As I have started delving into the topic of personalized learning–I realized through my research that so often as teachers we are taught to not show our views/opinions/likes/dislikes etc–and to just teach content by the standards and move on about our day. However, as I researched personalized learning–I realized that not showing that we–as teachers–have lives is maybe truly hurting our students. If we can show them that we to have likes/dislikes/opinions and views and that is our own personal responsibility to learn about our own interests, then those students will soon realize they too can be responsible for their own learning.
Photo CC By: Chris Jobling
Hence, the meaning of personalized learning can be defined as learning that is customized to meet the specific interests and needs of students; additionally, another main aspect of personalized learning is that it is technologically formatted in order to aid students in developing individual learning experiences. I actually found a really great PowerPoint created by the Department of Education which was titled Personalized Learning. I liked this specific presentation because it gave a detailed outline of what personalized learning is and how it is utilized. A specific aspect of this outline gave an idea of who all is involved in personalized learning and how digital technology can aid in this learning environment.
So the question is… why is personalized learning so important to students today? It is quite simple–it enables students to have control over their own education and learning. As I continued my search, I found a really fantastic article that outlined the whole process for someone who doesn’t know much about personal learning. The article What Is Personalized Learning? describes the advantages to this type of learning which can include aspects such as self-pacing, advance at their own rate, skip lessons that they have already mastered, and advance graduation time. However, downfalls to this concept include focusing on competencies, missing out classroom participation, and it doesn’t always work for all students.
As my research continued, I wondered what does this type of classroom look like in an instructional setting. Again, I found a really neat website outlining how the concept/setup may take shape– Personalized Learning 101: Designing Your Classroom. As a teacher that is moving from a traditional setting to a personalized one–there are going to be many more different work areas for students that focus on different learning activities. There may be a teacher-led station, individual instruction stations, and group work stations. Students will then rotate through these stations throughout the day or class period in order to tailor to the specific needs of each individual student. Setting up this type of classroom is going to be significantly different than the traditional setting just due to the fact that there is so much more areas/stations for individualized and differentiated learning.
Finally, as I wrap up my search on personalized learning, I wanted to give my opinion of what I think of personalized learning. Through this search, I found that I was more prone to the idea than not–however, I don’t believe that it is the right choice for every single student. Not every student is able to self-motivate to track grades, stay on task, and make sure they get their work done–if so, then there would be no need for an actual teacher. I believe that this concept can be utilized efficiently in the public school settings if utilized correctly. I don’t think it is something that can be used as effectively in a younger elementary setting just due to the fact that those age levels haven’t mastered the concept of self control of emotions, motivation, behavior, etc. I think it is important that we–as teachers–consider the fact that learning can be made personal to every student, but not to an extent where we are completely excluded from the picture. The technology aspect is fantastic; however, I think that complete reliance on it for personalized learning is taking away social aspect and real live interactions–which I believe are highly important at an elementary level. I agree with personalized learning to a great extent–yet I do believe that learning cannot be fully developed when we give complete control to the student–there is still that aspect that the teacher needs to bring in to organize learning in the most effective manner.
Lastly, I am going to leave everyone with some awesome experts on the subject–I found a great blog post over personalized learning by Nigel Green named Trend: Personalized learning environments. It basically gives a great overview of the personalized learning trend and how it is used in today’s society. Additionally, some great twitter feeds that I searched and found regarding the topic were: Kathleen McClaskey, Barbara Bray, and Faith Ecker. They all have a passion to inform people about personalized learning and some great tweets that everyone can check out!
Photo CC By: Sean MacEntee