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Education Facebook The Almighty Buck Politics

Personalized Learning: the Best Education Or the Worst? 143

theodp writes: In an exclusive interview with Education Week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talked about why he is shifting his K-12 giving priorities to personalized learning. While acknowledging that there's not yet any independent, large-scale research to show personalized learning's effectiveness, Zuck argues that "the model just intuitively makes sense." But just days later, Fordham University professor Mark Naison wrote in the Washington Post about why the personalized learning efforts of 'a growing number of those with investment capital seeking profitable outlets,' which presumably includes Zuck, make him 'incredibly pessimistic' about the future of public education. That Zuck — like fellow personalized learning cheerleaders/funders Bill Gates and former U.S. Education Chief Arne Duncan — seemed to be unaware of studies on personalized learning studies that date back to the '70s is troubling. But people don't "Like" 40+ year-old Ed.gov papers, so Zuck could be forgiven for not seeing them and, as a result, believing that the personalized learning plan dashboard his Facebook engineers knocked out truly is the ground-breaking solution to 'one of education's biggest problems' that Melinda Gates cracks it up to be.
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Personalized Learning: the Best Education Or the Worst?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Personalised is the way to go. It doesn't matter how much is spent on public if there's even one psychopathic bully shitting on it all. And there's often a lot more than one.

    • Re:Personalised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ganv ( 881057 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @09:00AM (#51692815)

      Yes, all the studies showing problems with personalized learning are simply showing that we had not yet figured out how to do it well. There is simply no way that a one-size-fits all bureaucracy can educate as well as a system with tools that allow teachers to tailor activities to individual children. The problem is that personalized education is a much harder problem than many believe. It is easy to make an app that adapts the math problems assigned to a student's performance. But it is much harder to produce group learning activities that match varied skills. And if you put kids each on a single computer which is 'personalized', you can be sure they will learn less than if they are working together learning the social skills and executive function needed to succeed in the world. Eventually we'll succeed in personalizing teaching of social skills, executive function, reading, and math. But it is a hard problem.

      In many ways the problem is like artificial intelligence. It is a much harder problem than people thought. But that doesn't mean that it is impossible and as parts of it are solved it slowly changes everything.

      • Re:Personalised (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @09:58AM (#51693087)

        Yes, all the studies showing problems with personalized learning are simply showing that we had not yet figured out how to do it well.

        No, we know exactly how to do it *well*. Each student's parents just need to hire an individual full-time tutor for their kid, who can then teach them in whatever way best suits that individual kid.

        The problem is that we haven't found a way to to it *economically* or *practically* for all those students whose parents can't afford to hire an individual tutor.

        • The problem is that we haven't found a way to to it *economically* or *practically* for all those students whose parents can't afford to hire an individual tutor.

          But we have. The problem is, that it leaves certain kids "behind" and we've pledged "No Child Left Behind". So instead of getting the most out of everyone, we fail to get the minimum out of way too many. Some kids aren't going to succeed, regardless of how much effort we spend. The problem is, we can't just leave them behind either.

        • Each student's parents just need to hire an individual full-time tutor for their kid, who can then teach them in whatever way best suits that individual kid.

          This ignores the huge benefits in some situations of working together in small groups. Nothing in education is so simple.

          • by ganv ( 881057 )
            Yes, NotDrWho and Logic Bomb give important addendums. Resource constraints are a huge part of the puzzle. In an ideal world, even your group learning uses groups tailored to an individual learner, and that is often not practical. Eventually we may have data capable of guiding which kinds of groups should be working on which kinds of activities, and then analyzing that data and monitoring the groups will be a labor intensive operation, so we are back to resource constraints. In the long run, artific
          • Each student's parents just need to hire an individual full-time tutor for their kid, who can then teach them in whatever way best suits that individual kid.

            This ignores the huge benefits in some situations of working together in small groups. Nothing in education is so simple.

            Nowhere in that formula does it say that kids won't sometimes be working in groups.

            Do kids with private tutors sometimes learn in groups? This is a factual question with an answer. You seem to be arguing that you believe the answer is that no, they do not. I find that hilarious, as there is thousands of years of evidence that they do in fact work with their peers; the tutors often find value in this, and it gives the other tutors a bit of a break. And for public schools, there is only a couple hundred years

        • That doesn't scale very well. There's a limited number of good teachers, and I'm willing to bet it's a lot smaller than the number of children needing education. This means that, if we applied this system, most kids wouldn't get good tutors anyway.

      • The studies linked to in the summary are quite positive about computer aided learning, actually.
      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        That partially depends on what you mean by "well". A big part of education acculturating the children to the culture that they are going to live in. Personalized education is likely to splinter the groups and fragment the culture even more that is already happening.

        Unfortunately, the current education system was designed to turn out factory workers...and there already isn't much need for that. But there still is need for glue to hold the civilization together. So shared common experiences are necessary.

  • You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @08:11AM (#51692649) Journal
    It is human nature to imagine fame and success make you ideally suited to solve all the world's problems.

    I don't know who said, "the more you know, the more you realize you don't know," but this is not the conclusion a great number of intelligent people automatically arrive at.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday March 14, 2016 @08:22AM (#51692679)

      Well Angelina Jolie said that we should listen to Zuckerberg on this...

      Seriously though, it's not just human but also animal nature to "worship" the successful. While that used to be the big alpha male who always won his fights, and through humanity turned into the chieftain or the king who also always won his fights (after all, God shall protect the right)... in today's world we no longer value fighting so much, so we worship the ones set on a pedestal before us ("famous" people) and the ones who make a lot of money. Is that right? No. But it's how human brains are wired.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      The problem is nobody listens to you unless they agree; they're more likely to listen if you're famous or have some kind of credential.

      I've found these problems where I'll explain how markets or how macro-economics work and people will go, "... okay, yeah. I get that. I still think you're wrong, even though everything you said is obviously correct."

      Favorite example: I want to replace our welfare system with a Citizen's Dividend, a particular form of basic income (I have a complete tax plan, including

      • by slew ( 2918 )

        Quality of life doesn't equate to wages... Nice try though on the Citizen Dividend.

        The problem with "money" and "wages" is that those game tokens don't have the same economic value to everyone.

        Wealth denominated in cash give people a certain amount of freedom and independence in our current society which makes some people happy. But that isn't the total equation. For example, why do rich people want to run for political office. They eventually realize some things that money can't buy and they want those

        • Actually, you missed it; but only barely.

          Money is not wealth. The buying power of money constantly converges on a measure by which all money spent in a reasonable recent period (e.g. 1 year) equates to all products produced and sold in that period. That means one year of total income equates to one year of production-consumption.

          All the stuff made divided by the whole population tells you how much there is to go around. If there's 1,000 people and 1,000 pounds of rice made per year, everyone can have

      • by e r ( 2847683 )
        I'm interested in your Citizen's Dividend idea. Is there a place I can go to learn the details?

        * Such a plan does reduce taxes on consumer take-home pay, increasing take-home pay per dollar wage-labor paid by the employer (including taxes), thus making *everyone* richer; *but* it's an expensive waste of money to give "our hard-earned taxpayer dollars" to drug dealers and lazy bums. (X causes Y; I like Y, but I don't like X. More politics.)

        This is most likely the one I would have responded with if I we were having a conversation and I hadn't thought about what I was going to say. I still dislike the notion of paying societal parasites. Wouldn't your plan still work if we didn't hand out money to people who don't contribute to the system? Why is it necessary that the parasites be given a free ride?

        If you can give them facts and figures they can understand, you can make them acknowledge those facts and figures are right and your conclusions are correct, and then immediately make a logically-disconnected statement about how they don't believe it anyway.

        Frequently it's because I still feel like there's som

        • I'm interested in your Citizen's Dividend idea. Is there a place I can go to learn the details?

          I still need to write a formal description; but I've blogged about chunks and abstract ideas [slashdot.org]. The sheer amount of detail I've got scribbled down in notes is ... it's not like you can fix a problem by throwing money at it. I mostly talk about financing plans--cut off the cost of welfare (55% of the marginal income taxes) and replace it with a Dividend funding source (17% of AGI income tax); distribute that to every natural-born, adult, resident, American citizen; pay it as a non-refundable tax credit to a

          • by e r ( 2847683 )

            * In practice, things like welfare drug tests determine almost nobody (like 0.01%) is actually on welfare and on drugs, without drops in welfare enrollment. Most states implementing welfare drug tests repeal them due to the cost being in massive excess of the savings.

            Interesting. I didn't know that.

            As for the rest, it sounds promising. But I'm a paranoid and skeptical sort. Would it be possible to test and prove your system in one state before implementing it for the whole country? If so, then which state would be most suitable do you think?

            • Not likely. My system is highly sensitive to wealth: once you've reached a certain level of wealth (which is predicate entirely on technological development--how much stuff can you actually produce per person?), you have enough to go around that tapping it for a basic-needs-level income is cheaper than most simple alternatives. You can compare the cost of welfare versus a competing Dividend [wordpress.com] against spending in 1950 [theatlantic.com] and spending in 2003 [theatlantic.com]. The difference is more staggering when you realize the average 195

        • About your view on global warming:

          1. The 2K limit isn't a matter of how high the temperature can go, it's a goal, since above 2K things are going to get seriously worse. (So far, I see no reason to believe that we're not going to shoot right by.) The climate changes are also going to be much more drastic than just a little warmup.

          2. You're selfish. That's not a real good basis for society, or a response to a threat.

          3. You've been reading general articles, and ignoring what climate scientists sa

          • by e r ( 2847683 )

            You're selfish.

            This is just name calling. Also, you left out the part I mentioned where I believe we must balance the budget in order to deal with AGW.

            You let yourself be sucked along with propaganda, presumably because it's more comfortable that way.

            An ad hominem attack.

            However, you seem to have an opinion based on what you've seen and read...

            Yes. That's true. How else should one form an opinion?

            but you appear to be unwilling to think beyond that, to what's really going on.

            Why don't you tell me what's really going on?

            Now, if you went through this and had no real opinion, that would be fine. However...

            So you felt like you needed to adjust my opinion on the matter? Thus proving what I said about self-righteous motivations and vegans.
            Q: How do you know who's a vegan?
            A: Oh, they'll let you know.

            • "Selfish" is putting your own desires above others. You said that you had serious limits on what you were willing to put up with, which qualifies. The Federal budget is a completely orthogonal issue.

              You also don't know what "ad hominem" means. I'm starting with your bad conclusions and surmising how you got them. Saying you were wrong because you were a propaganda dupe would be ad hominem; saying you're a propaganda dupe because you're wrong, and how you're wrong, isn't.

              As far as what is going on,

      • ... airtight logical models that show certain conclusions are likely correct because all other conclusions are mathematically impossible

        So, wherever you're wrong, you can't see it because you tricked yourself into believing that your thoughts are magical and so you can prove negatives. Complete fail. You didn't even convince me to be interested in checking your numbers, because I already know they're a steaming pile of garbage. Anything that claims to be proven right because the biased phrasing of the alternate view is clearly wrong... already has me convinced. ;)

        Example:

        for example: reducing cost of a general market good always *eventually* reduces price as a proportion of both per-capita and median buying power, else we'd have eliminated all employment thousands of years ago--any other conclusion prohibits the creation of new products

        What a load of crap that is. No, that not only doesn't prove your poin

        • So, wherever you're wrong, you can't see it because you tricked yourself into believing that your thoughts are magical and so you can prove negatives.

          I was particularly referring to the postulate that technology, throughout history, has reduced labor time required to produce goods, thus reducing the cost, leading to an eventual reduction to price, leading to an increase in consumer buying power (the consumer spends less on something he was already buying). Someone loses their job for a while, and then later a new job becomes available.

          I've had people explain that this *never* happens, and businesses have *always* just taken profit. Jobs lost to techn

    • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @10:47AM (#51693477)

      Last week I told a grad student "grad school is where you learn that you don't know nearly as much as you think you do. A postdoc is where you learn that nobody else does either."

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Last week I told a grad student "grad school is where you learn that you don't know nearly as much as you think you do.

        Shit, education has really gone downhill. We used to learn that leaving high school.

        • It depends on the field, too. An English major once told me, after graduating and deciding not to be a writer: "The first three years of an English degree they teach you all the rules. The fourth year, they teach you not to follow them because they're just for beginners."

          Feynman talks about that in physics lectures; the first few years they teach the students a bunch of stuff that isn't really true, it is just a simplification that is useful. So naturally in a field where it is required to go to graduate sc

          • IMO, if you just presume you don't know shit and always look things up, you'll operate as if you knew what you were doing. It isn't enough to read the manual once; the manual should be kept open while doing the work.

            Indeed. The manual, the instructions, the job specifications, the prints... why on earth would those be the final option, that you would only consider consulting after exhausting all others?

            Regarding the manual or instructions specifically, what must be the makeup of your hubris that you believe the manufacturer would be unlikely to know something you do not?

            • Regarding the manual or instructions specifically, what must be the makeup of your hubris that you believe the manufacturer would be unlikely to know something you do not?

              Nope, I didn't say anything about that. So I can't help you there.

              • Pardon. The 2nd statement was a general reflection on the behavioral tendencies of humankind, not at all about you.

                Some folks would attempt all alternative options of putting a project together, including trial and error, before reading the directions.

          • by HuguesT ( 84078 )

            Sorry you don't know what a Postdoc is.

            Nobody in academia lands an academic job right after their PhD. After their graduation, young doctors who want to continue into academia go to a different lab, where they continue to do research, publish, teach and so on. They are supposed to learn the techniques of the new lab and to spread the ones of the old lab in the new place. Usually a Postdoc salary is OK. It is typically twice that of a PhD student. Usually a Post-doc position is quite nice.

            After a couple of y

    • Yes, it is the same sort of distorted thinking (often shown in the media) that being a victim of crime somehow makes you an expert in criminology, social problems and what to do about them, when really you are just an expert (perhaps) in how the event impacted your your life.

      Abstractly, it is the inappropriate projection of a local value into a global context, I am good at A therefore I am good at A...Z

      However being famous and rich does not mean that you cannot be competent across a diverse range of
      • However being famous and rich does not mean that you cannot be competent across a diverse range of topics, therefore we cannot dismiss people's opinions on the grounds that they are "just some guy who manage to climb up on the biggest soap box", we need to consider the value of their arguments without personalizing the issue.

        I'll buy that. It's just that I don't suppose we're much in danger of underestimating the opinions of the folks who already have a pulpit from which to preach.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @08:12AM (#51692653)

    While acknowledging that there's not yet any independent, large-scale research to show personalized learning's effectiveness, Zuck argues that "the model just intuitively makes sense."

    All sorts of things "just make sense" that are actually completely wrong when objectively examined. That's why we do experiments to see if they actually work before rolling them out in a big way. Basing policy on a hunch is REALLY stupid unless you have no other choice and this is not one of those times where we have no other choice. Maybe he's in the test phase but it sure doesn't sound like an experiment. It's annoying how Zuckerberg (and Gates) thinks that because he was successful in software that it somehow qualifies him to be something more than a bank account for areas of endeavor where he demonstrably has no special expertise or insight. At least Gates no longer has a day job so conceivably he has the time to actually devote to the details of these issues. There is no way Zuckerberg actually has enough time to really do much more than parrot what the people he hired are telling him.

    • by duiwel ( 1758406 )
      We're pretty much experimenting with our kids education every day. Common Core has been a miserable disaster and it was a large-scale, government run, "scientifically backed" curriculum deployment. Unfortunately the funding isn't there, teachers don't understand the rules and guidelines, kids are most certainly not picking up on the material in any sort of ground-breaking way, and parents are upset and frustrated. You can't form a single education plan and universally apply it to 50 million children. Wi
      • We're pretty much experimenting with our kids education every day.

        That doesn't mean we're experimenting with the policies surrounding their education every day at a regional, state or national level. Changes come slowly in education for the most part.

        Common Core has been a miserable disaster and it was a large-scale, government run, "scientifically backed" curriculum deployment.

        Since Common Core has only been in operation for a few years it's a little premature to declare it a "miserable disaster". I'm not arguing for or against it but I think it's going to take a little while to really determine if it works or not. My guess is that if it ultimately works it's going to take a while to work the ki

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          When "Common Core" is all that gets taught, then it *is* the "Common Plan". And when it's all they are evaluated on, it's all that will get taught (except for rare exceptions).

          So far it has not been a good thing. I've been quite upset by pretty much ALL of the educational changes that have happened since I was in high school. And I can tell you what they were ALL about: Centralized Control. Every change has progressively removed control from teachers, and now even administrators, and placed it at a fur

    • Hey, being rich automatically makes you an expert on everything, just ask Donald Trump...
      • It gives you a pulpit, for sure, and DJ Trump is proof don't always have to appeal to, er, appealing ideas.

        In other news, post response to the front page box is not working on the Slashdot. I know this space exploration thing is big, really big, but can we get someone on that??

      • Drumpf is just another bankrupt idiot who can't manage his finances.

        He's filed for bankruptcy four times.

        Being a successful business leader is at least different than being a rich kid who failed at business and then got a good job as a TV actor.

    • You're assuming the current state (public education with a uniform curriculum) is the default state and thus the burden of proof is upon other forms of education to prove their superiority.

      The correct default state is actually no education. And the burden of proof is upon all forms of education to prove their level of effectiveness. I'd further hypothesize that public education was widely adopted as the norm not because it was proven most effective at teaching, but because it was most cost-effective.
      • You're assuming the current state (public education with a uniform curriculum) is the default state

        That would be correct. Any changes are going to be from the current state and any change that results in a regression or stagnation in performance or performance/cost should be rejected.

        The correct default state is actually no education.

        Nonsense. This isn't drug testing where we are comparing against a placebo to see if it has any effect. Any change to the educational system that doesn't improve on what we already have (cost and/or outcomes) is wasteful. To disprove the null hypothesis requires that a given change (say customized curriculums) will result

    • 1) The current system was put into place without widespread testing of different possible educational systems.
      2) Widespread testing has shown that the standard mainstream system of teaching is unsuitable for some students.
      3) You have no widespread testing to prove any of your statements or conclusions are reasonable.
      4) You have no idea what Gates or Zuckerberg's daily work life and schedules are, or who does what planning for them.
      5) Basing opinions on a hunch is REALLY stupid unless you have no other choic

  • by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @08:26AM (#51692687) Homepage
    The problem with 40+ years old studies on computer aided learning is the computing lanscape has changed so much since then they are mostly irrelevant. Even the University of Illinois at Urbana is making the shift offering on-line education.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The problem with 40+ years old studies on computer aided learning is the computing lanscape has changed so much since then they are mostly irrelevant. Even the University of Illinois at Urbana is making the shift offering on-line education.

      Online is personalized expect in the simplest of senses; i.e. you get to chose your pace but the content and flow is the same for everyone.

      To me, personalized learning requires some degree of tailoring the material to the student; and therein lies the challenge. Doing that get expensive quickly, and we have shown time and time again a lack of willingness to invest in education.

      The one area I have seen personalized learning is in special education, where teachers create individualized instruction plans of re

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I've had some personalized learning in the past, when I was studying Japanese. The teacher set out the material to be learned but then offered a variety of ways to learn it. I could choose examples that gave context to help me remember stuff, while others preferred to work more with a dictionary and theory. In the end a few of us got A grades by studying in different ways and ultimately taking the exact same exams (oral, aural and the big written one).

    • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @08:57AM (#51692795) Homepage
      And if you read the WP article, you know why: To save on teaching staff. The head count of the teachers at universities and other educational institutions has stagnated since decades, but enrollment has exploded, and so has administrative staffing (and the wages for the administrational staff).

      It's not because online education is inherently better, it's because you can offer the same course material to more people without investing into more buildings, additional positions for teachers and mentors or any other infrastructure that actuallyhelps the students. No one cares if it profits the single student, as long as you can profit from more students.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      There is also recent research showing that things like online learning aren't really very good. Universities are implementing it anyway because they're run by business people (like Zuck and Gates) and it's highly profitable, dirt cheap, and in demand. None of those things mean it's effective.

    • by sootman ( 158191 )

      40 years ago was 1976. The Apple 1 kit was introduced April 1, 1976. So any paper published was most likely written before the authors even knew of its existence. I'm pretty sure no Apple 1s wound up in schools. The Apple II was still a year away. Yeah, things have changed just a bit since then.

      • by sootman ( 158191 )

        My kingdom for an "edit" button! (Or, more brains.) The papers linked in TFS were from December 1975 and January 1976. So yeah, I'm not saying they need to be totally discarded, but we have tools commonly available now that were nearly unimaginable back then. I mean, it's possible that someone once said "wouldn't it be great if you could have a searchable electronic encyclopedia that fit in your pocket?" but I don't know how long they figured that would take to actually happen or if they accounted for that

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Intuition is not data and it's usually wrong. You should know better than this Zuck...

    • As the good Dr. Feynman noted: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool."

      That's the trouble with 'intuitive' solutions. Not only are they unreliable; unlike other lousy sources of data, they are unreliable and emotionally compelling.
  • What bothers me about "personalized" learning is that at some point, these people will need to interact with others, so there must be commonality. Being able to communicate and share ideas is absolutely vital- and the language behind the ideas and how they are represented are a vital aspect of the idea itself. Personalization may help an individual, but it can hurt in the collective sense, where the people must work with the ideas of others.

    • Zuckerberg is right that personalized learning makes sense, he is also wrong. The problem is that when he uses "personalized learning", he means that WHAT is being taught is being personalized AND that is a mistake. The most effective way to teach each person is specific to that person (although many people are close enough that they can be taught using common methods). However, as a society, we need everyone (or the overwhelming majority at least) to know many of the same things. In particular, we need to
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        "The most effective way to teach each person is specific to that person"

        There's actually very little evidence to support that assertion either. Learning styles, for example, are basically an invention that people thought sounded truthy but has no scientific support.

        • I take it the science says that everyone can be taught using the exact same methods? I really have to question that since the science says that people learn by positive and negative reinforcement. I know that different people regard different things as positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.
      • In particular, we need to share a common culture (which includes things like having read the same books and viewed the same artworks).

        That isn't just wrong, it is dangerous and scary. Plus it is total crap; people in this culture don't read, and they "art" means pop music. No, I don't need to read the same books as them. It is better if we each read the books we want. Maybe that could be a culture? Oh, wait, it already is my culture! Glad I learned it somehow, while reading all the wrong books and looking at all that old art most people don't bother with.

    • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

      Well, you have failbook to communicate and share ideas. Right, mr. Zuck?
      We'll just personalize it more, just give us all your details and presto! personalized learning.

    • Personalized learning doesn't mean private learning. It does not imply separating the children, or keeping ones working on the same subject from doing it together. Those are hand-wavy inanities.

      Montessori does personalized learning, for example. And the kids interact more than in traditional schools. Locally, we have numerous different "alternative education" schools that all do more personalized learning, and they all also put more emphasis on cooperation. It may be that the very process of personalization

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @09:00AM (#51692813) Homepage

    You can't effectively teach 1-10th grade math in the same class. So we age-tier because we think that's a reasonable approximation of skill-tier or just to split it up so you've had all the parts of the curriculum. Or think why you have divisions in leagues, you learn by playing roughly equal levels with a few better, a few worse than yourself but if you're just trivially beating them or being crushed you learn nothing. That doesn't mean I think individual learning is the one true answer, you learn a lot of valuable lessons explaining and being explained to, cooperating, correcting each other and so on. But ideally you'd do that with your peers in skill.

    If you have some time dedicated to working individually it'd be a lot easier to create a dynamic, personalized schedule where you are in peer groups with others of comparable skill. Today it's mostly impossible to say follow the class of the grade above you because then you have something else, either you must jump a year in every subject or you're pretty much stuck where you are. Of course there's also other concern like like a stable social group you can develop inter-personal relations and skills with but it's not like you exclusively played with those in your class anyway. In the pauses between classes you'd play with other kids anyway.

    • In my public schools many years ago we didn't divide things up by grade but by lesson, so for example a math class would have people from 3 different grades in it; and maybe one younger prodigy.

      In English it had the effect that I was never taught most of the fake rules, because I could already correctly pick out the incorrect sentences on the standardized tests. Comprehension meant that I would skip over big parts of the lesson plan. Thank goodness, most of those "rules" aren't even part of the English lang

  • If we forgive him that he did not see and thus did not know that it existed, all others should be forgiven that we did not know he (or others) patented anything.

    And if the 40 years is a too long time, then perhaps we should be forgiven for things we copy illegally after say 14 years.

    If he just did not read it; then perhaps he should understand that his terms of joining FB are not read and thus null and void.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @09:21AM (#51692885) Journal

    I find that personalized meal service - where you provide your specific preferences and dislikes, along with any allergy information and your personal weight and fitness goals, is by far the most effective way to enjoy your meal and maximize your health. In fact, as a billionaire, its the only way I can see to get and keep everyone healthy. It just takes some planning and seed funding to create a few proof-of-concept restaurants that can do just that. After that it should be simple to, for example, provide the exact same personalized service to the entire deployed military forces for their daily meals.

    • The funny part is that if those meals were being prepared by computerized machines, it might be trivial to provide each soldier a customized meal.

      In the olden days, if I wanted to produce a photo calendar, I had to buy 5000 copies because they had to do a bunch of work to set up a press. Then JIT printing presses became a thing, and that evaporated; now they don't have to change anything at all physically, they just insert a print job in their queue and I can order 5, 50, or 5000 no problem!

      I absolutely exp

  • In my own experience, I benefited from moving beyond my peers in mathematics and in language. I could definitely see a tiered learning, where the tiers were broken down by ability and/or subject and not arbitrary age. We constantly test our students, so why not make those tests actually mean something? Then, you get your high school diploma when you actually are able to demonstrate proficiency with the subjects and you're not held back going over subjects that you've already "mastered" just because of yo

    • That's my biggest problem with making college available to everyone. If college is available for everyone, a 4 year degree is the new high school diploma... Just more expensive and 4 years of not-working later. We already make a high school education available for free to everyone. And we had to lower the standards for graduation to the point where a high school diploma is worthless. How low will we make the college degree standards until everyone can get one and one will be required for minimum wage jobs?

      • Uuhhhhh... the minimum wage jobs are being replaced with robots. Sorry about that. My personalized recommendation for your lesson plan is to read Player Piano, by Kurt Vonnegut.

        If these 18 year old children stay in college, they get closer to adulthood before they're foisted on the world with nothing to occupy their time. Also, "free college" doesn't make everybody want to go to "college." A lot of the colleges that would be attended would be also known as "trade schools." A significant percent of the peopl

  • from Wikipedia:
    "Helen Adams Keller ... was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. ... The story of how Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker."

    There are numerous examples, probably even in your community,

  • While acknowledging that there's not yet any independent, large-scale research to show personalized learning's effectiveness, Zuck argues that "the model just intuitively makes sense." But just days later, Fordham University professor Mark Naison wrote in the Washington Post about why the personalized learning efforts of 'a growing number of those with investment capital seeking profitable outlets,' ...

    So did the theories of a flat Earth being the center of the Universe at one time. Seems to me like this Zucker just wants to teach people what's useful to him and his profit-seeking, investment-capital buddies. There are benefits to (a) a common educational base and (b) a well-rounded one - at least as a base.

  • Homeschoolers have been delivering "personalized education" for many years. Everything from choosing a complete curriculum and allowing the student to proceed at their own pace, to developing a completely custom curriculum from various sources.

    My own child participates in a program called "Classical Conversations" which provides a large chunk of the curriculum, and there are weekly sessions with a small group. Math we are doing via an online course.

    FWIW, my child is sixth grade aged, and is doing 7th+ grade

  • When I was misdiagnosed as being mentally retarded due to an undiagnosed hearing loss in one ear, I spent eight years in Special Ed classes. What personalize learning meant in that context was that the teachers babysat the students and the school district collected the extra money from the state. That was the late 1970's and early 1980's. Since I wasn't mentally retarded (I blew out the annual evaluation exams on the genius side, which the teachers called statistical flukes), I was regarded as being a well-

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      The converse is that I consistently tested with very high results. Really, I just test well and learning (comprehension, not memory) was rather difficult for the first half of my life.

    • Sorry about your experience. I came so close to your fate, but I guess I was lucky. Well, maybe.

      In 2nd grade when I got bored with their stupid slow lesson plan, they transferred me to Special Ed. The teacher there was actually a lot brighter than the other teachers. She quickly assessed my real problem and sent me back. Actually, at the time it was a bit traumatic; the Special Ed kids were a lot nicer, I'd have preferred to stay there and be able to read without being harassed. ;) I felt totally rejected t

      • by creimer ( 824291 )

        [...] the Special Ed kids were a lot nicer, I'd have preferred to stay there and be able to read without being harassed.

        During the second grade I was sent off to a regular class for reading. No one explained to me why I was being banished to this other class for an hour each day. Special Ed class had ten kids, but a regular class had 30 kids. It was an overwhelming experience and I brawled my head off. The teachers gave up after a week. I had a college-level reading comprehension when I graduated the eighth grade, which allowed me to skip high school and go into community college. Until I started my technical career, I had t

  • I think that one benefit to personalized learning that is often overlooked is the transparent and clear assignments.

    My high schooler was lost in his math and English classes and it was impossible for us as parents to help him at home. The teachers did not use the on-line system at their disposal to share upcoming assignments and due dates. Assignments were only posted on line after the due date and with no information as to what the assignment was.

    Upon moving him into on-line classes for English and Mat

  • I don't know if this example strictly falls under the category of "personalized learning", but the best learning experience I ever had was in my Navy "A" school, that is, the school where I learned my job specialty; in this case, aviation electronics technician. Considering I began in late 1980, the way this learning system worked was pretty advanced.

    I don't know the specifics of how the program was developed, but I believe the Navy, working with engineers at IBM, created the system. They took your person

    • I went to MM A school in late 1972. We had workbooks and daily lectures with a test on Friday. Anyone who failed was gone on Monday. If you maintained an A average you didn't have to stand guard duty. I loved my A average. After the last test of the course I was offered a chance to attend nuclear power school. To this day I regret that I declined.

      The course work for rate advancement was self paced study books. After six years I made 2nd class. I wasn't good with the military part of being in the Navy but I

  • by MrKrillls ( 3858631 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @10:38AM (#51693401)
    This will be one more poorly thought out wild faddish lurch in educational policy, to the detriment of kid's education. I don't mean that PL is bad or wrong, but that this, like most changes in education will be introduced in a way that will tend toward failure. There's a long list of essentially good ideas that have been horribly botched by taking them to Broadway before the bumps and wrinkles in the script have been ironed out. The smart way to eventually get to an eventual large scale educational change is to start small with testing in very small pilot projects, iterating them independently until one or several paths to good outcomes, and just as importantly, paths to avoid, are identified. And then, scale up to bigger pilot projects. New issues will probably pop up at a new scale, and then after really seeing how it works, and IF it works, really scale up. But that requires long term, realistic planning and leadership that can look out to the horizon. A scarce resource. In the meantime, most investment should remain in iterative improvements in the mainstream - getting and creating more qualified teachers - through better training and for the most difficult disciplines, math, physics science, extending the budget to get people who really know, love and can teach hard to teach subjects. People love to flog "the new math" and Common Core, but if you look at content and intent, they are excellent ideas, but both needed radically different introduction, and needed a lot of the wrinkles sorted out. I was one of the few lucky kids who truly benefited from "the new math". I had good teachers who "got it", who had a fair grasp on sets and modular math and and .... at an elementary level. When I hit those topics later, I wasn't lost. It all made sense.
  • get their education? Yes, probably I can google it to find out but my feeling is these smart guys and others were well educated (reading, writing, math, organizing, critical thinking, managing, etc.) but it didn't come from many of these whiz-bang concepts they are promoting (it didn't exist for them). I see it as they got a good education during their childhood/teenager years so they immediately able to absorb high level college courses (unlike many of us had to struggle at JC to catch up of what we didn't

  • as a bleriot is to a 787. Same underlying principles, but far richer and more integrated means. Yes, there are 40 year old papers discussing the merits of 512x512 graphics and air powered microfiche, but we're a bit beyond that. Mostly in the increasing symmetry between consumption and creation by learners. Educational resources are commodities. Textbooks, videos, eBooks, etc. are available from a wide array of providers. Ditto the wrappers - blackboard, canvas, edx, etc... The wrappers are now also
  • I'd use conventional classes, but have about seven for speed (up to +/- 3 standard deviations from normal speed of learning) by seven for style of learning, producing 49 classes per subject at any given level. I'd abandon the notion of years entirely and allow people to slip between classes freely. The reason for slippage is not just so that a person can throttle up/down their learning, but it's also because some people are excellent support for others that aren't necessarily in the same stream. You have to

  • Where in the world did we get this insane notion that education should be totally or even primarily outsourced to someone else in a building down the road a ways?

    School in its various incarnations is a useful tool, but children learn *everywhere*, all the time. So do adults, if they are paying attention.

    How about we focus our efforts on using the best available tools for the right jobs, and stop expecting "somebody else" to do all the hard parts?

    Raising kids "right" starts before they're even conceived, and

  • I just want a personal copy of "A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer".

    Even if I'm not young, or a lady.

  • Four Reasons to Worry About “Personalized Learning”

    By Alfie Kohn

    Tocqueville’s observations about the curious version of democracy that Americans were cultivating in the 1830s have served as a touchstone for social scientists ever since. One sociologist writes about the continued relevance of what Tocqueville noticed way back then, particularly the odd fact that we cherish our commitment to individualism yet experience a “relentless pressure to conform.” Each of us can do what h

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