Today's Newsletter: Can Tech Personalize Learning?

This month's print issue features two stories about edtech's most ambiguous of phrases—personalized learning.
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This month's print issue (Yes, we still do print. Click here to subscribe) features two stories about edtech's most ambiguous of phrases—personalized learning. The first is an interview with Diana Laufenberg in which she parses it as so: “In my opinion, when the industry uses the term ‘personalized,’ they often mean ‘individualized.’ If it’s a computer program making the decisions for the child, it’s individualized, not personalized.” The second feature by SchoolCIO editor Ellen Ullman showcases schools that use Learning Management Systems (LMS) to “create individual learning journeys.” Students at the Children’s School in Atlanta use their LMS to create videos and wikis. One fourth-grade student at Fraser (MI) Public Schools taught himself how to make videos and then created video lessons to share with his classmates. A teacher at Liberty-Benton (OH) Local School uses her LMS to curate a variety of reading material into one place. Are these ideas “individualized” or “personalized?” Laufenberg says she sees “personalized learning opportunities in all of the tools that allow kids to create authentic products.” Does a Learning Management System alone fit that bill? Probably not. But, until schools can create scalable systems that assess skills not easily put on a bubble test, tech can create an avenue toward individualized learning experiences. – Christine Weiser, Executive Editor

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