Kelly is an educator who deeply believes that every learner is unique and has gifts, talents, and a vantage point that the world desperately needs. As a teacher and technology integration specialist, she saw that no two students learn at exactly the same moment and in exactly the same way. Yet, the curriculum used in schools treated students as if they were a homogenous group. Kelly felt a sense of urgency to restore humanity to learning, to recognize the individual, the student-with-a-name. To make personalized learning a reality for every child.
Kelly left the classroom in 2010 because of auto-immune disorders. In that year, away from the classroom, she consulted for a variety of schools and saw that the learning didn't differ widely from school to school. All were using the same types of boxed curriculum. All were one-size-fits-all. It is in this year that the Learning Genome Project was born. This is our story...
Why can't learning be personalized the way music is?
Kelly worked to help schools better utilize and integrate technology into the curriculum. One day, as she was creating a curriculum supplement guide, a song came on Pandora that she had never heard before. She had a true tech geek moment: How incredible that we have technology where we can input just one piece of data (a song we like) and it can accurately create a playlist of music you'll enjoy based on that one song!
And she wondered, "why can't learning be personalized the way music is?"
PANDORA IS THE: MUSIC GENOME PROJECT
Pandora Internet Radio was based on the Human Genome Project which maps DNA. The Music Genome Project maps music. The Music Genome identifies 400+ attributes of music, each song gets tagged by music experts with these attributes. Pandora is able to create customized playlists based on songs tagged with similar attributes.
... Learning has attributes. Perhaps the learning experience could be personalized. Perhaps we could build a Learning Genome.
AN IDEA BORN: THE LEARNING GENOME PROJECT
How can teachers, parents, and students be empowered to become engineers of learning? How can we recognize humanity and provide each unique individual the exact resources and guidance they need at the exact moment they are needed?
BEGIN WITH THE INDIVIDUAL
You can't personalize the learning experience without first knowing the learner. The student-with-a-name. The Learning Genome Project begins with the individual by building a Learner Profile. It takes into account learning preferences, multiple intelligence strengths, brain dominance, interests, passions, social/emotional maturation, school environment and a host of other factors that make up an individual.
INDIVIDUAL LEARNING PLANS
To fully realize personalized learning, it is essential that each student have a learning plan, a map that has been created specifically for them. Learning goals are selected with the student and are easily accessed by teachers, parents and students.
At the core of the Learning Genome is a platform that aggregates resources. Using a series of algorithms, these resources are matched to the students they best serve. Combined with an inquiry-based learning map, the core of the Learning Genome creates those serendipitious moments of finding exactly the right learning tools and resources at just the right time to meet the needs of the learner.
The Learning Genome Project is a living curriculum. It is a dynamic learning environment that provides the conditions for rich learning.
Looking for funding...
Kelly began an Indiegogo campaign in 2011 in an attempt to provide a working prototype, of the Learning Genome. Although the Indiegogo campaign wasn't the financial footing hoped for, it did an incredible job of introducing fans, investors and supporters to the Learning Genome Project.
As Kelly met with various investors, schools, and education leaders she began to recognize that there was no model of education ready for this level of personalization. That the school system has been structured around a one-size-fits-all model to educate the masses. Kelly realized that without major re-thinking, the system is simply not equipped to focus on the individual, the student-with-a-name.
We need a new model.
Kelly Wondered: What would that model look like?
Kelly began dreaming about what that model could look like publicly on her blog, Dreams of Education.