When Anne Olson was growing up, she experienced personalized learning in public school without even realizing it.
“I didn’t comprehend how much my experience with personalized learning would affect the way I interact with the world until much later,” said Olson. Olson is the director of state advocacy at KnowledgeWorks, and largely credits her education for her capacity for risk-taking. “Project-based learning and inquiry-based learning helped me to develop the audacity and the ability to take bold moves, to really think about things outside of the box and focus on real-world issues creatively.”
Olson didn’t begin her professional career in education, but rather social work and social policy. She feels that her ability to make that transition is in part because of her experiences with personalized learning – and her commitment to making that kind of special experience a part of every student’s education.
“The work we do at KnowledgeWorks with personalized learning and my experience in social work share similar tenets,” Olson said. “Meeting a client where they are aligns perfectly with the idea of meeting a student where they are. And because of my background, I feel I can help connect the dots for the people we work with and expand how we advocate for personalized learning at the state and federal level.”
Valuing the whole child, who they are and what they’re capable of, is important to Olson.
“My educational experience had an extreme, lasting effect on how I operate,” said Olson. She wants the same for all learners and through her work helping partner organizations, school districts, state departments of education and legislatures understand the trends and impacts personalized learning opportunities can have on students, she is helping to make it a reality.