My Vision for the Future of Personalized Learning in Schools
Personalized learning consists of customized learning paths. These paths adapt to the learner as each student accesses the curriculum and moves forward. Students set the pace and take responsibility for the learning process.
Creating a bespoke learning opportunity involves more than setting up a student login and password in a digital curriculum program, but it can produce outstanding results when done well.
Digital learning strategies can fill learning gaps, provide reinforcement or allow for enrichment while the teacher works with other students, but personalized learning must provide the right strategy at the right time for pupils.
So there will be fewer teachers?
In a word, no.
Our students need exceptional educators more than ever, but the skill sets and roles of classroom teachers are evolving as we move away from a one-size-fits-all factory model of instruction.
Students with individualized learning plans, or paths, need a teacher to help them master difficult learning objectives and hold them accountable for meeting goals. Often the student has a plan but doesn’t know how to implement it. That’s where the teacher comes in.
Personalization for everyone?
Not so fast.
Letting every student take control of his/her educational destiny may be just an urban legend.
Not all students are ready to take on the responsibility of their own learning. You wouldn’t send a young child across town on public transportation unless s/he was ready for the task. Not every student is ready to travel alone or to take control of his educational destiny.
Students must be prepared for their journeys, whether they are traveling across town like the children in Tokyo or making their way through a customized digital curriculum.
Personalized learning in schools
Envision a school where the teacher is no longer the focal point. The teacher leads the orchestra, and every student plays a different instrument. Individual practice, collaboration and plenty of rehearsal as an ensemble results in musical harmony. Customized digital learning allows the teacher to provide personalized instruction and practice, in a sense, creating harmony through a blended approach.
Student-tailored learning helps teachers address the unique needs and interests of every child.
Personalized learning in schools will not replace quality instruction; it supplements it with customized tools that can reach more students, and it’s how savvy teachers are meeting students at the most recent point of success in mastering the curriculum.