“Personalized learning requires not only a shift in the design of schooling, but also a leveraging of modern technologies” (Wolf, 2010). As an educator working with learners that range from ages 16-65, the different experience levels, learning styles, and teaching methods that are used vary from one learner to another. Using a prescriptive approach that adopts a “one-size-fits-all” strategy where all learners are taught exactly the same despite their individual needs, does not create a unique, dynamic learning environment. Learners have their own unique needs and require a more personalized learning environment. Richard Culatta suggests that switching to a personalized learning approach and leveraging the use of technology to “reimagine learning” will create a more engaging environment tailored to the needs of each learner.
Within our classrooms, we have the amazing opportunity to work with learners to help create engaging personal learning environments and teach them how to develop confidence and use creativity to actively participate throughout the entire learning experience. Encouraging students to be inquisitive, to engage in creative problem-solving, to think outside of the box to find solutions, and to communicate and collaborate with each other (our peers are one of our greatest resources), are essential 21st Century skills that we, as educators, can foster within our classroom(s) given that a more personalized learning environment exists.
“21C Skills” refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are important to succeed in today’s world, particularly for college and career readiness and in the workplace. Examples of these skills include collaboration, communication, creativity, and problem-solving. (Mozilla Learning Network, 2015)
The Maker Education approach to learning brings personalized learning and technology together to create an environment that encourages learners to create, play, imagine, and explore based on their individual needs and interests. Learners become invested and engaged within the learning experience when it’s personal and unique to their needs.
The Mozilla Learning Network developed a framework for “entry-level web literacy and 21st Century Skills” which I am using as a framework for the Play, MAKE, and Learn lesson plan that I created for a Computer & Information Principles course taught at the Community College. This lesson plan brings Maker Education and a personalized learning environment together through the use of technology to expose learners to basic programming techniques (through the use of Scratch) and to interact with technology by creating a computer interface (using Makey Makey) in order to help students make the connection between programming and computers.
Culatta, Richard. (2013, January). Reimagining Learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0uAuonMXrg
Mags, M. (2016, February). [Science, Technology, Education] [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/science-technology-education-1182713/
Mozilla Learning Network. (2015). Web Literacy 2.0. Retrieved from http://mozilla.github.io/content/web-lit-whitepaper/
Wolf, M. (2010). Innovate to education: System [re]design for personalized learning. A report from the 2010 symposium. [PDF file]. Washington, DC: Software & Information Industry Association. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/Documents/2010%20Symposium%20on%20Personalized%20Learning.pdf