Thursday, February 19, 2015

REAL Personalized Learning for ALL, Now That is Innovation!

Ever since I started teaching (I’m in my 23rd year) I have always tried to find ways to individualize the programs in my classroom to best meet the needs of my students. In most cases that meant open-ended activities that allowed each of my students to take the challenge to their own level.  But with the introduction of technology into my classroom the reality is that as much as open-ended activities are good, utilizing technology properly allows me to provide what feels like endless opportunities for personalization and individual learning.  In the next ten years I believe REAL personalized learning for ALL students will be the most significant classroom innovation.

This might take on the form of alternative classroom design or alternative curriculum. It will mean re-looking at the role and purpose of school and tying it all back to what each individual student needs.  It will mean the elimination of grade levels and marks, and complete focus on learning and real life problem solving.  Less focus on content and more focus on core competencies such as communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.

It will mean the acceptance of various ways to create and show learning.  Student voices will show up in words, text, images, drawings, dance, etc… There will be no one right way to show learning.  Systems will be in place to enable children to learn in unique and individual ways and teachers will have strategies to assess this learning.

Technology will play a big role in personalization because it allows us to access a world full of information.  Networked learning will also play a key roll as no teacher is an expert in everything their students want to learn.  The relationship between students and teachers will become even stronger.

While I know personalization is not a new concept, there are far too many pulls from outside sources for it to really be happening properly in our schools.  I do believe REAL personalization is innovative and in ten years I hope it’s the norm and not the exception.

*This post is part of a series of monthly questions that Cathy Rubin is asking several education bloggers to respond to.  This month's question was "What will be the most significant classroom innovation in the next 10 years?"  It is an honour to be a part of this group.  Please check out the complete list of posts here. 

The Global Search for Educations: Our Top 12 Global Teacher Blogs - What will be the most significant classroom innovation in the next 10 years?


  1. Hello, my name is Stephanie. I am currently a childhood/special education major at SUNY Geneseo. In one of my curriculum classes we are learning about the benefits of incorporating iPads into the classroom setting. I believe iPads allow students to personalize their learning experience. I agree that real personalized education would be a significant educational innovation with many positive impacts. Tailoring curriculum to meet a students needs and their way of thinking allows for many 'right' answers because all students would be perceiving and approaching the problem differently. Technology allows not only benefits students, but teachers as well. By networking, we can learn learn from other teachers experiences and share our ideas with the goal of creating a better learning experience for our students. As much as personalization would be a great innovation, I also agree that outside forces are hindering us from truly achieving it. How personalized can we make the curriculum if every student needs to meet the same goal at the same time? I do, however, believe that if we as teachers incorporate technology and network with others, we can personalize the curriculum enough to see change in our students' growth.

    1. Stephanie I couldn't agree more as much of what you've said is what I have tried to express in my post. Thanks for taking the time to respond.