After a semester of researching personalized learning in k12 classrooms, I learned more than I expected. Personalized learning is such a simple, yet complex topic in classrooms, and also very powerful to each student’s learning. Below are 5 important things I learned about the purpose of this particular topic, as well as managing and conducting it effectively.
1. In the K12 Horizon Report, “the goal of personalized learning is to create possibilities for learners to determine the strategy and pace at which they learn” (1, p 26). Personalized learning in a classroom is found when the teacher is an advocate for each student’s learning level and learning pace. It is difficult in a large classroom set-up with one teacher, but there are effective ways possible to personalize. This also allows a gateway to a more student voice-based learning.
2. Technology can be used to personalize learning for students. Pre-tests and post-tests can reveal personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as what teachers should focus on through various websites. Learning videos and activities can be found through technology to find the pace and level for each student.
3. Many outside factors can affect the learning of students that teachers have no control of. That is also why personalizing and differentiating learning is powerful in a classroom, because one cannot assume that each student has same learning ability and prior experience.
4. Another effective way to personalize learning is small group set-up. Experience has shown me the effectiveness and success of this. Putting similar level students in groups is easier for the teacher to monitor students that need most guidance to least guidance. Small groups also monitor easier to a more difficult assignment.
5. Standardized testing is a large barrier for personalized learning. Though it is highly important to know and teach the pace of each learner, testing assumes that each student is at the same level of learning. I can see the frustration of teachers who see success in all students throughout the year, but might see bad testing scores.