Are we personalizing learning… or isolating our school children even more?

Here’s an interesting topic to think about.

After years of everyone pushing technology on students as the solution for improving education, even in rural South Dakota, school threats are becoming commonplace, and we bemoan bullying and lack of interpersonal skills in our students.

In our own universities, interpersonal skills are an issue that colleges are starting to take up as a serious issue for students. Some even blame the focus on social media and the on-line world versus using basic interpersonal skills as why people are becoming more and more ‘snowflakey,’ and less tolerant of differing views of others.

My wife (Dr. Michelle Powers), who is an assistant professor at Augustana and recently completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership, is starting to research whether there is actually any quality evidence on personalized learning, actually asking the “why” as opposed to the “why not” that’s been accepted for years:

But in the midst of all the excitement, there’s little strong evidence that classroom technology, including personalized learning, is improving educational outcomes. A 2015 report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development found that countries that invested heavily in computer technology for schools showed “no appreciable improvements” in reading, math or science, and that technology “is of little help in bridging the skills divide between advantaged and disadvantaged students.”


For France, the turning point came one morning when he looked around a kindergarten classroom, “and the kids were staring at their tablets, engrossed by them. And I’m thinking to myself, ‘They could be building with blocks, they could be doing a number of different things that are more meaningful that also build social and emotional skills but they’re choosing not to. Why? Because the tool is so addictive, that’s all they want to do.’”

Here’s the link for the article.

What do you think? Do we need to consider getting back to people working and learning together?

4 Replies to “Are we personalizing learning… or isolating our school children even more?”

  1. Springer

    I would agree that less technology would be better. It isn’t even kids either. I recently was on a trip with my sisters, both of which automatically picked up their smart phones too often instead of visiting or playing cards etc. I prefer my dumb phone because I know I’d probably do the same if I had a smart phone.

    But I believe it is more important for kids to run, jump, play outside, play games etc, with each other to develop social skills andjust be kids.

  2. Anonymous

    Many parents in Silicon Valley send their children to schools that reject technology. One article states, “The tech-free teaching methods are designed to foster a lifelong love of learning and teach students how to concentrate deeply and master human interaction, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.” -education news. org

    Funny isn’t it, the creators of Google, Twitter, FB refuse to allow their children screen time, but push it onto our children.

  3. Anonymous

    Is Silicon Valley undermining democracy and ushering in a dystopian hellscape? Are big tech companies creating powerful influence machines to control minds and destroy free will? Is the industry creating a tiny ruling class? Consistently, tech executives refuse to let their kids use social media and the internet and often install monitoring devices and ways to assure that nannies and schools abide by their concerns.

  4. Anonymous

    Look at how fast we adopted unevidenced common core and where we ended up… I agree, lower level grades should be slowly introduced but they’re on iPads alot of their day… Not to mention the continuous radiation/rays (or whatever the proper term is for the signals going to and fro each device…).


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