Rainbow Community School

Executive Director, Renee Owen, with Howard Gardner, at Project Zero event at Harvard.

A primer for Mark Zuckerberg on personalized learning — by Harvard’s Howard Gardner

I love this letter from Howard Gardner to Zuckerberg. When I first read the announcement that 99% of Facebook stock would be given away and that “personalized learning” would be a major philanthropic focus, I was compelled to write Zuckerberg and Chan to urge them to consider personalized learning as something much more sophisticated than individuals learning by themselves, at their own pace, but essentially with the same old content and approach. Gardner said it for me in his letter. (Rainbow Community School’s Seven Domains model of learning has many similarities to Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences — and indeed, our founder was a contemporary of Gardner’s at Harvard) I hope his important message is heard. There is one thing I would have added to Howard Gardner’s letter: Social learning (the Interpersonal Intelligence, or the Social Domain) is critical to deep learning. We need to hear other’s thoughts, bounce around ideas, and perhaps most importantly in today’s world, students need to know how to work with one another in a diverse setting. So I hope “personalized learning” will include the important social dimension. Humans are social beings– we need one another for so much, including learning.

Share This