Personalized Learning; Competency-based Education; Distance (On-line) Education

The buzzwords Personalized Learning, Competency-based Education, Distance (On-line) Education have become increasingly popular since the 1990’s. In some circles, these are pejorative terms which when enacted to an extreme through the conduit of technology are perceived to threaten teachers and the teaching profession. Technology is often seen as the cause and by reference, technologists are therefore at fault. Here is an excellent article by Jennifer Carolan that rehashes the history of Personalized Learning and adds some reasonable perspective regarding the role of technology. Her last paragraph capsulizes the theme.

But personalization does not mean isolation, and it doesn’t mean sitting our students down in front of laptops all day. Personalization is a strategy that allows us to adapt to the needs of all children, preferably after giving them a powerful, shared learning experience that motivates them to dive deeper. The best schools and ed-tech companies understand that technology and personalization are not the ends of education, but that they are merely means to help achieve higher goals—goals on which the health of our society and democracy depend.