Reimagining the Student Experience

Students' experience in school can motivate them to learn.

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Students show up to school motivated and eager to learn when schools get the design right from the students' perspective. It is important for the students to feel that school aligns well with the things that matter to them. Therefore, if the goal is to personalize learning so that 100 percent of the students are prepared to succeed in college and life, the school must develop experiences that help students want to show up ready to learn. The key is to design with empathy keeping in mind that students want to feel successful and make progress, and to have fun with friends.

The following is a list of experiences that have emerged as critical from the students' perspective.

Rhode Island Job map
  • Student Agency
  • Individual Mastery
  • Access to Actionable Data and Rapid Feedback
  • Transparency in Learning Goals
  • Sustained Periods of Quiet, Solitary Reading Time
  • Meaningful Work Experiences
  • Mentoring Experiences
  • Positive Group Experiences

The graphic above describes the path that schools should take to provide these learning experiences to students. First, schools should ask themselves what the job is to be done. Then, ask what the experiences are that the school needs to provide to get that job done perfectly. Next, ask what the school must integrate into the design to provide these experiences for students. Finally, the school can ask how must it provide those experiences for students.

This is not a one size fits all list. Each school must ask if these are the right experiences for their students and what other experiences are critical to reach the goal of a personalized learning experience.

Rhode Island Large Scale 1:1 Implementations

Large Scale Rhode Island School map

ALL Rhode Island schools are diligently working to to personalize the student learning experience with individualized approaches to provide every student with opportunities for success. Many districts and schools are leveraging technology and blended learning strategies to achieve their personalization outcomes. The map to the right shows districts that are implementing large scale 1:1 computer initiatives as part of those efforts.

Rhode Island Blended Learning Charter Schools

Several RI charter schools have implemented blended learning models that personalize learning for the individual student.  These models allow some element of student control over time, place, path and/or pace.  Many also allow for students to demonstrate mastery of a given subject - including possession, application, or creation of knowledge, a skill or disposition - before moving on to the next one.

Blended Learning Universe

Additional information on the blended learning models is available on this website.

Pleasant View Elementary School Receives Funds to Transform Education

At a surprise news conference on May 7, 2012 at the Pleasant View Elementary School, in Providence, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist announced that the school was the recipient of the first Rhode Island Innovation Powered by Technology Model School Grant.

The $470,000 grant financed a plan that educators at the Pleasant View Elementary School developed to redesign the school and transform its instructional practices through the use of technology.

With this grant, Pleasant View Elementary School:

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  • implemented an extended daily schedule for targeted, small-group learning;
  • increased student-centered instruction and instructional time;
  • allowed students to spend at least half their school day with online learning;
  • made content come alive with integrated multimedia experiences through technology;
  • allowed students to proceed with learning at their own pace;
  • adopted flexible schedules for instructional time; and
  • redefined “classrooms” as “flexible learning environments.”

Pleasant View used these funds for extensive professional development for teachers as well as to purchase equipment – creating three computer labs and purchasing 110 laptops for student use.


Wakefield Hills Elementary School Awarded Second Rhode Island Model School Grant

As part of an on-going commitment to advancing the use of technology and digital learning in Rhode Island schools, Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist visited the Wakefield Hills Elementary School, in West Warwick, on September 4, 2013.

Wakefield Hills was the recipient of the 2nd Rhode Island Innovation Powered by Technology Model School Grant.

Wakefield Hills is using the $80,000 grant to provide Chromebooks for all students and adults in the school. In addition, the school is providing professional development for staff members and community members, including an online webinar series that will help educators integrate technology and instruction, two full days of face-to-face training to orient staff members and students to the new technology, and training for a cadre of students in grades 3 and 4 who will serve as student trainers and mentors for younger children in the school.

Students can take home the Chromebooks, and parents will have the opportunity to use the devices. In addition, the school has established partnerships that will provide parents with free access to adult computer-literacy classes.

“Use of this technology will provide another resource to help develop 21st-century skills such as creativity, collaboration, and communication,”  said Karen Tarasevich, Superintendent of Schools in West Warwick. “These steps include supports for teachers, students, and family meetings regarding the computers and our goals for the project. We are grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to the wide range of possibilities it will provide our students, staff, and families.”

Through a competitive-bid process, RIDE awarded the first grant to the Pleasant View Elementary School, in Providence. Wakefield Hills had the second-highest ranked application, and Commissioner Gist told West Warwick school officials that RIDE would seek additional funds for a grant to support the Wakefield Hills proposal. Despite losing out on the first round of funding, the team at Wakefield Hills put elements of its proposal into practice, including developing technology policies and professional development, which the school has shared with other districts across the state. 

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