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- Three Free & Easy Tools to Support Tiered Reading in Your Classroom
- The Question of Equity in the Age of ChatGPT
- CIDDList: 5 AIs You Need to Check Out This Summer!
- Mixed Reality Simulations, Personalized Learning, AI, and the Future of Education with Dr. Chris Dede
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Personalized Learning, AI, and the Future of Education
Dr. Chris Dede
Dr. Chris Dede is a professor of Learning Technologies at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard. His research centers around emerging technologies, using technology in large-scale educational improvement initiatives, and policies centered on educational transformation. He is a co-founder of the podcast Silver Lining for Learning, which focuses on the future of education. His areas of expertise range from educational equity, leadership and policy, teacher education, and technology. His current research centers on multi-user virtual environments, augmented realities, transformed social interaction, and online professional development.
The problem highlighted in this brief
This brief highlights the need to unlearn what we’ve done in the past and to adapt to the hybrid world of today (Dede, 2022). Dr. Dede calls for more research around personalized learning (Bondie et al., 2023), artificial intelligence to support learning (Dieterle et al., 2022), and simulated learning (Bondie & Dede, 2020) to better design learning for all students.
Why does this topic matter to teacher preparation?
In addition to training pre-service teachers to support all learners, we have to help in-service teachers unlearn what they were taught and use the principles of UDL and personalized learning (Bondie et al., 2023). Dr. Dede discusses the implications situated learning has on helping teachers teach and adapt to today’s learners.
About This Brief
The focus of this brief is on the hybrid world we now live in. Dr. Dede focuses on the educational innovations that were around prior to and arose from the COVID-19 pandemic. Readers will learn about innovative ways to utilize mixed-reality simulations to create opportunities for personalized learning and the ways in which artificial intelligence could be leveraged.
Research and Practice Context
Mixed Reality Simulations: We Are Just at the Beginning
Mursion, a mixed reality simulator used in teacher education, provides pre-service teachers the opportunity to practice skills in a realistic setting with specially designed avatars that represent the diverse learning needs of the modern classroom (Bondie & Dede, 2020). And yet, this technology is not new (e.g., Dieker et al., 2008). In this research and practice brief, Dr. Dede explores the ways in which we can leverage this technology to allow for more personalization and to help teachers better prepare for the hybrid world in which we now live.
The following are key insights shared by Dr. Dede on this research. The interview focused on six questions about mixed reality simulations, personalized learning, and artificial intelligence in teacher preparation, as well as recommendations for teacher educators to incorporate these ideas.
Q1: What are the issues that you are trying to address through your research and work with personalized learning?
Providing voice and choice is one of the key components that makes up Universal Design for Learning (Rose, 2000), the principles that guide personalization. The personalization of learning is fueled by self-directed learners, students who truly have a say in what they learn and how they learn it (Dede, 2022). Beyond students in the classroom, personalization can be achieved in mixed reality simulations where human simulation experts provide unique challenges and experiences for pre-service and in-serivce teachers based on their needs, course work, and culturally relevant pedagogies (Bondie & Dede, 2020).
Dr. Dede: “The opportunity to truly customize learning for each person, not just in terms of adapting to them but also voice and choice on the part of students how they're taught, what they're taught, when they're taught, where they're taught, and so on”
Q2: How does your work with personalized learning support students with disabilities, or even all students?
What kinds of questions are we asking in education research? According to Dr. Dede, we often focus on inconsequential elements, rather than those that truly can change education. These ideas are highlighted in the Silver Lining for Learning Webcast that Dede and colleagues started during the pandemic, which focuses on a bottom-up driver for innovation, rather than the typical top-down approach (Dede et al., 2021). Special education and education as a whole tends to focus on ineffective and outdated instructional models that focus on automation and efficiency rather than focus on the learner (Dede et al., 2021). Through their podcast, which includes guests who are teachers, students, administrators, researchers, and entrepreneurs, Dede and colleagues focus on bringing new models and innovation into education. Past episodes have focused on remote learning, student autonomy, and educational assessments (Dede et al., 2021).
Dr. Dede: “When you design something you study its effectiveness, but not whether it works overall or not, that's the wrong question. You see what parts work for which students. And then you start to personalize and customize, so that eventually you cover all types of learners”
Q3: How would a teacher preparation program fit personalization in their current practice?
Dr. Dede is a big believer in mixed reality simulations in teacher preparation programs. For one, these provide safe environments for pre-service teachers to practice (Bondie & Dede, 2020). Additionally, simulations provide an opportunity to practice in a systematic way, where all pre-service teachers receive specific feedback in a setting of reduced complexity and appropriate rigor (Bondie & Dede, 2020). Beyond this, using mixed reality simulations provides the means for additional personalization and differentiation (Bondie et al., 2023) within pre-service personnel preparation programs and in-service professional development (Bondie et al., 2023). Results from Bondie and colleagues’ (2023) study included teachers finding that practicing within the mixed reality simulation provided experiences that were valuable and realistic and helped teachers develop more complex practices.
Dr. Dede “Give students opportunities to practice before they are put in real settings. And ensure the practice is authentic”
Q4: What implications do you see for future research? What questions might we be asking in the future?
Bondie and colleagues (2023) explored coaching and professional development models for pre-service, early career, and in-service teachers, with a particular interest in the provision of feedback used in mixed reality simulations, the personalization and differentiation it led to, and the perceptions of the experiences of teachers using mixed reality simulations. Findings indicated that coaching is a critical element in mixed reality simulations.
Dr. Dede “Even with systems like Mursion. We still are just at the beginning from a research perspective of understanding what works, when, for which type of teacher capacity building: for example, pre-service teachers with little experience versus in-service teachers who have a lot of experience, but may also face larger challenges in unlearning outdated practices”
Q5: What else should teacher preparation programs consider moving forward?
These dispositions cannot be taught in the way that we teach curriculum (Dede, 2022). Rather, they require learners to have agency and choice in their learning. Educators must encourage learners to bring in their strengths, languages and cultures, and independent experiences to create knowledge (Dede, 2022). This self-directed learning is applicable both to students in K-12 classrooms and pre-service and in-service teachers. And, these are skills that artificial intelligence cannot do for them (Dede, 2022). However, these nuanced skills are necessary in creating innovations and new models of global civilization (Dede, 2022).
Q6: Are there any specific technologies and resources you would suggest?
In an analysis of case studies, Dede (2022) unearthed three themes imperative to the future of education: (1) teacher preparation programs need to learn from the pandemic and find ways to integrate personalization into their curricula and help pre-service teachers think about how they can reconceptualize face-to-face pedagogy for the online and hybrid classroom, (2) teacher preparation programs need to help teachers understand technology infrastructure and how that impacts practice, as well as how to use social media to support student’s social/ emotional needs, and (3) teacher preparation programs need to prepare teachers for both face-to-face and online learning environments and should use mixed reality simulations to do so.
In the interview, Dr. Dede provided resources for teacher preparation programs starting with mixed reality simulations, personalized learning, and artificial intelligence.
This center is using AI to transform adult learning through the development of techniques and theories to impact the quality of online adult learning.
Drs. Dede, Bonk, Mishra, and Zhao’s webcast focusing on a bottom-up approach to innovation in education.
Bondie, R., & Dede, C. (2020). Redefining and transforming field experiences in teacher preparation through personalized mixed reality simulations. What teacher educators should have learned from 2020, 22
Bondie, R., Zusho, A., Wiseman, E., Dede, C., & Rich, D. (2023). Can Differentiated and Personalized mixed reality Simulations Transform Teacher Learning?. Technology, Mind, and Behavior, 4(1).
Dede, C. (2022). Helping students attain skills that cannot be taught (op-ed). Menlo Park, CA: Postsecondary Teaching with Technology Collaborative. https://postseccollab.org/helping-students-attain-skills-that-cannot-be-taught/
Dede, C., Zhao, Y., Mishra, P., & J Bonk, C. (2021). The Silver lining for learning webcasts as a bottom-up driver of global educational innovation. Rivista di Digital Politics, 1(3), 523-542.
Dieker, L., Hynes, M., Hughes, C., & Smith, E. (2008). Implications of mixed reality and simulation technologies on special education and teacher preparation. Focus on Exceptional Children, 40(6), 1.
Dieterle, E., Dede, C., & Walker, M. (2022). The cyclical ethical effects of using artificial intelligence in education. AI & society, 1-11.Rose, D. (2000). Universal design for learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15(4), 47-51.
Rose, D. (2000). Universal design for learning. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15(4), 47-51.
For More Information
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