My last post discussed some of the elements that I believe are important as educators move toward a more Personalized Curriculum. While I am certainly not an expert, I have been playing with Personalized Learning in my classroom and have done a lot of reading and discussing on Twitter.
There are misconceptions about Personalized Learning.
These are some of the things I believe Personalized Learning is not…
Students Meandering through Curriculum
Clear targets and Learning Goals are essential. See this post for more clarification. When students are navigating the information super-highway they can easily get lost. Moving through the curriculum at their own pace and with purpose is important.
Just integrating technology Technology is a tool, but not integral to personalizing learning. As my good tweep Tom Altepeter said “it is about being responsive to students”. Being responsive may involve the use of technology – it is a medium that most kids understand, know how to use and will likely be a part of what they choose to do. However, it is not a prerequisite. Personalized learning is not using PowerPoint to stand and deliver lesson after lesson or watching a YouTube video on the class LCD projector. Using technology to perpetuate dated pedagogy is not Personalizing education.
While Khan is interesting and definitely has benefits for some students, I don’t think it works for everyone. I can see it used to review concepts or for the odd flipped lesson, however it is not personalized. How can a mass produced video where he talks at students be personalized? Yes, you can pause and replay him, but he is essentially just lecturing on YouTube. There is no context – an essential part of the equation. Jon Bergman - the #flipclass guru makes his own videos, based on his (and his student’s) context and then follows up with his students the next day. Those that need more teaching or it taught a different way get it, those that don’t move on…that is personalized!
Everyone at the Same Place
Part of the Personalization process is the understanding that some students will arrive at understanding before others. What I have found with some of the Project Based Learning I have done with my students is that there are kids who finish quick, but they are engaged, excited and eager to extend their learning or pursue something else of interest while others get to their level of understanding.
Tests as Summative Assessments
The more I think about traditional “tests” the more I realize their inefficiency as summative measurements of learning. I think they can be very useful in checking for understanding along the way (key vocab, basic concepts etc.), but I think they fall short in giving students an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of their learning and also limit the options students have. In my experience, giving students the opportunity to show their (summative) learning in ways that they choose has generated excellent results and I get a truer sense of their learning.
This list is far from complete and my learning on this topic will only continue. I look forward to your comments or any other elements you would like to add to the list.