The Next New Thing: Personalized Learning

High School Teacher Helping Student With Written Work

One thing about education as a profession—the grass is never allowed to grow under a teacher’s feet for very long. There’s always something new coming down the pike, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does induce a kind of professional dizziness from time to time. Adapting to the “next new thing” is always a challenge, especially if it moves from the periphery onto the center stage in classroom practices. The most recent concept in education is personalized learning, not to be confused with differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction addresses how lessons are delivered to students, based on their individual needs. Personalized learning is more complex.

enotes blog squaresIn its purest form, personalized learning allows students to choose what they will study and to proceed at their own pace in meeting individual goals. Implementing it requires four instructional strategies, which are summarized in “Personalized Learning: A Working Definition”:

  • Continual assessment as a student progresses toward “clearly-defined goals,” with the student advancing and earning credit after demonstrating mastery.
  • Learning environments designed to meet students’ needs in reaching their goals.
  • Customized “learning paths” based on each student’s progress, motivations, and goals.
  • Up-to-date “learner profiles” that chart each student’s strengths, needs, motivations, and goals.

That’s a lot to do after taking attendance! Seriously, it’s a lot to do period, and the current demands of standardized testing make personalized learning seem like a classroom fantasy. It’s a great idea, though, so what can be done to personalize learning in a system based on covering a specific curriculum in a limited amount of time? Apparently, quite a bit, starting with learner profiles. Continue Reading ›

Scholarship Spotlight – May 2015

Every month, eNotes will select some of the best scholarships around and post them on our blog. Take a look at this month’s scholarships! When you are ready to apply, check out our tips on How to Write a Scholarship Essay.


$10,000 Comeback Clothes Scholarship

Amount: $10,000

Eligibility: Must be under 26 years old. Continue Reading ›

On Being Published and Following Your Passion: Interview with Yumi Sakugawa

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Yumi Sakugawa is a writer and illustrator located in Los Angeles, CA. She works with eNotes as our primary illustrator, and has published two books, I Think I’m in Friend-Love With You and Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe. Her work is sincere and ethereal, striking a  balance between poignant and peculiar. We are obviously fans- but we think you’ll enjoy her perspective and her answers from our quick chat with her.

When did you first become interested in drawing and writing comics? Were you a student that doodled in the margins of your notebooks?

I’ve always loved drawing, writing and making up stories ever since I was maybe five or six years old. And yes, much to the constant exasperation of all my teachers, I was a student who doodled way too much in the margins of my notebooks. Continue Reading ›

20 Illustrations of Famous Shakespeare Quotes

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William Shakespeare turns 451 today (happy birthday, ol’ Willy!).

To commemorate, we’re opening up the eNotes vaults to share some original artwork that brings to life the Bard’s works. We partnered with Yumi Sakugawa, a published author and artist, to recreate some of your favorite, iconic Shakespearean scenes. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, as we pick Yumi’s brain about her work and artistic process.

If you want to learn more about a quote’s context within its scene, click on each image for an in-depth analysis. Be sure to let us know your favorite(s) in the comments! Continue Reading ›

8 Ways to Use Social Media for Homework

Blank blackboard

Students use their social media accounts all day long—likely both in and out of school. Meet them on their turf by assigning homework to be completed on various social media websites. Students will be excited to use the websites they love, and you can take lessons outside the classroom and bring them into the real world. Continue Reading ›

The Secret Literary Lives of the eNotes Staff: What We’re Reading Now

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They have dedicated their days to making Hamlet survivable. To making calculus doable and those funky little greek letter things decipherable. They maintain the complex virtual temple of learning that is the website. What is this pantheon, you ask? Who are these noble masters of learning, these repositories of wisdom and knowledge? This is the eNotes staff. And they are reading only great literature, all the time.

Okay. Some of them are reading great literature all of the time. Some of the time. A couple of us. Once in a while. Meet the eNotes staff. Continue Reading ›