March 15, 2007

Individualized Education - Start with Homework?

My son would love this explanation of center of mass; his AP Physics buddy might jump to this one. My son would love his center of mass homework to work on maximizing his bunny hops; his pool-loving classmate might prefer to simulate billiards.
These are oversimplified examples of individualizing education, but just in tutoring our two kids over the years, I’ve seen how much better some approaches are for each learning style. For example, do I start with a big picture visual, show examples, and then explain? Or outline the specific steps, and then generalize the concept later?

A baby step towards individualized education may be creating custom search engines for different learning styles, levels, and interests. Combine that with the content tagging, syndication and personalization trends you see in services like digg, youtube, and delicious, and we could have a pretty good resource quickly. And ideally, making it easy to create and syndicate great material that’s used and rated around the world would encourage the celebration of “rock star” teachers. It’s worth a prototype.

p.s. – while experimenting with digg’s syndication, I posted a list of schools focused on dyslexia that I wish we’d had when we were looking.