Personalizing Education

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, Dec 2012

The experts concurred that personalized learning is vital to keeping students engaged and in school. They also urged opportunities for learning outside school, such as practicums, internships and apprenticeships.

“Right now, most learning is following directions,” said Conley, calling for a move away from compliance-based learning to an emphasis on teaching children to manage their time, to persist and not give up and to take control of their own learning.

 The goal is to go beyond that and make them understand that they have to own their own learning.”

As a student in India, Agarwal said he spent all his time wishing he could fast-forward his teachers. Once he was a student at Stanford, he wished he could pause them.

In online courses, students control when they learn and the rate at which they learn, he said. They can watch lectures and complete their interactive exercises at 2 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon. They can pose questions through online forums and get instant feedback from their peers.

“Now, it is one-size-fits-all,” said Agarwal. In his MOOC, he found that most students downloaded lessons between midnight and 2 a.m.

Heather Harding, Senior Vice President, Community Partnerships, Teach for America: Push professional development to the classroom It ought to be coaching in the classroom as opposed to pulling teachers out of their classrooms to undergo training.

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