Personalization is everywhere. Sometimes its unhelpfully paired or substituted with the word individualization. Tomorrow I have been asked to work with a group in a pre-ISTE event, sponsored by Dell to talk about personalization. When I first began speaking with the folks at Dell I said something like, personalization to me means that students have the agency to direct their own learning and that it has little to do with data dashboards of statistics. They did not disagree. And so we kept talking and it led to an invitation to lead a conversation tomorrow.
To say that my interpretation of personalization is the prevalent one in education reform and edtech, would be incorrect. It is difficult to watch technology be used to advocate for fewer adults, less interaction between students and generally micromanaging the entire student experience. Wonder, serendipity and inquiry are some of the most fascinating pieces of the empowering potential of technology as a vehicle for access to… massive amounts of information, connection and possibility. Continually shoehorning student learning in a path that a computer decides is necessary is not the most interesting or empowering version of personalization.
Tomorrow I look forward to kicking the term around a bit, seeing where it goes and trying to continually reflect upon the terms we use to describe the learning experience. Would love to know your thoughts on personalization.