Monday, November 12, 2012

The future of education will be personalized


The greatest achievement of the educational systems of the twentieth century was to ensure access to school to almost every children in school age. It was certainly a major success in the context of the huge inequalities and exclusions that our societies maintain. Education, understood as a right of individuals and a society need, is a great legacy for the century in which we are.

However, it is insufficient to ensure a legacy of educational quality. The XXI century calls for the development of new skills and competencies in its members, that industrially organized schools are unable to offer. In most parts of the world, educational outcomes show this gap, and achieve the expected results in the XXI century requires to change our paradigms.



A true transformation of educational systems require to put the focus back on learning of every child, and therefore, the ability to develop differentiated solutions that consider the characteristics, interests, context and progress of each student.

Technologies available in the twentieth century did not this possible. So the educational solution was to group students according to their age, and to give everyone the same content at the same pace and with the same inputs. Technologies available in the XXI century, however, finally allow us to achieve mass, democratic and inclusive education, but now differentiating educational offer in order to offer each student solutions in his specific context.

More and more educational projects proposed to address the challenge of personalization: complete development of the potential of each student, along with their ability to be part of their communities, which they learn, share and grow. Personal development requires life with others.

Some of the current initiatives are in construction phase or pilot. Others are underway to be replicated and scaled, and some already proposed as public policies, designed to change the paradigms from which education systems are structured.

The next few years will see great development of these initiatives and therefore, meet and learn from the experiences ongoing is a necessity. The quality of education systems can no longer be measured only as the average performance of their students, but the percentage of them reaching the highest standards of excellence.


Personalized Education major initiatives

The Small Schools Project, New York
The Small Schools Project (The Small Schools Project) was created in 2000 with the aim of developing more personalized educational centers, which take into account the individual learning needs of their students without neglecting the quality of teaching. The project focuses on helping to redesign high schools who want to become small schools, through interventions in both models of teaching and administrative practices, also making advice to teachers, students and families. http://www.essentialschools.org

High Tech High, San Diego, California
Campus consists of three secondary education (High Tech High, High Tech High International High Tech High Media and Arts), two basic schools (High Tech and High Tech Middle Media Arts) in addition to Explorer Elementary, all based on the principles of personalization , so their curricula emphasize project-based learning, teaching and assessment teams as performance. http://www.hightechhigh.org

Relational Education System Fontan (SERF), Colombia
This system is a proposal based on the formal self-learning. Start from the reality of each student and the educational project staff respects personal learning pace, promoting excellence in every issue, exalting their potential and develop intellectual skills personal, social and emotional. http://www.l1to1.org

School Miguel Angel Asturias, San Salvador, El Salvador
Their learning methodology seeks to coordinate the curriculum with the reality of the students outside of school. Based on the pedagogy of Paulo Freire, each month the work revolves around the school to a different conversation topic and relevant to the student. It has a partnership with the Institute for Technical Training (INTECAP), in which students and teachers are strengthened as learners, responsible for their learning. The goal of the establishment is to train people who create and work for a more just society.

Brooklyn Free School, New York
Preschool to secondary school based on the concept of Democratic Summerhill School. There is no logic or current school year. Students must meet a graduation process that takes about two years since they decided to start it. Students attend classes they choose and guide their learning according to their interests, supported by school teachers. The school decisions are made entirely by a school board in each student and adult has a word. Born as an alternative for students who have experienced failure or  are in a home-schooling system. Democracy and participation are the cornerstones of the school culture. http://www.brooklynfreeschool.org

The Rural School Cecilia, Argentina
School in rural area that seeks to create student-centered learning. There is logic in traditional courses, but students may arrange with their teachers to move between different classes. Learning method based on the student's choice of what to learn and do not learn. Autonomy, decision-making skills and responsibility as pillars of the school culture. Technology is used as a means of communication between students and school, through blogs and similar initiatives. http://www.lacecilia.org.ar

PEOPLE, Brazil
Project from Municipal Education Secretariat of Rio de Janeiro, is a nascent effort to personalize and progressive educational offerings, leveraging the use of technology for learning. The year 2013 will begin its first implementation na Escola Municipal André Urani.

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