Over the past several months, KPBSD has been updating its five-year strategic plan. Within this plan, the point about utilizing technology to the fullest has generated a lot of discussion. Some are even saying that having curriculum accessible to students anywhere could lead to fewer teachers and more screen time. KPBSD is not trying to replace teachers with technology or simply have students in front of a computer all-day, every day. Ultimately, we are aiming for learning anytime, anywhere, with technology as a tool to provide more rigor and relevancy in a student’s education. This is a necessary component of personalized learning.
So, what is personalized learning? It is the structuring of schools, classrooms and instruction so we can better respond to the individual needs of students, instead of expecting students to fit the current mold or adapt to structures that may not be successful for them. Many of our teachers implement elements of personalized learning in their classrooms right now. Key elements include:
- Integrated Digital Content: Digital content that allows for a differentiated path and pace
- Targeted Instruction: Instruction aligned to specific student needs and learning goals
- Data Driven Decisions: Frequent data collection that informs instructional decisions and groupings
- Student Reflection and Ownership: Ongoing student reflection that promotes ownership of learning
Unfortunately, a common misconception is that Personalized Learning efforts are simply a step toward replacing teachers with computers, which is unequivocally not true. With personalized learning, the teacher is more important than ever. The role shifts, however, from primarily delivering information to creatively facilitating and problem solving so all students can learn at high levels. Using real-time data, teachers frequently assess where each student is at, give immediate feedback, determine individual learning needs, and help them figure out the best path to success.
Personalized learning is about shifting our one-size-fits-all model of education to better prepare students for the jobs and needs of their future. We want to directly connect students to rigorous learning that is relevant and prepares them for life, college, and careers. Ultimately, we are creating a system that supports this approach.
With our primary focus on positive relationships with students in KPBSD we are poised to take the next steps for true personalized learning. We have the base in place (positive, strong relationships), now we are on to deeper rigor and relevance coupled with anytime, anywhere learning to move our students forward in preparing for life.