Without rushing to a dictionary, think for moment about the definition of “personalized”. Think about it in the context of making something “personalized” for another person. When can we know for certain that something has achieve status as being perfectly “personalized”? Is such a state even possible?
A coffee mug can be “personalized” by having it’s owner’s name, title, photo, or slogan printed on the side of it–but surely we mean something more meaningful than that when it comes to personalized/personalizing learning!? Monogramming is not personal in the deepest way. (Or am I wrong? Can we think of any culture examples of this?)
Getting a little deeper, consider: could you ever have a suit of clothes perfectly personalized? It might be made of the fabric colour, weight, and texture of your preference and the shape, style and measurements might seem perfect–but there is the chance for error. The error could come from the tailor’s misjudgment of your measurements or mistake or your own unique perceptual experience. There might be a seam that bunches, a tag that irritates you, or a shoulder pads that never sit right. It might feel like the perfect thing to wear to a business meeting, but it could be inappropriate for the basketball game in the company courtyard. It could keep your temperature feeling great one cloudy, but you might feel overheated when the sun comes out.
I was intuitively more comfortable with the notion of ”Personalizing Learning” over the more definite “Personalized Learning”. And because I feel I am in the process of learning about personalizing learning, this is what inspired the title of this blog. Dr. David Hargreaves was an contributor early in the personalized/personalizing learning movement. He chose the progressive verb form of “personalizing” to emphasize that we should aim for more of a process rather than a product.
I feel that what I work to do for students is engage in the iterative process of personalizing their learning; I don’t know that I could look back with confidence on any lesson or activity and call it %100 personalized. Can anyone?
A key focus for this blog will be to explore ways of defining “personalized” and “personalizing”.
What do you think? At what point can we be certain in saying that something has achieved a final state of being “personalized“?