There’s a movement in classrooms toward personalized learning throughout the county and country.
It looks different at every charter school, traditional school and private school that has adopted it.
But they all have one thing in common: They’re rejecting the long-established idea that kids should progress and hit the same standards at the same time, in the same way.
Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart, an organization that advocates for innovations in learning, said that in many ways, the movement toward personalized learning is a reaction to the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.
“The whole law was predicated on proficiency by achieving a grade-level standard,” he said. “That law really locked in the idea of grade levels and being proficient at a grade level. The testing and accountability made us understand that there are a lot of kids that are being underserved by the system, but it sort of reinforced a lot of the worst practices of the system.”
Now the push is on to customize education – and we have more tools to do it.
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Innovation!? This pretty much describes my pre-college education.
Of course that was in the 1930s.
But it was the norm into the 1950-60s.
I like the idea but wonder about how to do it. I can see students who would be doing college level work in the arts, and middle school level work in the sciences. How would we handle that? There is a certain amount of knowledge that is required to function in society. In most areas our existing school system does an OK job at that. Some areas we don't even teach, emotional intelligence is one example. In some areas we teach it but not in a way that many students can absorb. I work at a hardware store, we have rejected many applicants because they can't make change or know how to read a tape measure because it is in fractions. I also wonder how this would work in inner city schools who have limited resources.
In general, I like the idea of learning at a pace and in a manner which works for each student. As usual, the devil is in the details.