By Suzanne Perkowsky
Education is peppered with so many buzz words that it’s easy to get distracted and to keep changing direction. All the buzz can impede one’s teaching practice.
Three of the most confusing buzz words about learning are differentiation, individualization and personalization. Personalized learning goes beyond and encompasses differentiation and individualized learning. We at New Nordic School believe in personalized learning and the benefits of staying focused on this personalization.
Personalized learning keeps students at the center of all that is happening in schools. Students take full ownership of their education by actively participating in the design of their own learning. They have a voice and they are empowered to make choices.
The Nordic Baccalaureate provides a flexible framework that provides multiple possibilities guided and shaped by students’ personal experiences, prior knowledge, challenges, and strengths. Within each unit of learning, students select their focus, how and what they research, and how they present their learning. Teaching methods, learning outcomes, and performance expectations vary according to each student’s individual needs and preferences.
Personalized learning is based on mastery led by competencies. The competencies are closely linked with everyday daily life experiences and with each student’s future. How can the relevance of learning be the same for every child in a class when each child has different life experiences? We at New Nordic School are innovating by providing the necessary tools to enable this personalization.
As an educator, I know that many of us feel insecure when we have no ‘textbook’ path to follow in our lessons.
New Nordic School is facilitating educators’ move away from textbooks by providing continuums of learning and assessment enabled by smart technology. This approach supports teachers’ planning, and it helps students know what they need to accomplish to advance to the next level of knowledge and skills.
Individual goals are clearly articulated for students, which facilitates fair and honest assessment by peers, teachers, parents, or a student’s own self-assessment. This approach also enables small group teaching, which in turn gives educators opportunities to provide instant feedback on students’ progress, empowering those students to implement the suggestions immediately.
Personal portfolios bring this learning journey full circle. Digital portfolios follow students throughout their educational journey, to provide ready access to evidence of what they have accomplished and feedback that has been given. Having this access at the click of a button helps students see how they’ve grown as learners and ponder on constructive feedback, and it encourages them to keep striving for mastery.
For us at New Nordic School, it’s not only about personalized learning but significantly about the personal aspect of learning. With technology’s greater presence in education, it is paramount that we focus on the people and on the ‘personal’ in personalized education. Looking at it from another angle, we need to keep in mind that personalized learning is all about collaboration at all levels. It doesn’t mean that students work in isolation because it’s personalized but that students advance together at their own pace, leading their own learning with support from their peers, adults and all the learning tools around them.
If you’d like to know more, please do get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you.
Co-Founder and Chief Education Officer
New Nordic School