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Personalized Learning

Published on Oct 25, 2016

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Personalized Learning

Lukas Rieke, Sarah Tilman, Nancy Luna, Jaclyn Sutherland
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What We Will Cover

  • Overview
  • History
  • Differences between Instructional Methods
  • Classroom Relevance
  • Challenges to Consider
  • Personal Thoughts
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Lukas Rieke
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Definition: At its simplest, Personalized Learning is a philosophy or ideal that directs institutional or personal action in policy, curriculum, and pedagogy towards an emphasis on the individual student rather than the group or the material.

How this philosophy can be put into action:

  • Within a school district
  • Within a single school
  • Within a classroom
1. This ideal/philosophy/strategy can be lived out in a school district through policy, assessment, and spending focused on individual learning profiles, progress assessments, and personalized-learning based curriculum.

2. This ideal/philosophy/strategy can be lived out in a school through a school structure like Personalized Learning Environments. See the following PDF file for more details: (https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7049.pdf)

3. This ideal/philosophy/strategy can be lived out in the classroom by a single teacher. Personalized Learning in a classroom can look like an assessment system that tracks student progress rather than whether or not the content was learned. It can look like curriculum that has been structured, tailored, and delivered in a manner and a pace that meets each student's needs and engages each student's interests. It can look like regular conversation and formative assessment between student and teacher to constantly ensure that the student is learning and being challenged. It can look like a multifaceted team of teachers, administrators, parents, and students tackling the content together, addressing personal student needs and reaching personal student goals. See the following web-site for more details:
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Jaclyn Sutherland

Personalized learning

The term dates back to the 1960's, but the idea is older...
According to Wikipedia, the idea of Personalized Learning is much older than the term. This information was verified through several other websites which are more reputable than Wikipedia.

Preston Search - Superintendent of Schools

  • Pueblo, CO
  • Introduced plan for students to move at their own pace
  • Also attempted in Los Angeles
  • Worked when he administered; not effective overall
  • Not much information left on the program itself
This information was taken from the book "School and Society Volume VIII" ed. J. McKeen Cattell, July-December 1918 page 395.

Preston Search was the Superintendent of Schools in Pueblo, CO in 1889. From what I can find, Mr. Search was the first person to attempt to institute a district-wide curriculum which would allow students to learn at their own paces.
He attempted to implement the same program in Los Angeles when he was the superintendent there, however, the attempt failed.
The program was successful when Mr. Search was the administrator, but was not considered to be effective overall or when attempted by other people.
According to editor J. McKeen Cattell, there is not much information left on the program itself. What I was able to find was that there was an attempt, who the person attempting to implement the program was, and when and where. There was no information on how the program worked, or any sort of statistical information on outcomes.
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John Dewey

Democracy and Education (1903)


  • Democracy - "freeing intelligence for independent effectiveness" (Dewey 193)
  • Ability
  • Engagement
Since our country was founded on democratic principles, it makes sense that our school system should be run in the same manner. This seems to be the end to which Dewey wrote his article entitled "Democracy and Education."*

1. Dewey talks about the ability of the teacher to teach. He posits that many teachers, during the time in which he wrote the article, were "incompetent."

2. He also states that "The undemocratic suppression of the individuality of the teacher goes naturally with the improper restriction of the intelligence of the mind of the child" (Dewey 199). He believes that the ability of the teacher to teach and the engagement of the children in their learning go hand in hand.

*If you would like to read all of "Democracy and Education" (about 20 pages) here is a link to the Jstor database where it can be accessed: https://www.jstor.org/stable/992653?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
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So what's the difference?

Sarah Tilman
This may sound a lot like differentiation or individualization, but in fact it is different!
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Differentiation: "how"
Individualization: "when"
Personalization: "how and when"

Differentiation: This method involves having the same goals for every student, but the method of imparting the information varies student to student. Flexibility is key (in how a teacher groups students, assesses them, and instructs them).

Individualization: This method involves having the same goals for every student, but the speed through which they progress through the material differs. It allows some students to go back and review, others to continue on at normal speed, and some to move ahead.

Personalization: This method allows for differentiation and individualization in the sense that learning preferences and styles, as well as pacing, are personalized for individual student's needs. Students learn how they learn individually, and get a say in what that looks like.
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And What about assessment?

  • Differentiation: "Assessment FOR learning."
  • Individualization: "Assessment OF learning."
  • Personalization: "Assessment AS learning."
Please Note: These are not absolutes, just trends see between the 3 different methods.

Assessment FOR learning: teachers use assessment to determine where the students are in their learning, where they need to go, and how to get there. The teacher uses assessments to help design future lessons.

Assessment OF learning: teachers uses assessment to determine if students have met certain goals/determine proficiency, and based on the assessment, teachers decide where

Assessment AS learning: is the responsibility of the student, and they are able to reflect on their assessments and determine the best personal course of action to achieve better understanding of a topic.

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Classroom Relevance

Nancy Luna
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Untitled Slide

  • Personal interests and strengths
  • Assess as they go
  • Student leaders
Personalized learning is relevant to the classroom because:

1. Students are geared to finding their interests and strength in their learning process

2. Teacher’s lead students to explore and and assess themselves as they go.

3. Students are the leaders of their own learning.

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Technology in the Classroom

  • Schoology / It's Learning
  • Mobymax
  • Cool Math Games
  • Duolingo
  • Google Drive
Technology has helped students become “personalized learners” by giving them access to educational programs through different platforms/sites. According to ISTE, students are more engaged in their learning process by being able to utilize educational programs anywhere and on any device, such as:
--Schoology/It’s Learning: program designed to have access of all assignments, assessments, learning strategies all on one site.
--Mobymax: programs has all core content with assessments
--Cool Math Games: math, puzzle and strategy games
--Duolingo: Used to teach foreign languages
--Google Drive: available for collaborative and independent projects.

According to ISTE, ideas of how teachers address personalized learning through technology are:
--Discussion threads
--Online quizzes, games
--Collaborative projects that allows students to interact online, such as “Google Drive.”
--Learning Management Systems.
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Challenges to Consider

  • 1:1 ratio of computers, tablets, etc, that students need to have access to.
  • Teacher steps back from the traditional role of class leader to a supporting role.
  • Rules and expectations need to be clear and strictly enforced.
1. Not all schools have enough computes/tablets for each student to have their own. Do school districts have the money to accomplish this? If so, how quickly can it be done?

2. Teachers need to learn to let go of what they know as their traditional role and hand over the reins (or at least part of them) to the students so that they can learn how they learn best. Teachers become more like guides to instruction and help problem solve.

3. With students leading the way with their own learning and having greater independence in the classroom and with technology, rules and expectations need to be clear and strictly enforced. Ideally, students will be so engaged with this method of teaching that they won't get off task, but of course that is always a possibility.
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Personal Thoughts on Personalized Learning

  • "I think personalized learning is something we all need to strive for, but won't necessarily be able to accomplish in every single lesson.
  • "I think personalized learning is an important component in any classroom."
  • Personalized learning is a good way to allow students to explore and gain strength in their learning.
"I think personalized learning is something we all need to strive for, but won't necessarily be the entirety of a lesson. We can incorporate personalized learning into key parts of our classes where it will have the greatest benefit for all students."

I think personalized learning is an important component in any classroom. I agree with Sarah that it won't necessarily be the whole lesson, but I do think that it can be included in a large part of any lesson. The teacher simply needs to be adaptable and have the ability to see what his/her students need in order to learn effectively.

Personal thoughts on Haiku Deck

  • Haiku Deck: "Simple to use, and thus user friendly, but it is very limiting in what you can do with it." - Sarah
  • Haiku Deck: "Not a bad system, but there are other platforms which are better suited to group collaboration." - Jaclyn
1. It seems difficult to create a presentation that is truly engaging because it is simply words with background pictures. You cannot add additional images to a slide (videos are available but you must purchase the upgraded edition) or even change your font size/style for different sections of the slide. However, for online presentations where you aren't in front of a class providing detail and examples, the note section is very useful. You can add larger volume of text and can add website links to further viewers knowledge on a topic.
- Sarah

2. I do like working with Haiku Deck, particularly after I was able to sit down and play around with its settings and really get into the program a little more. Having said that, I think that for group projects it is a little unwieldy. It is a nice platform, but unless the entire group can sit down at once and knock out the entire presentation, either log-in information has to be shared with multiple people or one person has to be doing a large portion of the work in creating all of the slides. Using something like Google Slides can achieve many of the same effects, and it is better suited for groups to collaborate together. For solo presentations I do think that Haiku Deck is a good platform.
- Jaclyn
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Personal thoughts on Easel.ly

  • Easel.ly: "Creative way for parent newsletters; videos can be added. It takes time to get use to." - Nancy
  • Easel.ly: "I found Easel.ly to be clunky and difficult to operate. It does have many creative options to be utilized and can deliver information to a reader in a visually appealing format" - Lukas
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Please see notes
1. Educause (2009) 7 Things You Should Know about Personal Learning Environments. https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7049.pdf - References - Scientific Research Publish. (2009, May). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.scirp.org/reference/ReferencesPapers.aspx?ReferenceID=1707382

2. Five Key Elements of Personalized Learning. (2015, June 23). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.schoolimprovement.com/personalized-learning-blog/personalized-le...

3. Abel, N. (2016, February 17). What is Personalized Learning? Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.inacol.org/news/what-is-personalized-learning/

4. Ventura, J. (2016). The History of Personalized Learning. Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://blog.newclassrooms.org/the-history-of-personalized-learning

5. Dewey, J. (1903). Democracy in Education. The Elementary School Teacher, 4(4), 193-204. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/992653

6. Washburne, C. W. (n.d.). Adjusting the Program to the Child - ASCD. Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_195312_washburne.pdf

7. Polk v. Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit 16, 853 F. 2d 171 - Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit 1988. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://openjurist.org/853/f2d/171/polk-v-central-susquehanna-intermediate-u...

8. Personalized Learning vs. Differentiated Instruction: Understanding the Difference. (2015, June 24). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.schoolimprovement.com/personalized-learning-blog/personalized-le...

9. Personalization: Assessment AS Learning. (2012, July 31). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.personalizelearning.com/2012/07/personalization-assessment-as-le...

10. Personalized Learning - K-12 Education. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://k12education.gatesfoundation.org/student-success/personalized-learni...

11. Howton, R. (2015, May 19). Turn Your Classroom Into A Personalized Learning Environment. Retrieved October 29, 2016, from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=416
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