Could Use Your Help with the Draft Curriculum Grid for Customized Learning

This post will look a lot like the one we just posted about the Technology professional curriculum. But this one is about our professional learning progression for Customized Learning. We have posted a draft, partial curriculum grid for feedback and collaboration.

By partial, we mean it is incomplete, but we’re posting in hopes of finishing it collaboratively.

Please look over the grid and think about where is it on target, where is it off base, and where are things missing?  (There are – or will be – additional resources on our Customized Learning Curriculum page.)

As before, are you willing to share?  Are you willing to help? Please contact me:

  • Do you have a list of topics or things you teach when you are working with teachers around one of the Measurement Topics?
  • Do you have ideas for building out the steps (components) of one of the Measurement Topics?
  • Do you want to let us know we are on the right track or that we’ve done some piece of this well?
  • Do you have resources you’d like to share or that we could link to?
  • Would you like to take a stab at a Capacity Matrix for one of the topics (large or small)?
  • Something else?

We rely on our collaborators to help us complete this work. And, as always, we’re happy to share with everyone so that you can use it or adapt it for your own schools.

Can You Help? Partial Professional Curriculum Grid for Technology for Learning

We have posted a draft, partial curriculum grid for professional learning around technology integration. By partial, we mean it is incomplete.  But we’re posting in hopes of finishing it collaboratively.

You’ll see that it is built around our “10 Professional Curriculum Buckets for Technology Integration” (and that we’ve added a bucket or two)  and is based on that we need to focus on learning when exploring educational technology, that we need to stay focused on the pedagogy, not the tools or the stuff.

So please look over the grid and think about where is it on target, where is it off base, and where are things missing? (There are – or will be – additional resources on our Technology Integration Curriculum page.)

Are you willing to share?  Are you willing to help? Please contact me:

  • Do you have a list of topics or things you teach when you are working with teachers around one of the Measurement Topics?
  • Do you have ideas for building out the steps (components) of one of the Measurement Topics?
  • Do you want to let us know we are on the right track or that we’ve done some piece of this well?
  • Do you have resources you’d like to share or that we could link to?
  • Would you like to take a stab at a Capacity Matrix for one of the topics (large or small)?

This project has come as far as it has come because of the educators who have been willing to share, collaborate, lead, and help out!  Thanks so much!

ACTIVITY/UPDATE: Please Review These Curriculum Pieces.

Here are initial draft versions of capacity matrices for the following Tech for Learning Professional Measurement Topics:

We Could Use Your Feedback:

Would you please consider taking a few minutes, look over one or all of these, and send us some feedback (email or comments below).  Think about these feedback questions:

  • Do the Learning Targets seem to be named appropriately (or do you have a better suggestion)?
  • Does the organization of the Learning Targets within the Measurement Topic make sense?
    Does the organization of the “Knows & Dos” within each Learning Target make sense?
  • Are there any missing “Knows & Dos” that we should consider including?
  • Are there any Learning Targets for that Measurement Topic that we should consider adding (and if so, would you recommend the “Knows & Dos”)?
  • Does any phraseology need to be tweaked or revised? (Come on! Hasn’t everyone been dying to use “phraseology” in a sentence!?) 😉
  • Any other suggestions for edits or revisions?


A Little Background on the Work:

Many thanks for Kathy Martin (principal in RSU4) for coming over and helping me get started last week. She shared RSU4’s capacity matrix for Empower/Educate (so, by extension, I should thank Norma-Jean Audet and Cathy McCue, too!), which we used as a format for framing the professional learning curriculum work. It let us punch out a less RSU4-specific version of the Empower curriculum, then draft the Personal iPad Use curriculum (using some ideas and activities from the initial training Auburn does with primary grades teachers). Thanks to Shelly Mogul for helping me make the Capacity Matrix Template a little more user friendly.

Knowing that we want this to be an Auburn & Friends project (in this case, emphasis on “& Friends.”), we tried to keep the learning targets somewhat generic. If your district uses iPads, we wanted you to be able to use the Personal iPad Use Capacity Matrix and didn’t want it to be too “Auburn-specific.” Same with Educate/Empower. At the same time, we wanted you to be able to use our capacity matrix as a model if you do things differently than we do. So, for example, if you use MacBooks or Chromebooks, etc., instead of iPads (or if you use Project Foundry or Jump Rope instead of Empower, etc.) we wanted you to be able to use the capacity matrix here as a model (perhaps without making too many changes) for creating your own capacity matrix for the device (or program) that you do use.


We started realizing that the Curriculum is different from the Modules/Pathways/Badges.  There is certainly a lot of overlap and they are closely related, but they aren’t the same.  I think all my years teaching high school somehow convinced me that the curriculum and the course were the same… At first, I was expecting the curriculum to look more like a training agenda, but realized that was really the badge/module – the activities you do to learn the stuff we want folks to know and be able to do.

So, to be clear, we’re only really working right now on defining the curriculum. Building out some modules or badges will come soon. And we’re starting to gain clarity on how the two are different (the curriculum work focuses on what teachers should understand or be skilled at, and the badge work focuses more on learning tasks, learning resources, and assessment options). The curriculum just tries to define the learning targets, not how you’ll get there (they’re 2 different things).

Also, some of you who have done this kind of Customized Learning curriculum work in other contexts will know that we still need to cycle back sometime soon and connect a more descriptive rubric (scale) to each Learning Target, including assigning a taxonomy level to each 2 and 3.

Update: Selecting a Badging Platform

After attending the Open Badge Forum last spring with Erin Knight, and learning a lot about the work going on (globally) about badging, and especially about the Open Badge standard for badges, and after working with Ben Wilkoff and others on figuring out what we might want for criteria for a badging platform for this project,  I was planning on spending some time reviewing various badge platforms and choosing one for this project (hopefully with some input and collaboration from some of the Distributed PD Team).

But recently, I was talking with a colleague about this work and she kept saying, “Do it in Empower! Do it in Empower!”

Educate/Empower is the learning progress management system we are using to track and monitor student learning and to help make the curriculum and learning opportunities transparent and navigable to students (and parents).

The advantage, of course, is that we could manage our professional learning in the same platform where we manage our student learning (and, of course, do some modeling for our staff).

I wasn’t sure about this… There are aspects of the badge and scouting metaphor that I really like for our PD work and was worried that Empower wouldn’t live up to that vision.  My colleague said, “No.  It will do it.  Do it in Empower.”

So, Scott Bacon, the Empower developer, was around so I met with him.  I gave him an overview of the Distributed PD project and said I wanted to see if Empower could meet our needs.  He got excited about our PD work (he has been wanting to extend Empower’s reach to professional learning), and started showing me.

Mostly, I was impressed with how easy it would be to navigate our professional learning curriculum (as we develop it and upload it to the system). And how powerful the tools were to create various learning pathways and learning “playlists.”  And I was really impressed with how this would model (powerfully) for the adults in our schools how we envision the learning for the students in our schools (ok, I know I just mentioned this in the paragraph above, but this is too big an idea not to repeat!).

Also, I didn’t realize that Empower can now do badges (linked to Pathways).  The badges right now are simply badge images (which we can design) linked to fulfilling certain requirements (demonstrating certain proficiencies), and are not currently Open Badge compliant, but Scott is clearly committed to making them Open Badge compliant (so I made sure he had the Open Badge website and standard).

Much more importantly, it is easy to build out a new curriculum, connect people or groups to it, associate tasks/activities, resources, and assessments to targets, etc.

So, no surprise, I chose Empower as the badging platform. (Thanks, Lori!)

We will continue on our curriculum work, and set up an Auburn Professional Academy instance of Educate/Empower.

UPDATE: Criteria for a Badging Platform

Back in May, I had the chance to work with Ben Wilkoff (Denver Public Schools) to discuss criteria for selecting a badging platform for professional development.

Here’s the list that we generated (that was later ok’d by the Distributed PD Team):

  • Transferability – Ability to take a badge or series of badges from one place to another.
  • Connected Badges – Quest, collections, progressions
  • Affordable
  • Badge Sizes – One collection of badges could lead to another badge
  • “Interoperability” – multiple issuers; ours play nice with others;
  • White-Labeling – Branding of your organization within the badge ecosystem
  • Follow some standard – has the “correct fields on the back”
  • Image support for badges – standards for badge creation.
    • Name standards
    • Color Standards
    • See branding above
  • Project/Portfolio-based – supports evidence from external sources (uploading docs, links, etc.)
  • Alignment to competencies – defined within Auburn.
  • Individual teachers can manage a collection of badges from a variety of issuers

It should be noted, too, that there is a standard for badging: OpenBadges (and the standards here). As much as possible, what ever badging platform we select, we would like it to meet the OpenBadges standard.

UPDATE: Notes on Open Badge Forum

On April 30, 2014, I attended Open Badges: Re-imagining Credentials for the Digital Age at the University of Southern Maine. The session featured Erin Knight, the Executive Director of the Badge Alliance.

Below are my notes from that session (Apologies if they seem cryptic.  I just copied them here and didn’t enhance or clarify them much…).


  • It’s about recognition
  • Knowing something about someone in a verified way (evidence-based way)
  • Represents skills and achievements
  • One can unlock the way to the next one
  • Also about the information that is now available on the “back” of the badge
  • Also design (social) badges to drive the behaviors we desire


  • Are the commercial providers (Blackboald, moodel, etc.) building their badges in such a way that folks can use them in other platforms/ecosystems?
    • Some yes, others no.
  • Why badges?
    • Capture a complete learning path
    • Signal that learning to key stakeholders
    • Build and communicate reputation and identity (data about learning for the learner)
    • Build maps of learning pathways and opportunities for more learning
    • Foster an ecosystem where learning is connected across contexts, across lifetimes
  • How badges?
    • What does it mean to work at an ecosystem level (not just our org but learners can earn badges across many organizations and experiences)****
    • Software – e.g. open badges backpack
    • Open badges standard – for info, but also for structure so the info is accessible and examinable
    • Validation –
      • the badge has a lot of info;
      • next level is “Endorsements” which is outside people who review the standards and work and then endorse the badge;
      • Usage – how is it being used in the market (if 10 poeple got the badge and the employers like those employees, that says something about the badges)
  • Currency – you need both the assurance of value and the acceptance by society



  • Think of the large badges as “Paths” (code school or P2PU). Or would this be the Phases of Implementation?
  • DePaul U is accepting badges in the application process
  • This is an evidence based credentialling system
  • Can be used in a “granular” and “stackable” way
  • Works through working groups
  • Defining the skills and the outcomes of those schools
  • Levels of badges: participation, skill, achievement/certification
  • Making badges for what’s meaningful for you, not just every badge you can
  • Backpack Federation allows badges to be stored many different places but still findable
  • The learner owns the badges (eg, they can make choose which badges they would like to keep and which they would like to get rid of)


  • What does the ecosystem idea tell us about how we define our system? The ecosystem ideas means that teachers should be able to earn their badges anywhere… Does that mean that we should define our medium and large badge requirements generically and point to our own badges that might fulfil that requirement???


Reimagining credentials for a transformed culture of learning.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
215 Abromson Center, USM Portland Campus
CTEL Speaker Series

Guest Speaker: Erin Knight, Executive Director, Badge Alliance
Lives in Portland, Colby grad

Open Badges are a new way to think about recognizing and connecting learning and skill development. Digital, information-based, and stackable badges are becoming a new currency for skills, identity, and jobs. In this presentation, Erin Knight, Executive Director of Badge Alliance, will explore the state of the work so far, with examples of where badging is being successfully used across the ecosystem, as well as opportunities for higher education institutions to leverage badging within their own systems for their own benefit.

ACTIVITY: What Should Be Our Criteria For a Badging Platform?

Before we are fully ready to start issuing badges for technology integration, we will need to select a platform for creating, issuing, and managing badges (either self-created, or subscription services).

The temptation always is to simply look at one or two we know about and announce which one we want. But Pickering and Marzano remind us that doing a good job with the Complex Reasing strategy of Decision Making requires that we first establish criteria for making the decision.

Carefully establishing criteria can help us make a “best fit” system choice for us (and possibly avoid costly changes later made necessary from a speedy or haphazard choice now). What would be important to have in a badging system? What would we want to be sure to avoid? What features match and support our goals? What should we consider that perhaps we haven’t thought of before now? This activity will help us decide what criteria we should consider while selecting a badging platform.

Please read over the steps below, then return to work through the steps, recording your thoughts in the shared notetaking document.

Step One

Start by brainstorming a list of criteria that come to mind right now. (Don’t worry if not much comes to mind at first, we will be adding to this list.) Keep some notes; you’ll have a chance to share your list.

Step Two

Please review, or skim, the following documents about badging. What do they suggest we should consider as criteria?

Step Three

Please look over these badging platforms, not from the perspective of which one we want, but rather from the perspective of what might examining these platforms suggest we should consider as criteria for making that choice?

What’s Next?

Once the work group has had an opportunity to post their suggestions for criteria, we will meet to review those suggestions, and discuss which are best to use. Once we settle on our list, we will rank and weight our list.

Once our criteria list is ready, it will be time to do a thurough search of badge platform options for review (using our selection criteria).


UPDATE: 10 Professional Learning Curriculum Buckets

As we think about our teachers becoming highly skilled at teaching and learning with iPads, we could certainly generate a very long list of skills, approaches, tools, apps, strategies, and other competences we'd like them to get good at.

But if we consider how we might group that very long list into categories, I think we have 10 buckets that would make up our professional learning curriculum.

Curric Buckets

Our 10 Curric Buckets

Three of those buckets focus on teachers' being able to use the technology themselves and create the conditions in the classroom for students to use the technology for learning.

  1. Personal Use: Can teachers use the device themselves as their own productivity and learning tool?
  2. Classroom Management for Tech: How can teachers insure that students are focused and on-task when using technology in the classroom?
  3. Managing the Tech: How do teachers organize the technology (or collaborate with students to organize the technology) so it works and is available to be used for learning in the classroom?

And 7 of those buckets are the pedagogical approaches that make up the 7 Powerful Uses of Technology (notice that they focus on educational goals, not technology tools):

  1. Tech for Foundational Knowledge: How can we help students learn the basics?
  2. Tech for Using Knowledge: How can we contextualize learning and make learning engaging and meaningful? How can students use their knowledge? What is the role for creating and creativity, and for project-based learning?
  3. Tech for Learning Progress Management: How do we keep track of student learning? Promote a transparent curriculum? Make learning progressions clear? Help students navigate their learning? Maintain evidence of mastery?
  4. Tech for Personalizing Learning: How does technology help us tailor the learning to the student?
  5. Tech for Supporting Independent Learning: How can technology help the student do more on their own and need the teacher less?
  6. Tech for Assessment: How can technology help us capture what students know and can do?
  7. Tech for Home/School Connection: How can technology help us stay better connected to parents?


MEETING 4/10/14

Notes & Activities for the April 10 Distributed PD Meeting


Shared Note Taking Doc