I enjoy Stephen Downes’ OlDaily blog because his writing inspires me a lot.
His thoughts on personalized and personal learning contain a very amusing comparison with dining:

Personal learning is like shopping at a grocery store. You need to assemble the ingredients yourself and create your own meals. It’s harder, but it’s a lot cheaper, and you can have an endless variety of meals. Sure, you might not get the best meals possible, but you control the experience, and you control the outcome.

Reflecting upon my own experience as a teacher and how other educators learn I see a clear distinction between those who wait to be served and those that boldly go where none have gone before. It reminds me of Priestly & Biesta’s Agency. (an excellent excerpt can be read in Rene Kneyber’s Flip the System II). They argue that teacher autonomy is not enough. Rather, we need to focus on teacher agency and the conditions in which it can be accomplished.  This requires an active approach instead of a passive responsiveness to the current status quo. Educators can be an agent of change. If they are willing to do some shopping themselves (in line with Downes reasoning) the can make an education personal. If an educator or teacher chooses to remain passive (which seems unprofessional to me) and serve the Educational Fast Food found in most modern educational publishers catalogue, then education will succumb more of it’s stature.

Let’s do a little taught experiment! Her are some questions:

  • What is the impact of personal learning on students compared to personalized learning?
  • How does this relate to the common one-size-fits-all instruction in most classrooms today?
  • How will students benefit from teacher training becoming personal instead of personalized?
  • How will students and/or teachers benefit from educational management training becoming personal instead of personalized?

I think all people involved in education need to figure out how to be an agent of change.