Saturday, March 23, 2013

Stages of Personalized Learning

This morning I listened to another webinar in the series I'm following with Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey.  This webinar looked at different places/countries and people that are trying out personalized learning and also discussed the various stages that a teacher or a school may go through when trying to personalize the learning for all students.

The last part of the webinar looked at moving from a traditional teacher-centred approach with direct instruction towards a situation where the learning is student-driven with teachers as partners in the learning.  Along this continuum are the following stages:
  1. Teacher-centred, but giving the learners voice and choice:  In this stage it is the teacher who designs the environment for groups and individuals, and the teacher who designs the learning engagements, taking account of the students' choices.  The students work with the teacher to create their own goals and help design their learning plans and how they will express their understanding.
  2. Learner-centred, with students and teachers co-designing the learning: In this stage teachers and students co-create personal learning plans, devise rubrics to measure understanding and both teachers and students keep ePortfolios of their learning.
  3. Learner-driven, with the teacher as a mentor/facilitator:  these learning environments are inquiry driven, learning is about the students' questions and much of the investigation is online, therefore teachers must ensure that students have the necessary digital literacy skills to find the information that they are seeking.  Students select the appropriate resources for their learning and are therefore more engaged and motivated.  They know their strengths and weaknesses so are able to work at their own pace and reflect on their learning.  Learning is more likely to be "anytime, anywhere" and not confined to specific locations or times.  Students design their own projects, decide how they will show their understanding and how this will be assessed.
Where are we at the moment?  Well, I think it varies.  In Independent Studies in Grades 3-5, the Curiosity Project and 20% time in Grade 2 and during the PYP Exhibition in Grade 5 I think we are very much learner-centred and at times even learner-driven.  There are also a number of units of inquiry in various grades where students have a great deal of voice and choice.  As teachers at ASB learn more about personalized learning, I can imagine quite rapid shifts through these stages.  Often it is simply a mindset change - giving up the idea that everyone should be doing the same thing at the same time, and embracing just-in-time learning that is anywhere and anytime.

Photo Credit: Cut To Pieces via Compfight cc

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