Getting Personal: 9 Educators Tell What Personalized Learning Means to Them

Contributed By

Dylan Rodgers

Content Strategy Manager and Editor in Chief of the Schoology Exchange

Getting Personal: 9 Educators Tell What Personalized Learning Means to Them

Posted in Community | June 23, 2016

Last month, we asked what personalized learning means to you, because while it is a familiar term in education, it's practice comes in many shapes and sizes.

So when we asked you, we received some great responses. And as promised, we printed excerpts from the top responses on our booth for ISTE 2016 (drop by booth #3707 to see them in person) and wanted to share the full version here on our blog.

What Does Personalized Learning Mean to You?

Joe Young

Math and STEAM Coach

"Ownership, interests, passion, connections, targeted, specific, reflective, and thorough are the words that come to mind when I hear personalized learning. The most effective professional development is when it is personalized!"

Josh Ornelas

Director of Technology
St. Anthony High School, CA

"By providing our students the opportunity to learn in variety of different ways allow personalized learning. It is about HOW the student got to point A to point B as opposed to just going from point A to point B. Personalized learning allows for more exploration and allows more critical thinking."

Cathie Gillner

Dorseyville Middle School, PA

"Personalized Learning is the foundation to discovery. In a Personalized Environment learners are meet with challenges that will help them achieve their academic goals. Scaffolding the environment allows for learning to take place throughout and be less end result or grade driven."

Erin Mayer

Oberon Middle School, CO

"Personalized learning allows the learner to own their learning. Personalized learning acknowledges that every learner has a different set of strengths, weaknesses and interests. When learning is personalized, the learner has the opportunity to discover, identify and develop their areas of strength and weakness as they harness their interests in the quest for understanding and meaning-making."

Brian Green

Online Professional Learning Specialist
Falcon School District 49, CO

"My vision for the future of education is a framework where learning is blended, personalized, and adaptive. All learning happens best if it’s personalized to the learner and when the learner connects emotionally with the content and concepts being delivered. Today, more than ever before, innovative technologies are being created that can make learning more and more blended, personalized, and adaptive. Personalizing learning allows the learner to receive prescriptive training and material in a way that a student can understand it best and in a way that is enjoyable. So, making the learning experience FUN, targeted, and aligned with the learner is one way to look at personalized learning.

What if lessons and materials were tailored to match the learner’s ability level and their interests? Students would become more engaged in the learning process. Unfortunately, getting students engaged in learning is a big problem that exists in schools today. The level of engagement recently measured in a 2015 Gallup poll of over 900,000 public school students was only 50%. In that survey, 29% of students were considered not engaged in learning, and 21% were actively disengaged. The recorded level of student engagement in school peaks in 5th grade at 75% and steadily declines through the 11th grade at 33%. It's a shame that engagement is an issue for so many students. Personalizing learning may be a solution to increase student engagement, which in return will likely result in increased achievement."

Cristina Toflinski

English Teacher
Northwood High School, OH

"I view “personalized learning” as the ability to make learning meaningful for each specific individual. For myself, personalized learning takes place in the blogs and books I choose to read, the educators I choose to connect with on social media, and the in-depth study of topics I think will be useful to me as an English teacher. For my classroom and my students, personalized learning means studying a topic and then having the students create rubrics dependent on what they feel is important to assess.

Personalized learning in English class means allowing students to decide research topics that they choose to delve into in order to learn the in’s and out’s of research and credible sources. Personalized also means having them choose or propose projects that will be the most beneficial to them as individuals. Additionally, personalized learning is also used when creating completion goals within assignments for students, as they are given the opportunity to progress through material at their own pace."

Tom Gavin

Supervisor of Instructional Technology
Colonial School District, DE

"Personalized learning places the focus on the learner and tailors their learning based on their learning preferences and interests. Students are provided choice through multiple pathways that are customized based on their strengths, weaknesses and goals with a clear path toward success. Personalized learning provides students the ability to work at their own pace leading to ownership and responsibility in their learning."

Dustin Andrus

Professional Development Specialist
Broome Tioga BOCES, NY

"Personalized learning to me is all about customization. Its about having the flexibility and systems in place to meet students where they are in their curriculum learning and meeting teachers where they are in their professional learning. The prescribed learning is unique, purposeful, and targeted in order to fill and strengthen the learners gaps in knowledge or skill."

Hedy Lim

Springfield School, Jakarta, Indonesia

"For me, personalized learning will increase the value of my students' understanding in learning. I use it not for focusing on the students' test result, but to build up their competence and self motivation."

* * *

Come by booth #3707 at ISTE 2016 this and tell us what personalized learning means to you. Also, come see hear our top secret announcement that will change the face of personalized learning forever.

Seriously, it's big and you won't want to miss this.

Denver, here we come!

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