All too often these days, we hear certain buzz words: “personalized learning,” “individualized learning,” “customized learning.” Usually they are used all together, as in “personalized, individualized, customized learning.”
Buyer beware! What these words usually signify is that some corporation is selling a computerized learning program with pre-set questions and answers. The students will click through the questions to find out at what step they are on, until they reach the point where they get the wrong answer. Then the computer will respond with a pre-set instruction about what to do next.
Like everything else in the faux-reform vocabulary, this is the opposite of what is meant by personalized, customized, and individualized. This is mechanized teaching, with nothing individual, personalized, or custom about it. At bottom, the goal is to sell stuff to schools and make money. The hope: computers will replace teachers, won’t ever get a pension or a raise…
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