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robertogreco : personallearning   11

Personal and Personalized Learning ~ Stephen Downes
"We hear the phrase ‘personalized learning’ a lot these days, so much so that it has begun to lose its meaning. Wikipedia tells us that it is the “tailoring of pedagogy, curriculum and learning environments by learners or for learners in order to meet their different learning needs and aspirations.” i

Even this short definition provides us with several dimensions across which personalization may be defined. Each of these has been the subject of considerable debate in the field:
• Pedagogy – do we need to differentiate instruction according to student variables or ‘learning styles’, or is this all a big myth?
• Curriculum – should students study the same subjects in the same order, beginning with ‘foundational’ subjects such as reading or mathematics, or can we vary this order for different students?
• Learning environments – should students work in groups in a collaborative classroom, or can they learn on their own at home or with a computer?

In personalized learning today, the idea is to enable technology to make many of these decisions for us. For example, adaptive learning entails the presentation of different course content based on a student’s prior experience or performance in learning tasks.

What these approaches have in common, though, is that in all cases learning is something that is provided to the learner by some educational system, whether it be a school and a teacher, or a computer and adaptive learning software. And these providers work from a standard model of what should be provided and how it should be provided, and adapt and adjust it according to a set of criteria. These criteria are determined by measuring some aspect of the student’s performance.

This is why we read a lot today about ‘learning analytics’ and ‘big data’. The intent behind such systems is to use the data collected from a large number of students working in similar learning environments toward similar learning outcomes in order to make better recommendations to future students. The ‘optimized learning path’ for any given learner is found by analyzing the most successful path followed by the most similar students.

It’s an open question whether we improve learning employing such methods. Presumably, using trial and error, and employing a wide variety of pedagogical, curricular and environmental variables, we could come upon some statistically significant results. But the question is whether we should apply these methods, for two reasons.

First, individual variability outweighs statistical significance. We see this in medicine. While, statistically, a certain treatment might make the most sense, no doctor would prescribe such a treatment without first assessing the individual and making sure that the generalization actually applies, because in many cases it doesn’t, and the doctor is sworn to ‘do no harm’.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, it shouldn’t be up to the education system to determine what a person learns, how they learn it, and where. Many factors go into such decisions: individual preferences, social and parental expectations, availability of resources, or employability and future prospects. The best educational outcome isn’t necessarily the best outcome.

For these reasons, it may be preferably to embrace an alternative to personalized learning, which might be called personal learning. In the case of personal learning, the role of the educational system is not to provide learning, it is to support learning. Meanwhile, the decisions about what to learn, how to learn, and where to learn are made outside the educational system, and principally, by the individual learners themselves.

Personal learning often begins informally, on an ad hoc basis, driven by the need to complete some task or achieve some objective. The learning is a means to an end, rather than the end in itself. Curricula and pedagogy are selected pragmatically. If the need is short term and urgent, a simple learning resource may be provided. If the person wants to understand at a deep level, then a course might be the best option.

Personalized learning is like being served at a restaurant. Someone else selects the food and prepares it. There is some customization – you can tell the waiter how you want your meat cooked – but essentially everyone at the restaurant gets the same experience.

Personal learning is like shopping at a grocery store. You need to assemble the ingredients yourself and create your own meals. It’s harder, but it’s a lot cheaper, and you can have an endless variety of meals. Sure, you might not get the best meals possible, but you control the experience, and you control the outcome.

When educators and policy-makers talk about personalized learning, they frequently focus on the quality of the result. But this is like everybody should eat at restaurants in order to be sure they always get the healthiest meal possible. It may seem like the best option, but even the best restaurant can’t cater to the wide range of different tastes and nutritional needs, and no restaurant will help the person learn to cook for themselves.

Ultimately, if people are to become effective learners, they need to be able to learn on their own. They need to be able to find the resources they need, assemble their own curriculum, and forge their own learning path. They will not be able to rely on education providers, because their needs are too many and too varied. "
2016  education  teaching  learning  differentiation  personallearning  personalization  personalizedlearning  unschooling  deschooling  independence  schools  stephendowns  lcproject  openstudioproject  pedagogy  curriculum  adhoc  informallearning  decisionmaking  self-directed  self-directedlearning  tcsnmy  howwelearn  howweteach  data  bigdata  measurement  analytics  sfsh 
february 2016 by robertogreco
What We Can Learn from Homeschooling - Hybrid Pedagogy
"I explain all of this not to suggest that homeschooling creates prodigies. It doesn’t, although some homeschoolers are advanced students. My daughter is a regular, bright kid who is flourishing because she has had the opportunity to follow a personal educational path with guidance and participation from the adults in her life. She has had the opportunity to work several grades ahead in her areas of strength and take her time with math, ultimately winding up ahead there, too. In addition, she has far more options for elective study. When I was in high school, I had to choose between orchestra and chorus. There wasn’t time for both. Using free or low-cost resources, my daughter has been able to pursue subjects that are important to her: art, music, computer programming, creating videos, writing novels, and reading — lots and lots of reading. She earns PE credit by taking karate classes, where she is always working towards the next goal of a tournament or belt test. Offering a selection of electives that aren’t necessarily offered by the school, and allowing students to choose several of them would either be impossible in or highly disruptive to the current system. Most kids in traditional school are riding atop an educational super tanker, huge, powerful, and slow to stop or change course, but because we can work outside that system, we’ve been able to speed around on a jet ski.

Let me clarify that I am not using personal learning to mean “personalized learning,” the theory advocating adaptive learning as a panacea for the efficiency problems seen in educating children. Education is a messy process. Like human history itself, it’s not linear but iterative, and we need to pay attention to where each child is on that somewhat unpredictable journey. I am an educational technology advocate who would agree that adaptive learning software is good (even fun) for learning certain things, and technology, used thoughtfully, is a tremendous tool in the hands of practiced educators. However, I would also assert that personal learning ultimately prioritizes human relationships, both faculty/student and students/peers. As in the case of my daughter’s math class, using telecommuting technologies may simply allow us to extend our network of faculty and peers beyond geographical constraints.

If we build this kind of flexibility with accountability into the curriculum, will teaching look different? Yes, and in many ways it will be more difficult. It will require working one on one with students in a very intense way. The hours may be longer, the scheduling different, and more will be expected in terms of collaboration, preparation, and continuing professional development. Finally, because such highly qualified professionals will require more compensation, they may be working with larger class sizes. That’s not ideal, just realistic. I suggest, though, that being an educator in this sort of environment will also be infinitely more rewarding. When educators become facilitators or even, as Chris Friend and Sean Michael Morris argue, “lab managers,” the student truly moves to the center of his or her own learning. If we prepare them, over time, to take control of that learning, then even when some require additional help, students are more likely to thrive."

"The University of Pennsylvania admissions page welcomes homeschooled applicants as “academically talented and often courageous pioneers who chart non-conventional academic paths.” The University of Arizona has a dedicated recruiter for homeschooled students, just as they do for each county in the state. MIT claims that they have long accepted homeschooled students, who become “successful and vibrant members of our community.” If the point of an education is to foster the kind of “intellectual vitality” noted by Reider in his search for Stanford University applicants, why wouldn’t we take what we’ve learned from homeschooling successes and apply it to the education of all our students? Forget iPads. Students need what homeschooling offers: autonomy, versatility, and freedom — in other words, jet skis."
melanieborrego  education  srg  edg  glvo  unschooling  deschooling  learning  colleges  universities  admissions  2015  chrisfriend  seanmichaelmorris  autonomy  homeschool  versitality  freedom  howwelearn  howweteach  messiness  relationships  personalization  personalizedlearning  personallearning  flexibility  johnholt  stanford  ucriverside  mit  penn  leifnelson  finland 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The Problem with “Personalization”
"What are the repercussions of radically “personalizing” education through computers? What do we gain? What do we lose?

There’s a very powerful strain of American individualism — and California exceptionalism — that permeates technology: an emphasis on personal responsibility, self-management, autonomy. All that sounds great when and if you frame new technologies in terms of self-directed learning.

But how do we reconcile that individualism with the social and political and community development that schools are also supposed to support? How do we address these strains of individualism and increasingly libertarianism as they permeate the classroom?

What do we do about the communal goals of education, for example — to produce good citizens, if nothing else — if we become maniacally focused on personal goals of education instead? What happens to meaningful moments to collaborate? What happens to discussion? What happens to debate? What happens to the idea that we must work through ideas together — not just in the classroom, but as part of our work and civic responsibilities?

And who gets the “personalized” education delivered through them via adaptive technology? And who gets the “personalization” that we hope a student-centered, progressive education would offer?

This image from a PBS documentary about Rocketship Education haunts me.

The chain of charter schools boasts personalization — “Rocketship uses the most adaptive and personalized programs available, and continues to push Silicon Valley vendors and others to create even more adaptive learning tools,” its website boasts.

So the problem with personalization via adaptive software isn’t simply that “it doesn’t work.” It’s that it might work — work to obliterate meaningful and powerful opportunities for civics, for connection, for community. Work to obliterate agency for students. And work not so much to accelerate learning, but to accelerate educational inequalities."

[Accompanies: "What Should School Leaders Know About Adaptive Learning?" ]

[See also: ]
rocketshipschools  audreywatters  education  personalization  bigdata  legibility  autonomy  personallearning  learning  schools  policy  adaptivelearningtechnology  data  datacollection  adaptivelearning  adaptivetechnology 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » The New National Ed Tech Plan…Pinch Me
"I’m trying not to get overly optimistic here, but suffice to say, if the rhetoric is any indication of the direction, we may have actually turned a corner.
schools  schooling  willrichardson  edtech  gamechanging  reform  change  optimism  tcsnmy  education  rttt  policy  technology  cloud  broadband  learning  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  networkedlearning  collaboration  personallearning 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Half an Hour: Questioning Pedagogy
"my view on centered around richness & diversity of the learning experience. I am interested in the sorts of experiences that will manifest themselves in useful dispositions (or habits of mind) across a wide spectrum of disciplines, where these dispositions are not taught as content, but rather, acquired as habits, through repeated exercise in increasingly challenging environments. Thus learning (& pedagogy) as I see it is more about the development or creations of capacities (such as the capacity to learn, capacity to reason, capacity to communicate, etc) where these capacities are (again) not 'subjects' but rather complex developments of neural structures - more like 'mental muscles' than anything can focus on a certain muscle, or you can focus on a certain sport, but only at the expense of your wider fitness - & a cross-training approach would be more appropriate.

The role of technology is to place learners into these environments."
learning  pedagogy  information  stephendownes  personallearning  unschooling  deschooling  experience  tcsnmy  technology  dispositions  habitsofmind  teaching  workshop  cognition  bootcamp 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Mozilla Jetpack for Learning Design Challenge
"Send us your ideas for Firefox add-ons, preferably ones created with Jetpack, that can turn the web-browser into a platform for rich personal learning. You are not restricted to work on any particular type of application. Here are a few examples to get you started:
design  education  learning  firefox  browser  elearning  competition  mozilla  jetpack  extensions  e-learning  addons  development  personallearning  browsers 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Bennington College: [Quantum Leap] Mentoring programs reconnect public school students to their education
"A Bennington College student's education has curiosity at its core. What are you passionate about? What do you want to know? How will you act on your ideas?
Ten years ago, two College faculty members—both professional mediators—began to think about the high school dropout rate in Vermont (at the time, twenty percent). They began to think about a different approach to truancy and dropout prevention. And they wondered what might happen if public school students were given the chance to connect with their education in the same way that Bennington College students do.

So began the experiment of Quantum Leap. ... The learning plan invites students to hone in on their interests in an academic way, making them active partners in their own education. Mentoring gives them one-on-one attention from someone who is passionate about education. Mediation bridges the gaps between students, schools, and families, while also giving them conflict resolution skills."
education  schools  interestdriven  studentdirected  projectbasedlearning  learning  change  reform  personallearning  tcsnmy  publicschools  mentoring  mentors  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  benniningtoncollege  pbl 
june 2009 by robertogreco
MOBIlearn Project - Home
"MOBIlearn is a worldwide European-led research and development project exploring context-sensitive approaches to informal, problem-based and workplace learning by using key advances in mobile technologies."
informallearning  learning  personallearning  mobile  phones  location-based  locative  location  ambient  pervasive  ubicomp  everyware  presentations  mikesharples  games  wireless 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Mike Sharples
"Professor of Learning Sciences & Director of Learning Sciences Research Institute at University of Nottingham. The focus of the LSRI is to explore theories and practices of learning and to design and evaluate novel learning technologies and environments.
informallearning  learning  personallearning  mobile  phones  location-based  locative  location  ambient  pervasive  ubicomp  everyware  presentations  mikesharples  e-learning 
april 2008 by robertogreco
SlideShare » Mike Sharple: Disruptive Mobile Learning, Evaluation Methods for Mobile Learning, Ambient Learning
"Professor of Learning Sciences & Director of Learning Sciences Research Institute at University of Nottingham. The focus of the LSRI is to explore theories and practices of learning and to design and evaluate novel learning technologies and environments.
informallearning  learning  personallearning  mobile  phones  location-based  locative  location  ambient  pervasive  ubicomp  everyware  presentations  mikesharples 
april 2008 by robertogreco
URGENT: 21st Century Skills for Educators (and Others) First ~ Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes
""how can we talk seriously about 21st Century skills for kids if we're not talking 21st CS for educators first?"...exactly why I have been much more interested in teaching people about personal learning and how to be a good learner"
stephendownes  willrichardson  technology  schools  internet  ict  learning  personallearning  online  socialnetworks  skills  leadership  change  reform  teaching 
march 2008 by robertogreco

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