A Reflection on "What Principals Really Think About Tech" [Education Week article, April 17, 2018]
In the Education Week article, "What Principals Really Think About Tech" by Benjamin Herold, it is interesting to read about the way principals perceive about personalized learning environment, including who the principals think pushes personalized learning. As shown below, twenty-eight (28) percent of the principals surveyed in this article thinks that personalized learning is a transformational way to improve public education. In addition, Twenty-three (23) percent of the principals surveyed believes that personalized learning is a promising idea, while thirty-one (31) percent thinks that personalized learning is one of the many school improvement strategies available to them. The rest of the principals surveyed shared that personalized learning is not on their radar screen, is a passing fad, or a threat to public education.
With the question, "Who do principals think is pushing personalized learning?", fifty-five (55) percent of the principals surveyed responded that technology companies or vendors pushes personalized learning. On the other hand, forty-six (46) percent of the principals surveyed think that district leaders pushes personalized learning, while thirty-one (31) percent of the principals surveyed identified the students as an influencer.
My Personal Thoughts
This article was written on April 17, 2018 and from this date, there had been more articles, journals, and research papers that have explored into the different facets of personalized learning. This deep dive has resulted to additional findings, possibilities, and connections that paved ways for teachers, principals, and district administrators to gain information and knowledge about personalized learning. Some information have been useful that inspired some school leaders to take risks in adopting innovative best practices to develop student-centered learning environments. Even in this day and age, many school leaders are hesitant in implementing personalized learning as part of providing differentiation in student learning. It seems that one of the major reasons of their hesitancy is the expectation for students to perform well in state/federal-mandated assessments, which had been a huge challenge to many public school districts to sustain funding support and academic freedom. Assessments as we all know, such as in the state of Texas, is a well-known tool and strategy to identify and define campus or district performance. For this reason, the intense emphasis on performing well as a campus and as a district according to state/federal-mandated assessments has placed deep stress for all school community stakeholders.
Recently, I have immersed myself in further reading to understand personalized learning better and how this style of teaching and learning impacts my line of work as a seasoned educator. Personalized learning, in many ways, had been associated and connected with the use of web-based learning systems to deliver content, instruction, and support student engagement (Chen, 2008). This trend had led to the development of more e-learning systems with accompanying features that support individualized learning among potential learners through personalized learning paths. These learning paths provide choices that are attractive and relevant to the needs of the times. This approach in learning has helped individuals decide as to what career path they want to take and that will take them eventually closer to their professional and/or personal purpose.
As an educator, I am driven by what is truly meaningful in making a poignant difference in the lives of students. Today, young learners are driven by digital learning and the tablet (i.e. iPad, Android tablet, Kindle, etc.) is one of the many devices that are visible in the classrooms. With the presence of such a device in the hands of young children, many ebooks have been created as a means to develop literacy through personalized learning (Huang, Liang, Su, & Chen, 2012). This type of portable device has also provided opportunities for young learners to explore and use apps that can increase vocabulary and language development.
Other research identifies the use of personalized learning practices among students to be showing progress over time compared to those students who are catching up to meet expectations and perform at or above national averages (Hwang, Kuo, Yin, & Chuang, 2010). Student progress and instructional decisions are mostly determined through gathering and analyzing data. Likewise, data is used to identify individual academic support, which eventually influence the choice of technology to be used as part of personalization of learning. With the increased demand in addressing student academic performance in reading and mathematics, personalized learning experiences and best practices have been used for direct extensions of common student learning and teaching practices. However, the implementation of more challenging strategies was not as common and many. For this reason, I see the urgency and need to focus understanding of deeper learning on competency-based learning and use of technology for individualized/personalized learning.
ISTE Standards Targets for Personalized Teaching and Student Learning
Director Active Learning El Paso ISD. Social, Economic & Cultural Awareness. Equity in Education. Student & Woman Empowerment