Is Personalized Learning just the next fad in education or “one more thing”?
No, we don’t believe it is. The concept of personalized learning has been around for decades, and it is rooted in the belief that great teaching understands that students have unique, individual needs, and as educators, it is incumbent upon us to help tailor our instruction to those individual needs. The challenge has always been limited time and resources. With a class of 25 students, how does a teacher find the time and resources to meaningfully meet the individual needs of students with such great diversity in every classroom? The modern concept of personalized learning leverages technology tools, classroom organization, student ownership, and redefining the terms “teaching” and “learning” to help teachers truly meet the individual needs of students in their classrooms.
Additionally, there really is nothing new in personalized learning in today’s classroom. It is simply taking all the things we are currently doing and using them a little differently, and giving a clearer focus about how the various things we do fit in with each other and support each other. For example, teachers across our district are already working with tools such as:
Blended Learning; Professional Learning Communities; Video Conferencing (Skype); Digital Content & Resources; Online programs; Targeted Instruction; Centers/Stations/Small group work; Flipped Classrooms; Student Ownership; Project Based Learning; Data Driven Decisions; Differentiated Instruction
Most teachers use most or all of these things to some degree. Personalized learning allows districts, schools, and teachers bring all of those tools together in a unified way, and helps embed them in a way that they become an integrated piece of our regular teaching.