From our civilisation’s humble beginnings: a child ancestor learning how to hunt from the village elders; to a prince learning how to write and read Egyptian hieroglyphics from an elite instructor; to a curious 21st century child tinkering with an iPad and in the process learning new things on his or her own; changes made in educational technology are continuously shaping our civilisation’s progress. Knowledge is power, and the way knowledge is transferred from generation to generation is vital for us humans to survive and thrive.
In this Information Age comes the benefit of using computers: elearning in conjunction with traditional educational systems. With such an abundance of knowledge at hand, why is it that many students are still having a hard time? Is our current educational system at fault? Is there a need to change it?
Foundation for Young Australians CEO Jan Owen AM Hon DLitt observed that Australia’s education system is stagnating at best, heading backwards at worst. More and more people argue that the current system of education needs a major overhaul and needs radical changes implemented to bring it up to the 21st century style of education. One such edtech alternative that promises much is Personalised Learning.
Personalised Learning in its core takes into account the learning pace and capacity of each learner. This is useful since Australia is becoming more ethnically and culturally diverse. Gonski report noted that there is an unacceptable link between low levels of achievement and educational disadvantage, particularly among students from low socioeconomic and Indigenous backgrounds. Letting each learner set their own pace and getting them involved in what educational path they take makes the education system more of a collaboration rather than a competition. This aims to shift the focus from scoring high in standardised tests and evaluation to acquiring mastery of skills that the learner will use in the future workspace.
Personalised learning doesn’t mean we’ll do away with teachers altogether and replace them with computers: rather, it challenges the teacher to take on the role of a mentor instead of just being a lecturer. With effective teacher tools at hand, educators need not fear for the internet safety of their students during their elearning sessions.
Personalised learning aims to make education more organic and less formulaic. It eliminates the notion that schools are factories forcing students into one size fits all molds. Individuality is then recognised and students are nourished to grow and prosper with their innate talents and abilities.
As a student was once quoted, “I don’t just want content, I need to know what to do with my learning in the real world”.