Even though I’ve entitled this my 21st Century Educational Philosophy, many of my ideas are not new. They’ve been around for years because learning is not a new concept. The means by which individuals have attempted to reach levels of learning have varied.
From the earliest moments of systematic knowledge acquisition, Aristotle classified the pursuit of knowledge into three categories: the theoretical pursuit of truth for truth’s sake, the productive discipline of making things, and the practical discipline of making judgements. All of these disciplines point back to the individual learning for learning’s sake and transferring this knowledge into something useable that leads to action and yet guided by principles of what is good for all. Learning from that point forward encouraged the individual to pursue knowledge through inquiry that centered around the constructivist principle attaching meaning to learning outcomes or concepts. But somewhere along the way, education was restricted to the elite upper class, limiting many from accessing formal learning opportunities.
That was the past. As learning theories have swung like a pendulum over the years, we have moved into the 21st Century, and it is imperative that we base all educational philosophies upon proven theory of understanding and knowing truth (knowledge) that places the burden of learning squarely on the individual learner.
Much is being written about Personalized Learning, the 21st Century version of student-centered learning that places the learner at the centre of all learning experiences aided by technology to increase engagement. Some suggest that Personalized Learning is just another educational fad, but it has tremendous merits, for the following reasons:
- Learners developing skills, knowledge, and competencies that will benefit them in school and life,
- Outcomes and standards are established, and learners are supported in attaining these outcomes,
- Learners are supported in the construction of knowledge that links past and present knowledge with new outcomes in meaningful ways,
- Greater emphasis on literacy and numeracy skills for lifelong learning,
- Assisting learners in developing learning pathways based on intrinsic motivation that integrate personal values, interests, and goals,
- Each learner is considered unique, allowing flexibility of where, when and how they are able to learn,
- Engaging parents as an active and essential role of creating meaningful opportunities for the learner,
- Supporting teachers in their role as facilitators of learning through professional development, and Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s),
- Engage learners through technology connecting them to a world of information,
- Incorporating technology into the learning experience that embraces creativity as the highest order of thinking (illustrated below or click on link for larger view).