Our notion of personalized learning, by contrast, is focused on enabling powerful relationships and shared experiences between people — between teachers and students as well as students with their peers, each empowered by learning opportunities with fewer boundaries and much more intensive support. Technology can support great teaching and has the potential to help individualize learning experiences in ways and at a scale that Bloom could not have imagined in the 1980s. But it is still just a tool. The heart and soul of education remains about great practitioners working lovingly and skillfully to create the environments and experiences that truly change lives.
Skeptics of personalized learning will argue that it’s not a proven strategy — by which they mean that the field has not produced a single set of strategies that work on a wide scale. To some extent, that’s true. There are pieces that are having encouraging impact, powered by great schools, great teachers, and great tools. But the work of bringing those pieces together, and of helping everyone learn much faster from what’s working — that’s the work we’re committed to continuing and much of it lies ahead.