Personalized learning is individualized, differentiated, and relevant to a student’s interests and experiences. Students must be empowered to choose, refine, and adapt curriculum to meet their individual needs and interests. While there should be an overarching framework for students to work within, students should have the latitude to take ownership of what they learn.
A student-centered classroom is one where students are bought-in. Rather than the teacher or curriculum developer defining the end result, the student chooses based on their interests and abilities. Learning is thus tailored to student interests, needs and aspirations. Learners are engaged and intrinsically motivated. Higher-order thinking skills become a natural extension of the learning experience. The bar is raised—not by schools but by the students themselves.
The SmartLab Approach
The SmartLab goal is to engage every learner every day. But how do you create curriculum with project objectives that are relevant to every single student? The obvious answer is you can’t.
SmartLab curriculum is intended to provide each student with a starting point. More than 650 project engagement guides, called Learning Launchers, provide learners with choice and multiple levels of challenge. This curriculum provides guidance in the application of technology—how it is used and what can be done with it—and supports the learner as long as they need it.
But when the lightbulb goes on and the learner begins to “wonder what would happen if …”, curriculum supports rather than guides the learning experience. At that moment, you have the most powerful learning dynamic imaginable—a motivated learner supported by a highly-trained facilitator and a wealth of technology and learning resources. That’s when the real magic happens.
“The SmartLab creates an environment where students want to be involved.”
—Kurt Siebold, Principal, Slavens K8 School