Sunday, August 12, 2007

Personal Learning Network

A member of our state board of education is a strong advocate of individual learning plans for each student. While this is laudable, it seems a daunting, larger-than-life task. It would be somewhat similar to IEPs students have for special education. I personally can’t envision a classroom teacher creating, reading, and revising written plans for 25 students. The board has adopted a follow-the-child initiative. There are certain skills students need to develop and demonstrate, and there is a base of information that students should master. While there has been too much emphasis placed on the later in the past, and information is even more “soft” today, there are certain facts that students need to learn. I see the personalization or individualizing of a student’s learning coming in to play in the way skills and information is addressed. I could lecture about Colonial New Hampshire. I could also have students research information about the topic, work on a collaborative wiki, and make blog posts written as a colonist. The lecture does not allow for individualization (or interest for that matter). Web2.0 takes the personal learning aspect and can be one way to make it more connected (network). Reading groups can be cold or lively. Cooperative learning groups can be exciting ways for students to connect/network. Web2.0 tools offer a new and additional manner for this connectedness to occur.

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