Q: What is Learning Lab VT?

A: Learning Lab VT is a year-long experience that invites educators associated with the Tarrant Institute for Innovation to partner with each other to conduct action research that helps answer the questions: Why personalization? What, exactly, are teachers and students doing in settings that are becoming increasingly personalized, and to what end? How might our findings be helpful to each other, our colleagues, and the field of education in general?

Q: Who’s leading this experience?

A: The University of Vermont and the Tarrant Institute for Innovation in Education. To learn more about the instructors, Susan Hennessey and Bill Rich, check out their introductory blog.

Q: Are graduate credits awarded, and what does this cost?

A: Non-credit participation: $1500, 3 graduate credits from UVM: $1950

Q: Is there a clear list of expectations and obligations so I have a better feel for the rhythm and demands of the year?

A: This is a blended learning experience, so in addition to committing to our in-person meetings (see dates below), you’ll be working independently to make progress toward the outcomes that matter most.

  • Summer Huddle / Orientation: Choose the Date: You can opt for August 6th or August 9th for this full day (9am - 3pm) kickoff at UVM.
  • Overnight Retreats: Twice (Nov. 8/9  &  March 27/28) we have an overnight at the Eco-Lodge at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro, VT. At each of these we arrive by 5pm on Friday and depart at 3pm on Saturday).
  • Saturday Sessions: On October 26, January 4, and May 9 we meet from 9-noon, sometimes in person, sometimes digitally, depending on the needs of the group. 

Q: Getting substitutes can be a challenge, so how many of these site visits do participants have to make?

A: We only require a single site visit, knowing how tricky this can be. We also have funds available to defray if not completely cover the cost.

Q: Sounds like this is for educators ready to really dig into and get transparent about how they and their students go about the business of learning, yes?

A: Bingo! The curriculum is the network of Learning Labs, where teachers and their students identify and refine their own inquiry question, pursuing that question through experimentation and reflection, sharing their findings along the way. All with an eye to sharing our findings in ways helpful to each other and educators everywhere.

Q: If I have a conflict with one of the few in-person meetings, am I still able to apply / be part of next year’s cohort?

A: It is possible, and we’d need to learn more. Email us directly and we’d be glad to listen and then let you know.

Q: I hear that you’re encouraging teams to come from sites. Do these have to be team teams, or can it be, for example, a couple teachers from different teams, a special educator, and an administrator?

A: Either works for us. It’s a richer and more meaningful experience when shared with colleagues, be they teammates or strangers.

Q: If we do come with a teammate, can we work together on the same question with both of our classes?

A: Yes. Yes, each of you might come at the inquiry question from a unique angle in terms of sharing your learning & growth but the focus and work can be team-driven. We had three educators from Peoples Academy working on the same question:  How can we shape Opportunity Time to introduce the power of personalization to young adolescents?

Q: Can I reach out and contact previous participants to learn more?

A: Sure. Check out their profiles to learn how to make contact.

Q: Can’t think of another question now, but I bet I think of one later. Who can I contact?

A: Susan Hennessey (Susan.Hennessey@uvm.edu) or Bill Rich (redhouselearning@gmail.com).