A recent study on personalized learning carried out by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation identified 4 key elements that formed the most effective personalized learning practices. The study which involved 23 public charter schools, 5,000 students, and 2 years of implementation discovered extensive benefits … Continue reading The 4 Biggest Features of Personalized Learning Environments
#1. Do Get to Know your Students First Knowing your students is the first step to differentiating your teaching. With a better understanding of your students’ strengths and weaknesses, you can ask the following questions: What do they need? How do they learn best? How … Continue reading The Do’s and Don’ts of Differentiating Instruction
Among the excitement of summer’s long awaited arrival, parents and educators are bracing themselves to face a familiar challenge. According to the National Summer Learning Association, “parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do.” … Continue reading 4 SIMPLE STRATEGIES TO AVOID THE SUMMER LEARNING LOSS
Just as 21st century education is facing a complete reformation in the face of continuing technological advancements, higher education is undergoing its own transformation. With adaptive learning platforms moving with increasing speed into the instructional field, personalization is beginning to reveal its innovative abilities to … Continue reading HOW IS PERSONALIZATION TRANSFORMING THE HIGHER EDUCATION LANDSCAPE?
It’s no big revelation that classrooms are evolving. They’ve been changing for a long time, with some faster than others to embrace reform. Much of this change is edging us ever closer to what many consider the ideal: Student-centered education. Student-centered learning essentially means challenging … Continue reading 5 Things You See in a Student-Centered Classroom
In a recent TED Talk entitled “I’m Seventeen”, Kate Simonds challenges adults to try something new: To listen to teens. Instantly quashing our assumptions that she has achieved something incredible, done something “worthy of our attention”, to claim the stage at the tender age of seventeen, Kate goes on to question, “What makes me worth listening to?” Describing her efforts to ‘gain’ the respect of her audience, she explains how, unlike the other speakers on that stage, their respect was not something she initially had. Why?
Why is Student Voice Ignored?
Student voice has long been ignored and belittled by adults who claim to know better. Listening only to those few who manage to loosen our grip and believe in their own ideas enough to strive for success, we have made a grave mistake. Referencing our education system, Kate aptly portrays our illogical means of preparing students for college and careers within an oppressive structure that affords them little or no control over their own learning: “We have no say over what we learn or how we learn it, yet we’re expected to absorb it all, take it all in, and be able to run the world some day. We’re expected to raise our hands to use the restroom, then three months later be ready to go to college or have a full-time job, support ourselves, and live on our own. It’s illogical.” Highlighting a poignant reality, Kate explains, “students have lost sight of their education’s value and have therefore stopped learning” because they’re told: “You don’t deserve to have the control over what you learn.”
An Idea Worth Spreading
Kate’s eye-opening speech points out the shameful error of our ways that has led to students questioning “the validity of their own thoughts because they don’t come from adult minds”, encouraging them to “conform to standards and lose their creativity.” But this courageous attempt to speak out was not made simply in an effort to point the finger and lay blame. Rather, Kate lucidly puts forward her idea worth spreading: “A world of creative collaboration between adults and students.” A simple idea at first glance, the notion unfurls its complex nature at the prospect of a world where “adults listen and respect student ideas, and a world where students respect and listen to their own ideas.” Is it possible to imagine such a reality within an education system rooted in outdated ideals of conformity and discipline?
The answer to this question is yes. In fact, despite the doubts of many, our education system is undergoing revolutionary changes, embracing transformative technology focused on elevating student voice, choice and control. As movements that focus on passion projects like genius hour take flight, and trends like flipped, blended and mobile learning continue to spread, student voice, choice and control is more visible and widespread than ever before. Next generation learning platform, Fishtree, is taking what is already being done to incredible new heights by creating a learning environment that’s tailored to every student, personalizing the learning experience to allow self-paced, self-directed learning to become commonplace. Promoting a more student-centered education in which students are encouraged to think for themselves and believe in their own ideas, could Kate’s idea already be taking shape? I certainly hope so.
Image credits: skeeze / CC BY 2.0
1. BYOD Emphasizing its effectiveness in facilitating personalized learning, the 2015 NMC Horizon Report names BYOD a key trend making a significant impact on higher education. The report outlines a Bradford Network Study that revealed 85% of the responding educational institutions currently allow students to … Continue reading THE TOP 5 EDTECH TRENDS IN HIGHER EDUCATION FOR 2015