April 2016

Personalized learning—as a turn of phrase, a philosophy, and an ambition for our students—is gaining momentum nationwide. But as more and more reformers, companies, and leaders get on board with the idea of personalizing learning, there’s a lurking question around proof of concept: is this thing we call personalized learning actually happening in real classrooms? Has anyone figured out what it means to personalize to students from different backgrounds?
There’s a growing consensus among students, parents, teachers and education leaders that the current education system isn’t appropriately preparing young people for the future. Many districts are looking toward technology to patch the disconnect, but several recent reports indicate that technology alone cannot fix the ailing system.
At my university, I teach students in an interpersonal communications course. These students are first term college students, a few fresh out of high school. As is my common practice, I end my week of instruction with reflective questions for the students:
Problem-based learning, makerspaces, flipped learning, student blogging — these are becoming perceived staples of 21st-century learning. With such ambitious practices taking the spotlight for how people regard modern classrooms, it’s not surprising that a murmur of impracticality or skepticism is still a frequent response when they’re first introduced.
I like reading professional material. I would posit that most teachers do. Professional reading (OK, all reading, really) allows our thoughts to constantly shift, transform, and travel to currently uncharted mental territory. If we are lucky, we encounter a watershed idea or concept that shatters our thoughts and understanding to such an extent that it requires
a complete rebuilding of our philosophy.
Should Schools Count Coding as Math?
Joe Garofoli – The San Francisco Chronicle
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, Y Combinator President Sam Altman, LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla were among two dozen tech leaders who signed the letter. Also backing it were San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza and Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Antwan Wilson.