100 Flavors: Tapping into Personalized Learning

Freestyle Pop Machine

I sometimes joke with my wife that one of my “love languages” is eating out at restaurants. (If you have not read Gary Chapman’s book this initial reference may make no sense to you….but please keep reading; I promise the rest gets better.)

I take great joy in selecting restaurants, polling my children to see where they want to eat, and researching the various discounts available (free kids meal night, etc.). However, I’ve finally met my restaurant nemesis; meet the Coca-Cola Company’s new 100 Flavor Interactive Freestyle Soda Fountain. (I did not make that name up!!)

This is the machine that has captured the affection of my kids, and only a few restaurants have it. In fact, there is only ONE restaurant that my daughter associates the 100 Flavor Interactive Freestyle Soda Fountain with….so that’s ALWAYS where she wants to eat. Why???!!

She appreciates the chance to select from 52+ flavors of Hi-C and is enamored with the 43+ styles of Coke along with several dozen varieties of PowerAde flavors not seen on grocery store shelves. (I may be exaggerating…but only slightly). The point is she loves choices and values a personalized beverage experience. Truth-be-told, I totally get how this beverage machine won her over; the cherry Hi-C is soooo good!

The entire concept is really quite simple…she walks into her restaurant of choice and has many different flavor options to quench her thirst—more than ever before. The pathways to the end result (thirst quenching goodness) are nearly limitless.

If you are like me, you might be asking what this has to do with education or a principal’s blog. The answer is found in a few key words; choices, personalized and pathways. My daughter can choose from multiple pathways to quench her thirst, and the personalized experience has engaged her in seemingly limitless possibilities.

The talented professionals in our school’s classrooms have been engaging students in their learning for years. Through differentiated instructional strategies, forging meaningful relationships, and finely honing their craft teachers have excelled at helping students excel.

The most exciting thing is that through new and evolving technologies we will be able to personalize learning in ways that were previously unimaginable.

What if there is a way to offer each of our students an individual pathway to proficiency, or unique enrichment options that have them coming back for more?! Just like my daughter and the “100 Flavor Interactive Freestyle Soda Fountain,” I suspect that a more personalized experience could lead to a powerful and personalized connection to our school along with a life-long habit of inspired learning.

Originally posted November 28, 2012
Photo credit: Alice Gao

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About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at www.BradGustafson.com or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on July 9, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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