How Individualized Learning Leverages Technology for Deeper Learning: What School Could Be in Hawai’i

This is an episode from Josh Reppun’s “What School Could Be in Hawai’i,” a podcast on the people, technology and methodologies pushing the mantle of education in the 50th state. This episode features an interview with Susannah Johnson, the founder of Individualized Realized, an education consultancy.

Susannah Johnson is the founder of Individualized Realized, an education consultancy aimed at meeting educators where they are – as she did in the classroom with students for thirteen years – on the path to student-centered, authentic, globally minded, and liberated learning.

In the move towards student-centered learning technology is essential for individualized learning. Over ten years developing a fully individualized program, the use of technology not only opens up learning to be multidimensional, but also for the asynchronous management of dozens of curricula. When students own their own learning, technology moves beyond learning tool to become a partner for that learning. Students use tech to plan their curricula by using calendars, templates, referring to syllabi, core standards, and even setting up meetings, interviews, and partnerships. Using technology for research, resources finding and management, collecting information in one place, sharing work for feedback, collaboration on projects, surveys and other data collection, supports individualized work.

Students use many websites, of course, but also platforms such as Google for sharing, and video, photo, and other artistic tools. One fantastic example is a student learning GLSL (a graphics programming language) in order to create digital representation of poetry because he “wanted to make a world where the graphics looked like concrete poetry.” (Poetry shaped into patterns that help convey its message.)

He followed up with a project designing a game on Unity that spoke to some philosophy concepts he was studying. The enigma of assessment in learning is made easily visible when students employ various methods of technology, as well. In future thinking for education, technology is paramount for students to learn anywhere, anytime, in a way that works best for them. Goals include a hub for cohorts of learning world wide, fostering global mindsets, and providing platforms for resources and ongoing coaching support for teachers in the name of education progress.

Podcast episodes are edited by middle school students in the Kealakehe Intermediate Hawk Media Productions program. 8th grader, Mei Kanada, is podcast post-production team leader.

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