Some FL School Superintendents Support Individualized, Blended Learning

Source: News Press, Oct 2012

One major problem traditional schools have is the need to homogenize education to a one-size-fits-all model, said Lee schools Superintendent Joseph Burke.“We have a wide delivery of learners who have a different pace and style of which they learn,” said Burke. “The ideal school system would be a system that would be able to diagnose the best learning style and the best learning environment for each student and respond to that and structure that around the needs of the student.”

Students would be clustered together based on each of their unique learning needs and teachers would have a set of skills and repertoire that would work for each specific cluster of students, he said.

Collier schools Superintendent Kamela Patton said she would also believe a more individualized learning concept would be better for students and teachers. A teacher standing in front of a classroom with 30 students is not the future, but a teacher guiding a student through a science course that is delivered online — that’s the future, Patton said.

Patton points to a blended education approach that is used in Miami-Dade County Public Schools at iPrep Academy. The magnet high school doesn’t have traditional classrooms, but open spaces that resemble the Google offices, with sofas, beanbag chairs, high-top tables and chairs and separate quiet spaces.  Each student receives a MacBook where they conduct their lessons. Some classes are in front of a teacher, but students mostly learn on their own with guidance from teachers. It’s a model that Patton would like to bring to Collier high schools. We have a version of that at Golden Gate High School, but we’re going to make more of a push for that, because it’s an environment where you’re engaging the student, she said.

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