Personalizing Mathematics Instruction to Students’ Interests: Tradeoffs and Design PrinciplesAbstract: The idea of personalizing instruction to the interests and experiences of learners has begun to gain traction with the rise of advanced technology systems and initiatives like the Gates Foundation’s funding of “personalized learning” schools. In fact, personalization of learning has been identified as a Grand Challenge for this generation by the U.S. Department of Education (National Education Technology Plan) and the National Academy of Engineering. However, research on the impact of personalized learning, and more importantly on how to implement personalized learning effectively, is not yet established. In this talk, I will explore six recent studies I conducted on personalized learning in middle grades mathematics and interpret the results with respect to four design principles for personalized learning environments. Important tradeoffs emerge as we consider the time, cost, and learning outcomes most valued when personalizing instruction.
Dr. Walkington is currently an Assistant Professor at Southern Methodist University. She was my graduate student while at The University of Texas at Austin.