Personalized Learning Isn’t As Far Fetched As You Think It Is

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past 19 years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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personalized learning
A piece of the hail that damaged my rental! Photo: Carrie Morgridge

Talk about personalized learning and you will undoubtedly be met with a number of “yes, but …” statements. It sounds like a pipe dream, but it is reality in many places throughout the country and can be a reality at your school.

The truth is that you don’t have to scale an entire flight of stairs in one leap. All it takes is a single step to get the ball rolling.

Create Something Great

For proof that it can be done, look no further than Douglas County Public Schools in Colorado. I had the pleasure of being on the Create Something Great panel this week and — despite the adversity of a power outage and damage to my rental car as a result of a massive hail storm — the experience was magical.

These teachers and administrators truly want to figure out personalized learning. They have an energy, spirit, determination, passion, interest, and engagement that is infectious to someone like me who is already on fire for the subject. They want to make sense of how to grow in self direction and in questioning, problem posing, creating, imagining, and innovating within their kids.

The best part is that they’re actually doing it.

Personalized Panel

personalized learning
Our panel.

The Create Something Great panel was made up of Carrie Morgridge, Jeff Boodie, Adrian Bazemore, and me — four individuals from four very different backgrounds. Research into who they are as people and professionals resulted in a personalized presentation as I tried to make common themes between us come alive with the audience.

Carrie is a philanthropist who gives to benefit education, Jeff is an entrepreneur who helps Generation Z start their careers, and Adrian is a professional who credits his career to the educators in his life.

We have passion and agility in common – understanding what you do when there’s no obvious solution path.

That translates to personalized learning because we must use those skills to come up with ways to honor the voices of our students and ourselves amidst constraints of a public school system. This takes us back to the original point. We don’t have to scale the stairs in one leap – we simply have to take the first step.

It was a privilege and pleasure to speak with these teachers, administrators, and fellow panelists this week. They have taken many steps toward personalized learning in their schools and the benefits are tangible.

Have you taken a step (or steps) toward personalized learning or are you afraid to take that step?

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