The Case Against Personalized Learning

I’m taking a page out of current political discourse in this country and naming this post the exact opposite of what it actually is.

It would be much, much more accurate to say that the “case against personalized learning” is actually “the case against algorithms making learning decisions for students” but that’s not very catchy, is it?  

Here’s the article that has me a bit riled up: The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning.

High Point #1: 

There seems to be the assumption that “personalized” must mean an adaptive software program. Along with that assumption is the idea that it is the tech industry trying to make a profit. Now, I think y’all know me well enough to know that I’m always going to “follow the money” when talking about choices schools make for curriculum. In that sense, I agree whole-heartedly with the secondary premise of tech industries trying to make a profit. However, it’s the first premise – that personalized means software – that I find so discouraging.

Continue reading “The Case Against Personalized Learning”

How do we Scaffold Self-Management Skills for Students?

As an ed tech coach, I am often asked questions about limiting internet access to students. “Can we block youtube?” “Can we block this game site?” “We need to block facebook.” My district has a progressive view on website availability: we recognize that there can be excellent academic and relationship building reasons to leave social media sites accessible by all and we also know that shutting off one game site just means another game site is discovered the next week.

BUT…I can empathize with the questions. It’s understandable that teachers and principals might want limits on availability. Students finding ways to spend their entire class time on youtube searching for music videos instead of researching the Civil War is frustrating – and the least scary thing about open access. Cyber-bullying, violent or sexually graphic images and videos, and child predators on internet sites aimed at children are infinitely more concerning.

Continue reading “How do we Scaffold Self-Management Skills for Students?”

Common Core, Cross-Curricular Learning and a really Cool Venn Diagram

Robert Kaplinsky often has interesting thoughts about education. He’s a math teacher by trade and he recently wrote a blog post titled, “How do the Common Core Math, ELA, and Next Gen Science Standards Overlap?”  I *love* the Venn Diagram he shared.

Creating a Venn Diagram for standards holds promise as a concrete way of moving away from the silos that get created when each content area plans in a vacuum. Kids often have the same silos. For instance, how often have we heard some variation of “why are we doing English in science class?” The diagram is a powerful construct for building out true, rigorous learning across curriculums. Take a look:

Continue reading “Common Core, Cross-Curricular Learning and a really Cool Venn Diagram”