Personalizing Learning in the Classroom

kerry gallagher
The difficulty in giving students choice along their learning path
Cebron Walker, Editor-in-Chief

I spoke with Kerry Gallagher recently and found some amazing nuggets of inspiration and knowledge to rejigger a classroom with all types of tools, furniture, technology and digital curriculum to change the paradigm.

The shift, she told me, had as its primary target to get the students to “love” what they are studying, to give them choice and make them part of their learning path. 

“One of the struggles that I’m seeing and hearing from teachers is that they want to be convinced to give students more choice and to use technology. But they are also being pressured to get through a loaded curriculum between the beginning and end of the year. They are also feeling the pressure to meet growth standards and hit test scores that are being required by their state or district. So if there isn’t a guarantee that these new methods will help them hit those requirements, they are questioning if it worth the risk for them as a professional.

“What we need to be willing to do is allow teachers to take risks, and tell them that it’s more important that the students have a learning experience that is going to stick with them then it is that they hit a certain test score. We need to be willing to say that. And it’s hard. But if we don’t we are going to stay in this old model and we will be preparing students for a world that doesn’t exist anymore.”

Kerry is the 2014 recipient of the Yale-Lynn Hall Teacher Action Research Prize for her submission "Mobile Devices and Student Innovators: BYOD and the Paperless Classroom Model." She was recognized as a 2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. Her blog can be found at:

Twenty-five years in the trenches of news media and marketing. As Editor at the Learning Counsel, Cebron lives in the “eye of the storm” in this rapidly transforming space, reporting on leading schools, innovative administrators and industry which are shaping the future of teaching and learning.