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Teacher and Learner Roles Change in 1:1 Personalized Learning Environments
Author: Barbara Bray with Kathleen McClaskey, Personalized Learning | November 27th, 2012

personalizedlearningTechnology, especially mobile devices, allows learning to feel more personal. Being connected to the content with these devices offers opportunities for anyone to learn anywhere anytime. Yet, just providing technology to learners doesn’t mean that learning is personalized.

Teachers tend to teach the way they were taught or the way they are told to teach. Traditional schools are set up with bell schedules, pacing guides, and standardized tests. Teachers can only change so much in traditional settings. Providing mobile devices for each learner doesn’t mean that learners own their learning. The Stages of Personalized Learning [Bray & McClaskey, 2012] was developed to provide a process that defines how teacher and learner roles change when learning is personalized.

Traditional: Teacher-centered with no learner voice and choice
Stage One: Teacher-centered with learner voice and choice
Stage Two: Learner-centered with teacher as co-designer
Stage Three: Learner-driven with teacher as partner in learning

Learners of all ages are different today. They were born digital. Yet, even with technology, they are not as engaged in learning as they could be. If a teacher asks learners to use a mobile device the same way they use paper and pencil or to build skills for tests, learners feel betrayed and are not motivated to learn. There is a way to slowly introduce learner voice and choice starting with Stage One. Teacher and learner roles change even in Stage One.

- Knows how the learner learns best.
- Redesigns the learning environment.
- Integrates technology.
- Designs assessment strategies.
- Recognizes high-quality resources.

- Establishes learning goals with teacher.
- Creates a personal learning plan.
- Chooses how to access content.
- Has a voice expressing what they know.
- Selects the way to engage with content.

For learners to own and drive their learning, teachers and learners need to know how the learners learn best using Universal Design for Learning principles [www.cast.org]. This means understanding how learners prefer to...
• access content and information.
• engage with the information.
• express what they know and understand.

When teachers understand how learners learn best, they can create a learning toolkit for their class that offers strategies, resources, and tools that can support the variability of learners for a variety of learning activities. When learners have the power of a mobile device that they take with them wherever they learn, teaching and learning has to be different. Learners can create their Learner Profile and learning goals based on how they learn best. They can then select tools and apps to build their own Personal Learning Backpack TM. Each learner is unique and accesses, engages, and expresses what they know different than other learners.

Barbara Bray is Co-Founder of Personalize Learning, LLC (www.personalizelearning.com) with Kathleen McClaskey, Owner/Founder of My eCoach (http://my-ecoach.com), blogs often on Rethinking Learning (barbarabray.net), and writes a regular column on professional development for Computer Using Educators.

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