[community] Bill Gates - personalized learning within a decade (Reddit AMA, Mar 8)

Andrei Dacko andrei.dacko at gmail.com
Wed Mar 9 15:17:29 UTC 2016


Dear Vik, Jon and Community,

A great discussion thread. After 11 years as a K12 educator across 6
different schools (most in underserved areas) and now working on the higher
ed side I continue to lament that too much of "personalized learning" and
many of the digital solutions that supposedly are designed as personalized
learning solutions (ie algorithmic question generators etc), are in fact
not personalized at all. Sure students can engage with a program that
tailors their learning to their respective content proficiency level etc
but there is nothing personal about that experience. Interfaces are
faceless in many cases with no focus/capability around individual
aptitudes (identifying them, visualizing them etc) and certainly no focus
on a system that helps facilitate building a learning experience in support
of ones individual aptitudes as part of their unique learning journey based
on the type of learner they are.

In most cases, from a student experience standpoint, your experience is
relegated to an out of the box system that, based on a learner
proficiency baseline created by answering content specific diagnostic
questions, helps you better answer questions that are the type you see on
the final exam and ultimately help you pass the course. Further, any data
and meaningful metrics collected during any one semester using so
called "personalized learning tools" for a particular course is black-boxed
and lost after one semester of use. There is no open architecture
w capabilities built in that allows for building a learner profile over
time that can then be shared with, and provide, subsequent professors with
historical learner profile data about what type of learner their incoming
students are and a solid foundation upon which to then add too from the
current class experience.

A holistic, personalized, individualized, learning tool/system that is
course and content agnostic is the huge elephant in the room that very few
seem to be addressing (at least to my knowledge) especially at K12 levels.
When we design toward truly personalized learning tools we need to do so
with a focus on helping build a better YOU based on a baseline of what it
is that makes you, you - your aptitudes, learning style etc. This has and
continues to be my passion and focus as a beta alumnus of the MDes INCD
program and the work I do today. I would love to continue this conversation
with Jon, Vik and anyone else interested, and perhaps more so, work toward
a much more truly personalized version of personal learning tools and
supports.

Best, Andrei Dacko

On Wednesday, March 9, 2016, Hung, Jonathan <jhung at ocadu.ca> wrote:

> Hi Vik,
>
> Customized learning is the opposite of “making everybody like a cybot”.
> Customized learning will allow learners customize their learning experience
> (like their environment, learning material, and tools) to suit what how
> they learn best. This should create individual outcomes - not a uniform /
> normalized outcome.
>
> This has its challenges of course - how do learners, especially those in
> K-12, become self aware enough to understand to customize their learning?
> For example, how does one learner become aware they need more time while
> taking assessments, while another learner does better with visuals that
> accompany text?
>
> This is where the content of the TED talk you linked to comes in. By
> giving teachers the right tools, teachers would be able to get intimate
> feedback to help better understand their students in their classrooms. This
> then enables the teacher to provide individual coaching to students to help
> them learn better based on specific needs mentioned in the feedback.
>
> The YouTube video you also linked to shows a mother and child learning
> from each other - this is very much the sort of individualized, intimate
> learning environment I imagine Bill Gates would want. A teacher in our
> modern day schools with the right tools can better understand their
> students, and therefore be as empowered as a parent is on their own child.
>
> - Jon.
>
> On March 8, 2016 at 5:11:31 PM, Vik (aseedof at gmail.com <javascript:;>
> <mailto:aseedof at gmail.com <javascript:;>>) wrote:
>
> Dear Jon.,
>
> I really don’t like Bill Gates’s involvement on education. I don’t have
> the trust.
> I feel it is more like a big business plan making everybody like a cybot.
>
> After I watched his TED talk, I really afraid of the classroom.
> https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_teachers_need_real_feedback
>
> Education should be like this, not like that.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPSNguvsFk0
>
>
> Vik
> vik.drawwithme.org<http://vik.drawwithme.org>
>
>
> On 8 Mar, 2016, at 1:53 pm, Hung, Jonathan <jhung at ocadu.ca <javascript:;>
> <mailto:jhung at ocadu.ca <javascript:;>>> wrote:
>
> Bill Gates is doing an AMA (“Ask me anything”) session on Reddit and had
> this to say when asked:
>
> "You have previously said that, through organizations like Khan Academy
> and Wikipedia and the Internet in general, getting access to knowledge is
> now easier than ever. While that is certainly true, K-12 education seems to
> have stayed frozen in time.
>
> How do you think the school system will or should change in the decades to
> come?"
>
> His response:
>
> "I agree that our schools have not improved as much as we want them to.
> There are a lot of great teachers but we don't do enough to figure out what
> they do so well and make sure others benefit from that. Most teachers get
> very little feedback about what they do well and what they need to improve
> including tools that let them see what the exemplars are doing.
>
> Technology is starting to improve education. Unfortunately so far it is
> mostly the motivated students who have benefited from it. I think we will
> get tools like personalized learning to all students in the next decade.
> [Emphasis mine]
>
> A lot of the issue is helping kids stay engaged. If they don't feel the
> material is relevant or they don't have a sense of their own ability they
> can check out too easily. The technology has not done enough to help with
> this yet."
>
> See the actual quote here:
>
> https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/49jkhn/im_bill_gates_cochair_of_the_bill_melinda_gates/d0s9ids
>
> - Jon.
>
> --
>
> JONATHAN HUNG
>
> INCLUSIVE DESIGNER, IDRC
>
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>
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> E: jhung at ocadu.ca <javascript:;><mailto:jhung at ocadu.ca <javascript:;>>
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