture of tech equity.

Guests, Speakers, and Moderators

Kevin Bushweller
Assistant Managing Editor and Executive Editor of Ed Tech Leader, Education Week

Bushweller is an assistant managing editor for Education Week who oversees coverage of educational technology, learning environments, and the K-12 marketplace. Bushweller, the executive editor of EdWeek Tech Leader, a news service for ed-tech leaders in K-12 education, is also the executive project editor of Technology Counts, Education Week’s annual report about the state of educational technology in U.S. schools. Earlier in his career, he was a senior editor for American School Board Journal and Electronic School magazines.

Alyson Klein
Assistant Editor, Education Week

Klein is a veteran education writer who has covered K-12 schools for more than a dozen years. She covers the latest developments in educational technology, including topics such personalized learning, data privacy, digital curricula, cybersecurity, and teacher professional development. She is also the lead writer for Technology Counts, Education Week’s annual report about the state of educational technology.

Travis Lape
Innovative Programs Director, Harrisburg School District, Harrisburg, S.D.

Lape is entering his 7th year with the Harrisburg School District where he currently serves as the innovative programs director. Travis is passionate about creating learning environments that leverage the best instructional practices that we know get the largest effect on learning. In 2015, Travis was recognized for his work with integrating technology into classrooms by being named TIE Technology Leader of the Year. Travis believes that by empowering learners to drive their learning we can start to create a new system that honors all learners and their cultures.

Mark Lieberman
Staff Writer, Education Week

Lieberman is a reporter for Education Week covering technology and digital learning. He covers issues including cybersecurity, personalized learning, the future of work, e-learning, and virtual education. He previously covered digital learning and online education in the postsecondary world for the online publication Inside Higher Ed.

Jal Mehta
Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Mehta is professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A sociologist by training, his work focuses on how to remake the industrial-era school system into a modern learning organization that creates purpose and passion for both students and adults. He is an author, most recently, with Sarah Fine, of In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School. Jal is the co-director of the Deeper Learning Dozen, a community of practice of 12 districts across the United States and Canada that are seeking to remake themselves for the future. Jal works with teachers, schools, districts, and states in the United States and around the world, seeking to cull wisdom from leading practitioners and share it with the field. Jal is also the proud recipient of the Morningstar Teaching Award at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Christina A. Samuels
Associate Editor, Education Week

Samuels covers educational equity for Education Week. She explores how schools and districts meet their mandate to serve the needs of all students and establish fairness in opportunity regardless of a student’s racial or ethnic background, disability, or English learner status. She started working at Education Week in 2004, after stints at the Miami Herald and The Washington Post.

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Participation certificates are provided for summits that occur after Sept. 19, 2019, and live viewers receive a post-event confirmation email.