Two parents called in with two very different stories about their kids’ educational experiences. One dad said he was shocked by how academically rigorous kindergarten is these days. And a mom said her son is advanced and has been left unchallenged and bored in his classrooms.

Every kid learns at his or her own pace. They each need something different when it comes to education. Personalized learning has emerged as a response to kids’ individualized needs and their varied pace of learning. It’s a radically different educational approach that’s been gaining steam lately thanks to technology that allows teachers to better track students and provide them with personalized educational experiences.

On this week’s podcast, co-hosts Scott Lewis and Laura Kohn talk to someone who’s putting the personalized learning approach into practice.

Nicole Tempel Assisi is the CEO of Thrive Public Schools, a public charter school in City Heights. She says every student at Thrive has an individualized learning plan and works toward setting and meeting their own educational goals.

“It’s the idea that students drive their own learning on one hand, and on the other hand it’s this idea that technology enhances learning,” she said. “Students work at their just-right pace.”

Assisi explains what a personalized learning classroom looks like, she details how technology plays an important role in the approach and shares some anecdotes about why it’s working.

“Even the kindergartners will show me these bar graphs and say, ‘Hey Nicole, check it out, this is where I was before and right now I’m rocking it in geometry,’” she said. “To see that sort of ownership of learning is really fun.”

Also on this week’s podcast, we follow up on last week’s talk with two of the County Board of Education candidates and Lewis fact-checks a bizarre political mailer that names VOSD as a source for one of its claims.

Number of the Week

11 (math) and 8 (reading): Those are the percentile point gains for the typical student in personalized learning schools, compared with similar students at non-personalized learning schools.

What’s Working

The Mobile Technology Learning Center: The University of San Diego’s research center is helping schools locally and across the country adopt and integrate technology in ways that are effective for education.

Got thoughts, opinions or experiences with this? Call 619-354-1085 and leave your name, neighborhood and story so we can play the voicemail on future episodes.

Subscribe to Good Schools for All on iTunes or get the RSS feed here. Stream it here.

Kinsee Morlan was formerly the Engagement Editor at Voice of San Diego and author of the Culture Report. She also managed VOSD’s podcasts and covered...

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