Personalising learning and collaboration

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I’ve just spent the day in Wellington at various MoE meetings – a couple of long term projects kept surfacing, the Ministry’s Personalising Learning initiative and the work of the Virtual Learning Network – both are things I’m pretty passionate about, and in an interesting way, both are inextricably linked.

writing for the national College of School Leadership in the UK, Charles Leadbetter explores the link between personalised learning and collaboration in a publication titled “The Shape of Things to Come“. I’ve found this publication very helpful in the development of my own thinking. As I’ve participated in the development of the Virtual Learning Network over the past five years the two major drivers behind its design and operation have (a) collaboration between and among schools, and (b) meeting the needs of individual students – personalisation.

Leadbetter argues that these two things go hand-in-hand, more particularly, that you cannot achieve personalisation without collaboration. The publication is free to download and well worth a read. Here are some gems:

  • The frontline learning is not the classroom, but the bedroom and the living room. Our education system’s biggest untapped resource is the children themselves.
  • Innovating a personalised learning offer will only be possible with matching organisational innovations in how schools operate. Collaboration is key to that.
  • Personalised learning schools equip children to become more active, engaged learners, able to reflect on how they learn, what they find hard or difficult, how to best express themselves.
  • Collaboration will only deliver if it becomes more radical and ambitious, It is not an attractive add-on, but a different way to do the school’s core job.
  • Collaboration can be held back by regulation, inspection and funding regimes that encourage schools to think of themselves as autonomous, stand alone units.
  • Collaboratives of schools and children’s service providers should become basic building blocks of the system: employing staff, deploying them, planning provision, making admissions, offering choice, sharing platforms and services.

Now there’s some food for thought!

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