Personalized Learning. Passion Projects. Genius Hour. Google, 20% or Tinker Time. Whatever you call it, Personalized Learning is a chance for students to learn about something they are passionate about. Students pick a topic or subject matter of their choice, research it, and then produce material pertaining to the subject. It goes beyond the powerpoint and backboards of old. They are encouraged to develop their own questions and form inquiries about their passion. Personalized learning nurtures the student’s curiosity and allows them to have ownership of what they do. Each experience is tailored to the individual student’s specific interests. It boosts their confidence and allays fears. It gives back a sense of wonder to them.
While Personalized Learning focuses on the student’s interests, it may not be beneficial to dive right in. At the STEAM centers, the students are given a broad topic and a spark of an idea. This year the students have a theme of Sustainability and a general idea of creating a game to teach to other students about the theme. Beyond that, the students are encouraged to develop the game however they see fit. Is it going to be a video game? How will they code it? What about a board game? How do you win? All of these questions and many more must be answered by the student.