Penny Pinching Personalized Learning

Ok guys, I get it…you’re all broke!

If I had a nickel for every time a district or school leader said something like: ‘We don’t have the money for devices, so we’re not looking for personalized learning support’ I would be at LEAST two dollars richer. Seriously though, you don’t need to pass go and collect $200 to make #PLearning a reality in your school or district. Here are my thoughts on how to penny-pinch your way to personalized learning.

Tear down to build up.

We can’t create something from nothing…at least I don’t think so…but I am relying on an eleventh-grade Physics class understanding of the laws of nature, so don’t quote me on that. We can, however, think about educational systems as a great opportunity to up-cycle! The pieces are all there, but if you want to impact learning in a way that every student’s knowledge, needs, skills, and interests are addressed and honored, then you have to rethink space and structures that allow for those environments to occur. If you aren’t ready to shift things like school calendars, bell schedules, teacher specialization, class size and seat time, then just STOP HERE. Often reorganizing these pieces will free up time, talents, and treasures that enable real change and innovation.

Mine your own gems.

There is no doubt in my mind that EVERY school has at least one educator ready and willing to do ‘this work’. Instead of looking outside of your organization for consultants, (who are often unable to customize their offerings to meet your needs) dig into your own mine and honor the excellence that exists in-house. Not only is this a CHEAP solution (you already pay them) there is an immediate buy-in from staff when one of their own is modeling for them. If you are someone who has dollars to spend then be VERY intentional on pulling in a consultant that understands this, and is prepared to assimilate to your school’s culture and needs.

Beg, Borrow, and STEAL

So many amazing and free resources now exist to aid in the design and implementation of personalized learning. is leading the way with their amazing Dashboard of tools, including a district gap analysis to help you assess needs and ‘stack the debt’ of professional development efforts. Summit Basecamp is another great resource for those looking for a way to create student pathways. Read my post HERE about Summit. Remember that not all FREE is FREE…so be mindful of those who would lure you into the ‘freemium’ trap.

Stephanee Stephens is Director of iTeach at Kennesaw State University. All opinions are her own.

Disclaimer: If you happen to have actual dollars to spend, the iTeach crew would love to talk to you about how we can assist you. We are now a regional Future Ready partner, and offer embedded coaching, strategic planning assistance, and while not free, we cost a lot less than some other folks…just saying! Check us out: