Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Personal Learning vs. Personalized Learning

A great blog post in "The Answer Sheet," written by Alfie Kohn, about some of the "learning" materials being foisted on schools --

Here's the beginning of it, explaining the difference between "personal learning" and "personalized learning" --
"Personal learning entails working with each child to create projects of intellectual discovery that reflect his or her unique needs and interests. It requires the presence of a caring teacher who knows each child well.

Personalized learning entails adjusting the difficulty level of prefabricated skills-based exercises based on students’ test scores.   It requires the purchase of software from one of those companies that can afford full-page ads in Education Week."
To read the rest of it, click here -- http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/24/four-reasons-to-seriously-worry-about-personalized-learning/

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Excellent New Book About Testing

I've just finished reading a new book about testing -- The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed With Standardized Testing -- But You Don't Have To Be, by Anya Kamenetz.  Although I would take issue with part of the book's title (schools and educators are having the testing mania foisted on them -- they are not naturally obsessed with testing), the book is well researched, interesting, and well worth reading.  Kamanetz does an excellent job of demonstrating the harm caused to children and schools by the current obsession with standardized testing, and also includes an excellent and enlightening history of standardized testing.  I was most surprised (and delighted), though, by the section of the book entitled "Measuring What Matters" in which Kamanetz describes four new trends in assessment; it made me feel there is hope for the future, and that it is possible that we may develop something better before the current trends destroy public education.  She also includes an excellent final section for parents with strategies that can help them minimize the harm to their children.  Anyway -- well worth reading, I think!