The next big thing: personalized education

by Bruce Kasanoff on June 3, 2010

About a year ago, Howard Gardner wrote an article in Foreign Policy about personalized education. Here are a few excerpts:

Throughout most of history, only the wealthy have been able to afford an education geared to the individual learner. For the rest of us, education has remained a mass affair, with standard curricula, pedagogy, and assessments.

…But now for the first time it is possible to individualize education — to teach each person what he or she needs and wants to know in ways that are most comfortable and most efficient, producing a qualitative spurt in educational effectiveness.

…In fact, we already have the technology to do so. Well-programmed computers — whether in the form of personal computers or hand-held devices — are becoming the vehicles of choice.

…I’d bet on Singapore or Sweden before wagering on U.S. public schools. I recall the words of Winston Churchill: “The American people always do the right thing, after they’ve tried every other alternative.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Don Peppers June 3, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Public education may be one of the last bastions of the linear, assembly-line based, one-size-fits-all industrial model. My feeling is the kids are more likely to re-invent education on their own, because there are too many adult restrictions already gumming up the system, from property taxes that support local schools, to state laws that enshrine teacher seniority, to local-school monopolies that don’t even allow customers to choose which firm they buy from.

My feeling is the whole system is very likely to be completely overwhelmed and swamped and made irrelevant by e-learning systems and tools, sooner or later.

But in the meantime, it’s the most depressing problem I think we have here in the US. Our decrepit, under-performing, scandalously feather-bedded public education system is a disgrace to American ideals and is imposing a generational penalty on our productivity and economic advancement.

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