Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Key to Personalized Learning

It was nice to talk to Kathleen Manzo about student blogging and personalized learning; her piece on 'Digital Tools Expand Options for Personalized Learning' in Ed Week popped up on the Net the other day and comes out in print tomorrow.

From Manzo's article:

For educators who struggle to integrate technology into their daily routines and strategies, the notion of a kind of individualized education plan for every student is more pipe dream than prospect. Yet the most optimistic promoters of digital learning say the vision of a tech-immersed classroom for today’s students—one that offers a flexible and dynamic working environment with a range of computer-based and face-to-face learning options customized for each student—is not far off.

Reading the piece, I'm very interested in the progress of students at New York City's School of One. Especially because much of the focus there is on tech-individuated math learning.

But the success or failure of tech integration in education isn't going to be determined by the success or failure of the School of One.

And it isn't going to be determined by whether textbook publishers are going to be able to make the shift to digital.

Or by whether any particular venture capital firm supports education.

Rather, tech integration is a part of a cultural shift. It's becoming, and soon will be, something expected and necessary.

Teachers already tapping into the great free resources of the Internet and Web 2.0 already know this.

And so, I humbly submit that if we really want to bring meaningful tech integration and digital empowerment to every classroom, we can't do it by courting Big Tech and Big Textbook. We have to do it by demanding laws and statutes that ensure free universal Internet access and coverage for all.

Access as a Civil Right.

That's the key to personalized learning.


  1. I am filled with a sad laughter whenever I see stacks of fresh textbooks, subscription tech services and curriculum overhauls our districts continue to shell out for in these days when information, learning, and the personalization of each are seemingly free and ubiquitous. To be engaged daily with students and teachers the world over who are revolutionizing the way that we communicate, collaborate and create meaning, is to realize the world as it will be. Sometimes it is a little jarring to be confronted with the way it is: textbooks, tests and an outdated idea of what it means to teach.

    Thanks for another thought provoking post, and your continued leadership in creating the New School.

  2. If K-12 education is considered a right of citizens, then it follows that access to the internet is also a right. We cannot pretend that education is complete without internet access. Internet access is like postal service or a library card.

  3. School of One seems to me like some didactic bureaucracy, creating an environment of dumbed down teachers with little sense of play.

  4. I like Dan McGuire's statement that "education isn't complete without internet access". And Bryan Jackson's lamenting about textbooks. Imagine if we redirected all learning resource funds that currently go to textbooks... to master teachers who mashup content, learning activities, ideas, etc. or at least wikify it aligned to our curriculum. Clearly articulate our required learning outcomes to the pathways created. Take it a step further and engage students in creating/maintaining (under the guidance of master teachers), this online learning resource. I know, we're a few years away, but not impossible?

  5. Great post!

    I agree that we have so much out there that we can use to individualize learning and to help students learn, explore, create, and more.

    Schools waste money on new textbooks and curricular material when so much is free.

    I wrote an article on how to get started with educational technology for newbies and my blog has some other tips for people getting started:




    As always, great reading your blog!


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