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Personalized learning and Iowa core curriculum

posted on September 16, 2009 at 5:44 PM


Judy Jeffrey talks about the future of education and how personalized learning and the Iowa core curriculum can help students learn and connect that learning to the real world. Jeffrey is the director of the Iowa Department of Education.

There is a great dea ofl dialogue going on across the United States and in this state about what should education look for now and into the future, and one of the things that we know needs to happen is we really need to become much more personalized in our learning plans for our students.  Technology can help us in ways that we're not even imaginable a few years ago because it is now possible to really track through software programs and through technology, electronic portfolios, those kinds of tools that are available, what students are learning, and perhaps we can move beyond just seat time or a time in a desk to really what have you learned and where should you go next? 

Our core curriculum is developed in that manner and Iowa is in the process of implementing that core curriculum right now.  It's developed by essential concepts and skills we expect all our students to know with many opportunities developed throughout their school career to obtain those skills and demonstrate those skills.  So, we're in the process of implementing that core curriculum. 

We also know that not only the personalized learning plan is necessary for our students, but that we have what is really called a viable curriculum.  That means that the curriculum really is meeting the needs of the student, it's very viable, it's meaningful to the teachers, and that students really feel a connection to what's being taught and what they need to learn.  It means that we've brought in real-world problems so students can see that connection to their life, to life beyond school within their families and communities so that it has much more meaning to those students.  How many times do you think students come home and "what did you learn today?"  Well, it wasn't anything that you know is very meaningful to me.

What we want to change is that they see the connection and they're involved in very real-world projects in their classroom because we know that's how learning is deepened and how it is carried over into another year, another curriculum, another place in their life.  So, we have to change how we really deepen the learning and thinking on the part of our students.  So, it's not just I learned it for a test, I can put it aside.  We're after a different kind of learning and thinking in our schools.

Tags: education educators future Iowa principals schools students teachers