Media

24
Oct 2017

Without the Right Curriculum, Personalized Learning Is Just Another Fad

By Amber Oliver and Michael B. Horn (Columnist)     Oct 23, 2017

More school leaders than ever before are seeking to harness digital tools to personalize learning and to prepare students for life after school, when creating and thinking with technology will be at the heart of being engaged and productive members of society.

But these goals risk missing the bigger picture. Preparing students to be lifelong learners capable of partaking knowledgeably in both civic life and a rapidly changing workforce requires not just focusing on technology, personalization, or even coding, but the broader content and foundation at the heart of these experiences. The curriculum—what students are learning—matters.

That manifests in different, but related, ways.

For example, as students learn to read, it is critical that they build a strong and wide foundation of knowledge. A learner’s background knowledge is a key ingredient in her ability to learn and absorb information from what she is reading and consuming. Accordingly, personalizing learning through technology will be most powerful when it is coupled with intentional, coherent and rigorous instruction.

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