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Monday Musings: Personalized Learning

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog
I love seeing signals that optimistic scenarios of the future are coming true. One of my favorite bright stories of the future is the “Vibrant Learning Grid” in the KnowledgeWorks 2020 Forecast on education. In that scenario, developed in 2011, “with the help of diverse personal education advisors, learners assemble their own personal learning ecologies to support their individual learning pathways.”  
Well lookee what I read in the Brattleboro Reformer last Friday:
Which says (slightly paraphrased): “The Vermont Agency of Education launched a website last week to help schools, students and parents prepare personalized learning plans.  Based on legislation passed last year, each student eventually will develop a personalized learning plan that matches their career interests and aspirations with their learning, which could include internships and college courses.”
The story profiles Abby Trombley, a high school sophomore who has put together her own personalized learning experience that includes classes at the University of Vermont and a “shadow job” with an orthopedic surgeon. (You can read more about the Vermont PLPs here.)
In my talk at Museums Advocacy Day 2013—Museums are the Future of Education—I riffed on the KnowledgeWorks scenario, envisioning how museums could be part of a Vibrant Learning Grid, relied on by many learners assembling their personalized plans. And now, in Vermont, maybe this will come true sooner rather than later. As a kid, I put together my own “personalized learning plan,” the most important component of which was volunteering at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. I hope that Vermont’s innovative educational policy will lead the way into a future in which many more learners consider a museum to be their “school.”
So–American Museum of Fly Fishing, Bennington Museum, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, Middlebury College Museum of Art and Robert Hull Fleming Museum*–I’m lookin’ at you!
*these are Accredited museums in the Vermont. Not to ignore all the other wonderful museums in the Green Mountain State, just that there are too many to list here.
I can’t resist closing this KnowledgeWorks video, in which futurist Jamais Cascio plays the role of a “Learning Agent in Action” in 2025.
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  1. As a high school history teacher and administrator, I am very interested in this concept, but wonder at the percentage of input from each player. For example, mom and dad want Jane to be a doctor, while Jane wants to be an artist and guidance counselor wants Jane to take more higher level math because the state requires higher level math testers for statewide assessments. How are these Personalized Learning Plans weighted and administered?


  2. I'm excited to hear about this legistlation! Requiring every student to have a personalized learning plan is a great step toward creating the interest-driven, radically personalized learning ecosystem toward which future trends are pointing.

  3. Absolutely awesome. This needs to get support and attention so others want to mimic it. Abagail makes a good point, I'm guessing it's still in early development stages so a lot could still change or take form about the method for developing these plans.

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