Arlington Public Schools (APS) continues to cultivate engaging environments that create relevant and personalized learning experiences for all learners, regardless of background, language or disability. These personalized learning environments provide for educational experiences that are specifically tailored to the needs of each individual student.
APS is dedicated to providing high quality, engaging learning experiences that develop the whole child. It is committed to challenging all students, preparing them to be college and career ready, and becoming responsible and productive global citizens. Our vision for the personalized learning initiative is that every teacher transforms teaching and learning that results in personalized learning and academic growth for all students. APS has laid the foundation for ensuring that students have equal access to information, opportunities and tools needed for learning by providing students and teachers with varied resources and tools. Students are able to leverage resources to take greater ownership of their learning, and engage in activities that require them to solve problems, collaborate with others, and generate new ideas. APS is committed to ensuring instruction, curriculum and outcomes are connected to our students’ unique talents, skills and interests and using technology to provide flexibility and choice for our learners.
What is Personalized Learning?
The notion of personalized learning is not new yet without the benefit of technology, it has been impossible to bring to scale. Classrooms that embrace personalized learning are student-centered. The teacher’s role is one of facilitator as opposed to the gatekeeper or transmitter of knowledge. Teachers spend time guiding students in analyzing, applying, and synthesizing information instead of memorizing and reciting factual information. As a result, students are challenged to think critically and use higher order thinking skills. Engagement and motivation is increased as students are allowed more opportunities to take control of their learning: they are offered more voice and choice in how they consume content and how they demonstrate their learning.
Personalized learning is further defined by Rickabaugh (2016): “Learners are active participants in setting goals, planning learning paths, tracking progress, and determining how learning will be demonstrated. At any given time, learning objectives, content,methods, and pacing are likely to vary from learner to learner as they pursue proficiency aligned to established standards. A fully personalized environment moves beyond both differentiation and individualization.”
Benefits of Personalized Learning
With personalized learning we see many wonderful benefits.
- Classrooms are student-centered and the teacher’s role is as facilitator to guide learning rather than just being gatekeeper or a single source of knowledge.
- Through personalized learning, students are challenged to think critically and use higher order level skills.
- Students are more engaged in learning when they are given more opportunities to take control of their learning.
- Teachers are able to offer immediate feedback so that students can make adjustments to their thinking and improve on their work.
- With collaboration tools, students and teachers are able to communicate easily both inside and outside of school.
- Students are exploring more creative ways to solve problems, express their ideas, generate new learning and develop skills to work as part of a team in the classroom and virtually.