Saturday, October 17, 2015

Personalized Education

Personalized education is our system's mantra. Differentiation has been around longer than I’ve been alive, but this is so much more.

I attended schools in this system and it was just the tip of the iceberg. We had two AP classes offered twenty years ago.  I used the Internet for the first time in my high school library.

Students may still take classes through our local community college in addition to multiple AP classes offered. But now students also have opportunities to attend a magnet middle school, an early college, a virtual academy, or a traditional school. Students in middle school may earn high school credits. The most promising personalization is that they are able to earn career certificates while still in high school or follow along one of many pathways to a college degree.

Even at the elementary level you hear more about genius hour projects and project-based learning. Our fifth graders choose which club they want to join for Friday special areas time. We are starting a robotics club and student council. This will be offered in addition to our Battle of the Books program.

With all this talk of being global and having a personalized education, this 2012 infographic really seemed to pull everything together for me. Click the image to see the full-sized version.

The Imagination Chapter activities fit into this future of learning. I love that students are making individual choices, coding with robotics, connecting with others from around the globe, thinking critically, and being creative.

I recently told some visitors that the Imagination Chapter program ties everything together for me: STEM, makerspaces, open-ended projects, etc.

It is sometimes hard to justify what looks like play when students must pass standardized tests.  I understand the importance of learning the basics. I just hope there becomes more and more room for these creative, open-ended projects in our classrooms and schools.

An instructor at a spring LEGO Symposium said that when her students use the LEGO Story Starter sets that they WANT to write their stories. Dave Hartzell spoke to me about how excited kids are to write in their journals. A chapter leader wrote that her student made the connection from a math lesson to a maker project. I see this in our open-ended projects. Most importantly, students are engaged and excited about learning.

I am ready to explore this movement. It is for our Generation Imagination. It is for all of our futures.

More Reading
2020 Forecast Update (mentions the Maker Economy as one of several trends)

Creating a New World of Learning: A Toolkit for Change Makers

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