Personalizing Learning – The Important Role of Technology

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From ‘Open Education’ blog

It wasn’t that long ago I began my high school teaching career. Fairly early on, I worked with one teacher who epitomized the mindset of many secondary school colleagues.

iStock_000009648196XSmall-300x199“My job is to present the material in an interesting and meaningful way,” he would say. “It is the student’s job to learn that material.”

Implicit in his statement was the idea that it was the student’s role to adjust to the various styles employed by different teachers. Whether the teacher featured a lecture format or a hands-on approach was immaterial – the assumption was that students were the ones who needed to be flexible, especially if they were thinking that college was to be part of their future.

In addition, any failure on the student’s part to master the material was not the responsibility of the teacher. If students were unable to learn the required subject matter, the consensus would be that the student simply had not worked hard enough.

At that time (and still the dominant theme in many classrooms today), students moved along as a group, each doing the same set of assignments, each expected to master the exact same set of learning objectives by a date set forth in the syllabus. Adjusting any parameter for the group was deemed as watering down expectations while differentiating for a specific learner was perceived as showing favoritism.

New Viewpoint – Personalizing Learning

Clearly, that mindset has changed. With learning styles now a part of the educational landscape today’s teacher is expected to adjust to the varied preferences of students so as to maximize the learning potential of each individual in the classroom.

Such an approach has been characterized by the global term: personalizing the learning experience. The concept is considered as critical to the next generation of teachers as it is for the next generation of students.

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