“Personalized learning is not about relationships with content, it’s about relationships with people.”
February marks my one-year anniversary at Epiphany Learning and serves as a great launching point for my first blog post. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my year in edtech. What have I learned? Honestly, too much to list. But, one thing that stands out is my shift in perspective. Over the last year, personalized learning mentors and thought leaders have challenged me to consider different perspectives and question everything! Keep reading as I share some of my key observations.
Teachers that have taken the leap into personalized learning technology are excited to share their stories; their experiences inspire me to continually improve our application. The introduction of personalized learning technology allows a teacher to transition away from command and control classroom techniques into a flexible, collaborative, and often gloriously chaotic environment where passionate, life-long learning is cultivated. Teaching is no longer focused on subject matter expertise within a single discipline, but rather the opportunity to coach and mentor all disciplines.
This was a simple and powerful moment for me. I was attending a tour of a local school that uses Epiphany Learning. The principal was describing a student that was unable to sit still in his chair and was always making the chair squeak as he moved around. A teacher was brainstorming on positive behavioral methods to encourage sitting quietly and, instead, the principal proposed they simply discard the chair. The problem wasn’t the student moving, the problem was a noisy chair. Problem solved.
If we build a safe, engaging learning community with high standards, students will rise to the occasion. Classrooms should be comfortable and accommodating for all learning styles. Topics should be timely, challenging and varied. Learners should be expected to contribute to the content. The collective student voice should shape each and every day.
Although there is often considerable attention placed on predictive analytics and content, I’m reminded with each conversation that personalized learning technology is ultimately about human connection. It’s about building relationships, collaborating and being recognized for individual contribution and talent.
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned in 2015. I’ve grown personally and professionally over the last year and I appreciate the opportunities to talk with thought leaders and tour reimagined classrooms. I don’t know what great things are in store for me in 2016, but I’m humbled, excited and ready for the next perspective!
Author: Patricia Kilburn
Patricia is a technologist immersed in all things software for the past 16 years, and the Director of Design & Delivery at Epiphany Learning. As a mom of two young boys, she is passionate about the subject of personalized learning. Patricia is dedicated to developing an application that has a meaningful impact on modern learning, while building authentic relationships with the teachers and students who use it.
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