Personalized Learning for Every Student: How 2 Very Different School Systems Pursued a District-Wide Strategy

Beth Hawkins:

The buzz that attends to personalized learning these days is inevitably followed by a little potential buzzkill. Can the model, in which students follow their own academic path at their own speed, work on a large scale?

By definition, personalized learning is idiosyncratic, and common wisdom has held that because of their flexibility, public charter schools have the advantage when it comes to using technology as a tool to engage each student according to their passions. School districts, the supposition has been, are too rigid to easily enable truly individualized learning.

A RAND Corp. study released earlier this week came to no firm conclusion on this point, though it jibed with past reports on the elements and school settings in which personalized learning seems to flourish. With this in mind, the study’s authors suggested that anyone hoping to take a look at early, district-wide implementation turn to three distinct school systems: Piedmont, Alabama; Georgia’s Fulton County; and Horry County, South Carolina.