A mashup of all things educational! From technology and social media to leadership and international education, this is where I will be reflecting and applying everything thing I learn from the web and my PLN. Join me on the adventure and add your opinion to the mix!

06 June 2013

2 Professional Development: Standardize or Personalize?


We've been in the process for awhile to teach our staff why and how they can use blogs for their classes. We're still in the early stages of adoption and  the focus has been mostly as a communication tool with parents and the outside world. Since we're fledglings, we haven't broached the topic of having our students make blogs yet. (We're leaving that for another day!)

As we continue on our journey to help the staff implement this new tool, we have found ourselves at a curious cross roads: standardize or personalize?  We're encountering this again and again in three different areas: the training, the tool, and the product

The questions are: 
  • Should we expect all teachers to take blog training and make a blog or offer various technology training choices for the staff and support those that are interested in blogging in specific classes?
  • Should we make all teachers use the same blogging tool or give them a choice of two or three tools so they can pick one that they are comfortable with?  (we only use free ones at the moment so school wide cost isn't a factor)
  • Should we expect that all the blogs have the same type of information on them and the same list of recommended resources or give the teachers the leeway to have blogs that are distinctly different offering a personalized insight into their class?
My initial inquiry into the answer has led me to Personalised Learning's site run by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey who speak about their "Personalization vs Differentiation vs Individualization Chart" in a recent blog post.  This is an excellent chart to help determine exactly which type of learning you are providing while giving a road map on how to move to other types of learning if you would like.  It clarifies that there are three approaches to encouraging learning and through the identification of the approach you are desiring you can deliver the concepts and content needed.

Click below to read more...



I've also found some relevant insights from Sir Ken Robinson's recent TED talk (minutes 12:45-16:15) who mentioned that "We must move from an Industrial, linear based model to a Agricultural, organic model" in education.  I know that educational technology is moving more and more into individualization, especially according to Salman Khan and Khan Academy, but are teachers too?  Do we stop expecting standardization from teachers and start accepting personalized approaches?  What are the consequences of this shift?


Watch minutes 12:45-16:15

Both of these resources are insightful for me because, while I knew we were doing our Educational Technology Professional Development Model differently this year for our staff, I wasn't sure whether we should called it personalized, differentiated, or individualized learning.  Now I can clearly see we are doing both at different times.  I'm looking forward to using this vocabulary more confidently and consistently with the staff.

What are your thoughts to the questions above?  What macro level consequences come out of encouraging personalization of Professional Development Training, technological tools, and technological products?  What experiences do you have with this?

Looking forward to your insights!
Jessica :) 

Photo Sources:  Sir Ken Robinson © TED Conferences, LLC, Crossroads Jessica Allen via ImageChef.com

2 comments:

Verena Zimmer said...

If teaching is a passion of somebody professional development happens meaningfully, authentically and by choice. From my perspective all three words "personalized, differentiated, or individualized" sound like the PD is organized from somebody (leadership). Wouldn't it be the best case leadership creates a/improves the culture of learning amongst the teachers and each teacher chooses how and in what area he or she wants to develop?! I'm aware that might not work for everybody. Choices are important for the case that some teachers need rather a push into something new. If there are choices teachers can take ownership. And then it will be come personalized, individualized, differentiated or how ever you want to call it.
Regarding the blogs ... As much as I wish that everybody blogs and sees the advantages of blogging I'm convinced that if teachers get choices to inquire into something the outcome will be bigger and more effective - for the school and for the individual teacher.

Jessica Allen said...

Thanks so much for the comment, Verena! I couldn't agree more that's why we're building in choice into our PD offerings for technology this year! As you said, however, there are a number that need a direction to be given to them so that is why we are differentiating, not personalizing or individualizing only. We've got a vision to have all three different types of PD to support all types of learners. Does you school have only personalized (like communities of practice, or local personal learning networks)?

Thanks for the feedback!

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