Adding 2.0 Doesn’t Make It Personal

We’ve had Web 2.0, School 2.0, and a variety of other 2.0s. Now we get Blended 2.0.

According to Wikipedia, blended learning is “a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through delivery of content and instruction via digital and online media with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace”.

So what changes in the 2.0 version? Here is what the experts quoted in the article have to say:

A blended 2.0 model allows us to personalize learning at the highest level so that we can truly meet the needs of students every day.

If you define blended learning in the first iteration as a combination of technology and print then what we are seeing when you marry 2.0 personalization with the Common Core standards are more authentic activities in the classroom.

I think it would be fair to say blended learning 2.0 models are powering personalization.

It also means deeper instruction focused on projects and collaboration, says Anthony Kim, founder and CEO of Education Elements, a personalized learning company that works with districts nationwide. [all my emphasis]

However, “personalized” learning should not be confused with personal learning.

As I’ve ranted before, personalized is something done to students, not by them. Personalized learning is the traditional curriculum, broken into uniform, bite-sized pieces that are dispensed as needed by the teacher or software. Very often the packages are sold to schools by vendors promising to provide the “solution” to whatever educational problem you have. The 2.0 twist being that those packages (and testing; don’t forget the testing) are delivered over the web (teacher optional).

Although students may have some control over “time, place, path, or pace” in this model, they have no input whatsoever into the content. What they learn is entirely determined by someone else, with no consideration for their special interests or talents. The material is structured in the same way for everyone in the class (probably still chronologically grouped) and they all eventually get the same instructional program.

Which is not at all personal, only ized.