1.) Read the article and discuss the benefits and difficulties of personalized learning. What is your opinion in the topic? Can you give examples of personalized learning you see at your school?
Difficulties: There is a little grey area for me when talking about personalized learning, now that I have spent time teaching and being an educator. I am a little overwhelmed by the large definition that enables personalized education to be just about anything. In these few months in the classroom I have realized that teachers really are underpaid for what they do, and of course, their summers, or a month and a half they get off, is well earned and needed for maintaining mental health. The sheer scope of diversity that we have in this country is only increasing and the ability for teachers to coherently administer a classroom that not only differentiates, but personalizes, and monitors 35 students learning progress in a classroom is a lot to ask. I think a lot of teachers are just trying to keep their heads above water, differentiating instruction for the few students that need it in their classroom is a lot, not to mention trying to personalize 35 student experiences. Obviously, there are tools out there available to teachers to help in this processes, technology and dual credits, in which one might even argue make the teachers job easier. With all this being said, I agree with the author of this article in her conclusion about really planning and taking time to develop what “personalized learning’ looks like in your school, with your teachers, before implementing it. I think if enough planning and time is spent talking about what the specifics are going to look like, I know myself, as a teacher in training, would be much more comfortable with the idea of personalized learning.
Benefits: I think that personalized learning is really a cool idea, and something that I think could be good for our education system. I think that it’s really become more about going through the motions in school than anything else. I know that even for myself in college it has been more about surviving and getting a passing grade than learning sometimes, not that I wanted it to be that way, I wanted and want to learn, but sometimes the monotony of learning about things I didn’t feel I needed to learn about or the sheer amount of work often caused me to just shut down and do nothing. I think that like myself, most people hate wasting time and sometimes school can feel like a waste of time, “it’s not applicable to me or my goals’, “when am I going to use this’. I think there is a balance, and there are things that students should learn about that they will not enjoy, I don’t know if we can ever get away from that, but altering our focus on producing just college students, professors, and researchers, might help mitigate some of these struggles. If we do this then maybe we can cater to the future welders, mechanics, carpenters, clerks, entrepreneurs, and bus drivers that make up the majority of our workforce. Sometimes learning a little less, and understanding more, is better in my opinion.
2.) Include a link to a good web article or resource and share it with other students.
Prodigy is the rave in elementary and middle school student circles. I have been working with and observing in both the middle school and elementary classes in Nenana and students love playing prodigy. Prodigy is an awesome tool for teachers because you can cater it to a student’s needs, only allowing them to do problems on topics that they struggle with, or it allows you the option of aligning the problems with your state standards. The game is simple really, the students make characters and “do battle’ with other students or with the game, and win these “battles’ by their ability to solve math problems. They go on missions and complete assignments on their own, or in teams, it compels them to do math, and they really, really enjoy it.