I’m not exactly sure at what point I first discovered Kelly Tenkely, but I do know she was most definitely one of the first educators I followed on Twitter. She was technology teacher accomplishing amazing things with her students in Colorado, but what I most immediately recognized was her generosity for sharing what she was doing and the resources she was discovering and using so successfully with her kids. She didn’t just post links to the tools she used in class, she took the time to describe them and fully explain how they could be used in the classroom.
It was Kelly and her iLearn Technology blog that truly opened up the world of Educational Technology for me. I knew when I couldn’t wait for her next blog update to arrive in my email, that her enthusiasm was contagious and I was catching the Edtech bug. She not only shares and then describes great tools but always gives ideas for integrating them. Her posts ignited my own passion for using technology to reach students and provide them with the tools so that they could not only learn but feel excited and successful in school.
As the iLearn Technology posts continue to arrive in my inbox with the same generosity and insight, somehow, among the posts and her pioneering of educational technology, Kelly has managed to start her own school, Anastasia Academy, and, most recently, launch her own solution to the “one size fits all” curriculum: The Learning Genome.
I first heard mention of this project on the podcast, Seedlings, talking to some great educators from Maine, Bob Sprankle, Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes … about what was broken in education and the ideas Kelly had to fix it for not only her students, but for all children. She asked why curriculum couldn’t be more like Pandora Radio (http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/pandora.htm) where the learner provided information about themselves… their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, learning preferences, facts they’ve mastered, topics they are passionate about, etc. etc. and as more information came in, the more the curriculum became personalized. As a result, each student wasn’t learning from one single text, every child receives their own curriculum, tailored to what each students needs, preferences and style allowing for learning, inspiration and success for all, not just the “good” students, but every child.
This Pandora for learners is in the works now and Kelly says it best herself:
You can learn more about this project at The Learning Genome site and also read Kelly’s post about her inspiration for starting this project in her posts on her own blogs, iLearn Technology and Dreams of Education. The scope of the project is huge. It has the incredible potential to truly change school for all students. And I have no doubt Kelly will make this work because she has already changed “school” for kids far beyond her Colorado classroom. When my students come to me and ask, “how do you know about all these things on the internet?” so much of it is because of Kelly’s generosity of the years. I am so looking forward to the fruition of the Learning Genome and how it will change school for Kelly’s students, my students, and students everywhere- opening up a whole new world for all of us.