Who or what will do the personalizing?

A key question is who or what will do the personalizing of learning?  What level of individual student involvement can and should there be in personalized learning?  What roles will the students, teachers, administrators, school boards, ministries, curriculum designers, private companies, parents, classmates, etc. play in personalizing learning?

Will personalizing learning involve forces external to a student (computers, algorithms, teachers and other people at a distance) making judgments about what constitutes a personalized experience for that student? Can this be accurate?  How will accuracy be determined?  Will this process be just?

What ethical issues do we need to consider concerning the agent(s) of personalization?

2 thoughts on “Who or what will do the personalizing?

  1. I am an elementary teacher in a Distributed Learning school. The new plan reminds me of many things I do currently. I have personalized learning paths for all my students. This means that I meet one-on-one for several hours at least 5 times a year to create, modify, assess and communicate the strategies and progress of the plan. I use the student’s learning styles, interests and assessment data to help create the year’s learning path. I use variety of resources to enable instruction, including multiple technological tools. The parent is essential and a team member. There is flexibility and choice at every turn offered. I do think these things are important and great goals for BC’s education system.

    But for the regular classroom teacher, there are huge areas of concern:

    First, time: The personalized approach would require a recognition that teachers need more prep time. At least 1 hour every day. There would need to be more time to become involved with parents, more meetings, more in person discussion (not more report cards).

    Then resources: All teachers would need access to the latest computers, scanners, etc. More money would need to be devoted to better and more resources at the school (variety of textbook programs, online course options even for elementary).
    Flexibility and choice requires more and up-to-date engaging resources.

    There should be common instructional courses provided by the government in an online format (individual teachers should not be required to create online instructional resources – which in my opinion is like asking every teacher to write their own Social Studies textbook).

    The curriculum will need to be tightened. The PLO’s feel sloppy and vague to me. A look at the intermediate PLO’s especially always makes me feel exhausted.

    There needs to be a safe and common Ministry provided online portfolio system that students can use for artifact collection. All teachers will need to be able to access these sites.

    And class sizes! No human can personalize learning in a truly meaningful way with 30 students. And I can’t get my head around what that would look like at the high school level.

    The best way for success is for the government to allow keen teachers willing to find a way for this to work at an individual school, rather than mandating from above. I think a pilot approach will work better.

    It would be good for the ministry to have a look at what works well and what doesn’t in places like DL, and various alternate programs where lots of personalizing is already occurring. And get feedback from those teachers on whether it seems likely to succeed in a bricks and mortar setting. And other countries further down this path must have ideas on what works and what doesn’to share.

  2. Thank you for this, C Sipocz. More prep-time, new and fresh resources, pro-d and online instruction and support for teachers, a tighter curriculum, a safe online portfolio, smaller class sizes, a pilot project approach and/or a grassroots level and frontline engagement –this is exactly what we need! We need to make sure the powers that be are listening to vital suggestions like these if the plan is to succeed!

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