“When are educators going to be heard?” That question continues to be asked by teachers…by administrators…by students and their parents…and by those in the community who truly believe that educators do have answers. The belief that people linked with students only are interested in their paychecks is ludicrous. Those who are dedicated to insuring that their students are successful continue to do all that is possible and put the students first before their personal lives.
Most recently, there is a term that is re-appearing in educational articles. The term is “Personalized Learning”. The Personalized Learning Foundation, Inc. has defined this as “an approach to learning that puts the needs of students first. Personalized Learning honors each student as an individual learner, recognizes that each student has his or her own learning style, unique gifts, interests, aspirations, and challenges to learning, and supports each student to learn in his or her own unique way”.
There are those in education and our government who would choose to stray away from the concept of personalized learning. One reason…it would mean a complete overhaul of the present public school system. In November, 2010 a symposium was held in Washington, D.C. to examine the findings and recommendations of 150 visionary education leaders who had met in Boston previously in August (available at siia.net). This report provided a “roadmap to accelerate the redesign of the current, mass production education model to a student-centered, customized learning model that will better engage, motivate, and prepare our students to be career and college ready.”
The positive news is that the field experience students at Saint Vincent College are learning strategies and acquiring teaching tools that will help them present lessons that do engage and motivate the students in the classroom. Education majors are learning how to ensure that the activities and projects they present are student-centered. In other words, the Education Department at SVC is proceeding with updated courses and equipping the students who have chosen to be teachers with the skills that they will need to “personalize learning”.
Mike Albritton, the curriculum Director for the All Saints’ Episcopal School in Texas stated that online learning will also play a significant role when it comes to personalized learning. He says, “I see online learning becoming a buffet, multiple buffets from many restaurants in fact, and me the maitre’d for my students. As I look at students this year who struggled and need scaffolding, as well as those who soared and need extension, my goal is to match them up with just right learning experiences for the summer so they return next fall ready to progress. “
Just think…the classroom being envisioned as a place for an extraordinary buffet for learning! What an interesting concept!!!
For more information linked with Personalized Learning check out the following links:
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/personalized-learning (variety of discussions)
http://www.edweek.org/ew/marketplace/products/spotlight-personalized-learning.html?cmp=EB-SPT-032112 (EdWeek articles)
http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/1006_education_technology.aspx (Education Technology and Personalized Learning)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/dell/2011/09/26/personalized-learning/ (article regarding whether Personalized Learning is a fad)
Donna Hupe teaches ED 101 – Field Experience I and has been a Pre-Student Teacher/Student Teacher Supervisor at Saint Vincent College for the past five and a half years.