Keynote speaker Cheryl Lemke appealed to the collective audience to do whatever necessary to provide personalized learning experiences for our students, whenever possible – arguing that this model will honor student interests and passions, address individual needs and involve students as “co-designers” of their educational experience. This would all be accomplished while allowing students to build skills in resiliency and self-direction.
Most professionals within education, as well as parents of school aged children, would have a hard time arguing that students don’t benefit from differentiated and individual learning opportunities. Many hurdles are in place that make it very difficult for education, in general. to carry out personalized learning. As with most things in education, the biggest of these hurdle is RESOURCES (or lack there of). Most school districts simply do not have the funding, resources or man-power to efficiently carry out a system of personalized learning for every student. The Area Education Agency (AEA) program for the state of Iowa may just have the answer.
Starting in the fall of 2014, Iowa AEA will be rolling out AEA K-12 Online: Personalized Learning System. Iowa AEA has been providing professional development activities and coursework for educational professionals for years. This new program will be attempting to provide an efficient model of personalized student learning by pooling quality resources and class content provided by the teachers from across the great state of Iowa. Course content will be modular-based, allowing each course to be progressive and potentially self-paced. Content for each individual course will come from a number of potential resources, including community colleges and individual participating school districts.
All content that is included in a course will be aligned with Iowa Core standards, for validity and use in possible Standards Based Grading. Courses will also be constructed using the AGORA concept, taken from the ancient Greek for “community”. Students from one school could potentially participate in a course offering from within the AGORA, that is provided by another school district all together. This will allow for “communities” of students to develop across the state, who have similar passions within a content area.
Post Written by Chuck Buseman, W-SR High School, Social Studies