Monday, 21 May 2012

Educational "Playlists" for our students

Imagine if learning looked like the most current playlist on your iPod.  Imagine that, like the "Genius" application on iTunes, that playlist adapted to your latest interests and input.  This is the concept behind the "customization of learning" as proposed by Tom Vander Ark in the above video.  Tom and others are exploring the possibilities of a truly personalized learning environment based on personalized digital learning.

It is their view that technology tools have finally reached the stage where they are truly accessible on devices such as tablets, for the masses.  They have piloted school environments such as the School of One where a student enters a learning space, checks the screen for his name and then sees the customized plan for that day that includes online learning as well as "Socratic seminars" and project-based learning

It seems to me that we live in a time when the sophistication of customization - particularly in an online environment - drives our daily life experiences.  Even as I compose emails throughout the day, I've noticed how the advertisements that have become completely ubiquitous on every platform, are tailored to my personal interests.  The adware highlights key words that I use throughout the day and pulls up advertisements that would most likely interest me. 

In fact, the concept is hardly new but continues to be a powerful tool for engaging people.  Think of the information gathered through all the various loyalty programs that we use - from grocery shopping to travel -  and how that information drives the consumer experience.

In the same way, as educational leaders, don't we want to be equally potent in how we engage our learners?  Fortunately, the BC Education Plan recognizes this and has engaged leaders and learners around the province to "scale up" the many smaller initiatives that seem to take place in isolation.

One technology tool that seems to effectively create interest-based playlists is Mentor Mob.  I'll leave you with their short video that explains this very cool tool.  Have a great week,