Conversations in the 5 W's of Personalized Learning eCourse

As part of our 5 W's of Personalized Learning eCourse, participants are sharing deep and thoughtful posts. These are just a few of the conversations...

“It is important to change teaching and learning for all learners to be inclusive of their learning preferences and "Personalised learning" allows students to make choices about how they access, learn and present their understandings because it is based on their interests, and takes in consideration their ability and background, therefore, meeting their own learning preferences.” Julie Hancock, Numeracy Coach/ Personalised Learning Leader, St. Brigids Catholic School, South Australia

"I very much like the concept of “expert learners.”  The UDL criteria for how expert learners learn, makes good sense (Resourceful, Strategic, Purposeful).  As I plan lessons, I hope I can keep these principles in mind and learn ways to provide an environment where they can develop. One thing I will try to do to foster expert learner skills and abilities is to use Vygotsky’s  ideas on the importance of social interaction. I think the challenge will be to encourage learning from each other while maintaining an environment where every learner can thrive without distractions.Daryl Hanneman, School Psychologist, Grant Wood AEA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

“We should be honoring our learners, recognizing their interests and strengths and addressing their weaknesses. We should be authenticating learning opportunities so learners can build upon and produce content related to their strengths and interests. This will provide purpose so all learners can be contributing members of a school community.” Lisette Casey, Instructional Technology, Manitou School District, Colorado

“Learner ownership, central to personalized learning, empowers learners with skills and knowledge and tools to make learning manageable, meaningful and relevant. Learners have a "VOICE" and a "CHOICE" on what they learn.” 
Shraddha Nayak, High School Math Teacher, American School of Bombay, Mumbai, India

"A shift away from competition to collaboration is huge and must take place. With personalized learning, since every learner is pursuing his or her own interests and goals, we might move away from that. Learners can't compare scores on tests or traditional assessments if they're demonstrating their knowledge in completely different ways. We should shift culturally in education from being what I call 'success-driven' to 'learning-driven.' " Trey Korte, High School Language Arts and Drama Teacher, Kettle Moraine High School, Kettle Moraine School District, Wisconsin

"Shifting the focus from the teacher to the learner will take time and training, but it will also take the willingness to ‘unlearn’ what so many have been taught about student learning and teacher control. We can admire this dilemma for as long as we want, but the truth is, ‘the train has left the station’ and the learners are on it."  Jackie Johnston, Director of Alternative and Community Education, District 112, Minnesota
"It is not the learner that has lost the love for learning, it is our system that has not kept up with our changing world. How learners access information and gain knowledge has certainly changed, but, if anything, their NEED for information has grown exponentially." 
Lisa Welch, K-2 multi-age educator, Wales Elementary, Kettle Moraine School District, Wisconsin
Moving to a design based approach is a challenge because when things become difficult human nature dictates that we retreat to previous behaviours that we find familiar. The other challenge is ensuring that the systems and resources that they utilise a usable and accessible. As Norman Coombs said "Poorly designed systems can create new barriers to participation in society, but good universal design can empower everyone to participate as equals."  
Greg Alchin, Collaborative Learning Technologies Officer, New South Wales, Australia, Department of Educations’ Rural and Distance Education Unit

"It seems to me that personalized learning will shift our focus from preparing learners for the future to allowing them to be who they are now. Why wait until they leave school to be creators of meaningful ideas? Why wait for them to be producers of ideas and inventions? Personalized learning will allow their time to be now." 
Kate O’Donnell, member of the 21st Century Innovation Team for Wallingford Public Schools, Wallingford, CT

"I have always considered myself a process-driven person, and constantly work that angle with students—“how did we arrive at this” and “why is this important” serve as cornerstones in this approach.  Personalized learning seems to be a shift of paradigms from the teacher modeling and defining the learning process, to the learner understanding the learning process in such great extent that they define their own path." 
Noah Weibel, History/Social Science Teacher, Savannah Middle School, Verona Area Schools, WI

"Learners can’t just "sit and get" in school. They are the seekers and finders. Learners are involved and active. Learners don’t want to be told what they need to do to pass, they want to have their curiosity satisfied regardless of any grade." Tricia Wersal, K-3 Teacher, Country View Elementary, Verona Area Schools, WI 

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