Posted by: crudbasher | May 10, 2010

Education Will Become Personalized

I had a revelation this weekend.  I have always been fascinated by how cell phones have changed our lives without us realizing it. Here is a list I made about how things have changed.

  1. Remember before cell phones if you were with someone and you wanted to split up you had to arrange to meet back at a certain place at a certain time.
  2. If you had to call someone you had to wait until you were at a phone.
  3. If you were expecting a call from someone that was a pain because you had to wait by the phone.
  4. Long distance charges, anyone???
  5. Checking up on your teenagers!

Definitely things have changed for the better! What I realized is that something important was missing from the list. When you make a call, you are now calling a person, not a location. Think about that.  Phone numbers were always associated with locations, not really people.  In the way old day (before my time) phone numbers were not just numbers. The old Glenn Miller song “Pennsylvania 65000” was about a phone number.  With a house phone number, when you called you had to ask for who you wanted to speak with.  Do you ever call a cell phone and ask for someone?  No.  That’s because the phone is now personalized. So why did I tell this story?  Because technology allowed that personalization to take place.  Despite this, with the current school system we have no personalization at all.  Every student learns exactly the same thing in exactly the same way.  Not only that, but the origin of this system pre dates Pennsylvania 65000! I foresee an education system in the future that is personalized for each learner.  One that adapts and changes based on the person not on national standards.  Most importantly, when a student starts a personalized education process, nobody will have any idea as to how long it will take, nor where they will end up at the end. Cell phones mean phone numbers now connect to people, not places. Education should focus on people, not on places (schools).


  1. I see two distinct possibilities and I think that both may play out depending on the country and educational climate. As we learn more about UDL and differentiating instruction, we tend to see the value more in personalizing education for each student. Technology facilitates that transition more easily. The opposite is also unfortunately happening. Standardized tests, AYP, RttT, etc… all are expecting every student to master the same content and be able to demonstrate that same (superficial) mastery in the same manner. This is becoming much more prevalent. The idea of a personalized education does not seem to jive with that of an education designed around standardized testing.

    • That’s a really good point. Technology can also make it easier to gather data for powerpoint slides. Perhaps that is why this push to more standardized testing?

      I do agree completely that standardized testing is the antithesis of personalized education.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. It is amazing how quickly the telephone game changed and how seamlessly we all adapted to it. We can reach people virtually any time and any where. It is a bit mind boggling when you stop and dissect it…makes you wonder how we survived without it! I am the biggest advocate of personalized education, in a world where we can customize our computers, ringtones, and hamburgers, I think it is completely irresponsible not to customize the most basic foundation of society-education. Technology makes it so much easier to personalize education for each learner and yet we don’t tap into this. I can’t wait for the day when we look at personalized education and think back to the days prior and wonder what we were thinking.

    • Mmmmm hamburgers… Oh what did you say? 🙂 That article I found today on Forbes talks a lot about personalization. I still have a lot of trouble seeing the US public school system adapting to this radical change. I am keeping my eye on India for this kind of innovation. We will see!

  3. […] Tips for Personalized Learning via Technology | Edutopia Yesterday I wrote a post about the personalization of education.  Here is a great article I found today about an elementary […]

  4. […] Education Will Become Personalized […]

  5. […] 3. Re-aggregation. Once we have torn apart the structures that our society has been based on during the Industrial age, we will be able to reassemble them into a personalized structure that fits an individuals personal needs. It will always be changing and in flux as our lives are always changing and in flux. (see Education Will Become Personalized) […]

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