Giving Compass’ Take:
· Leaders of New Profit’s Personalized Education Initiative, Helayne Jones and Molly O’Donnell, explain the state of play in personalized learning and share some of the challenges and opportunities that leaders in this nascent field are facing.
· This is an example of cross-organization collaboration (supported by a funder collaborative) helping to advance field-level work to reform education.
· Read more about New Profit and its Personalized Learning Initiative.
In the United States, the greatest determinant of a student’s educational outcomes continues to be the circumstances of their birth. We can reliably predict the course of a child’s academic life from the time they are born based on their race, language, socio economic status, and the neighborhood where they live. The historic racism and inequities in our society are plainly reflected in our public schools. Our education system still functions largely as a factory model incapable of recognizing the unique assets each child brings to the classroom. It is designed to prepare our students for the past, not the future. It is long-past time for a major upgrade from what we have to a system capable of preparing an increasingly diverse student population for civic and economic life in a digitally integrated, globally contextualized, and culturally complex world.
We believe we can build a high-quality, equitable public education system that helps students grow the knowledge and skills they need for the future. Comprehensive personalized learning strategies can ensure each student is seen and understood by their educators for their strengths and assets, as well as their developmental needs and challenges. Every single child must be supported in strengthening their academic skills, as well as their individual cultural identity and understanding of their social emotional needs. The core of good teaching and learning has always been predicated on deeply knowing students and customizing instruction to meet their individual needs. But we have never had a system that supports that relationship for every child in every community. We are at a unique point where we can marry what we know about learning science and social emotional development with tools to help educators make more customized instructional decisions based on real-time information.
Unfortunately, an organized effort to undermine personalized learning has pushed an oversimplified, disingenuous characterization of these strategies as a nefarious scheme to sell “student data” and “replace teachers with tablets.” These bumper sticker arguments conjure troubling images of children surfing the internet unsupervised, stoke fears about the commodification of privacy, and exacerbate every parent’s concern about limiting screen time for their kids. It is a provocative argument, and it would be legitimate cause for grave concern if it were true. Fortunately, it is demonstrably false.
Read the full article about personalized learning by Helayne Jones and Molly O’Donnell at New Profit.
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