16 Districts have been awarded grants via the federal Race to the Top Program and visible trends in personalized learning can be easily spotted.
The districts are using mobile devices, personalized learning coaches for teachers and individual learning plans. Technology is the name of the game in education these days and $77 million of the $400 in federal grants to those districts will be spent on tech gadgets such as iPads.
According to EducationWeek.org, "Last year's grant contest was the first time the U.S. Department of Education used its signature Race to the Top brand to try to push for education redesign at the local level, specifically around personalized learning.
Federal officials are making a clear statement regarding what they want when it comes to personalized learning: technological customization during instruction to customize individualized or personalized learning for students.
As I recently wrote on the Microsoft Partners in Learning Network, personalized learning is the single most significant concept in education as we strive to meet the needs of all students and prepare them for the challenges in the 21st century.
Personalized learning means that we honor every student's unique talents, support their learning modalities and styles and allow them to have a stronger voice in their own learning.
As opposed to one set of objectives for all learners, personalized learning permits the learner to create and engage in their own learning objectives and curriculum, and most often, they are able to accomplish this due to technology that makes information instantaneously available to them.
The more personalized learning can be automated, the more tracking, grading and instant progress reports are available.
Pat Wyman is the founder of HowToLearn.com, a college professor and known as America's Most Trusted Learning Expert. She is a blogger for Microsoft's Partners in Learning Network on the topic of Personalized Learning.
Wyman is the best selling author of several books including Amazing Grades: 101 Best Ways To Improve Your Grades Faster and Instant Learning for Amazing Grades, a complete study skills system for students in grades 1-9.