In the 21st century learning environment, educators are inundated with numerous best practices that we are supposed to incorporate – including covering digital and personalizing learning. One of the best methods to accomplish this goal, which is the opposite of working 80 hours a week while mitigating stress-induced tears and hair loss, is to jump two hurdles with one leap. So, what does this mean and what are options to accomplish these best practices?
Let’s start with a quick review of terms for background knowledge (as we all know how important this step is with teaching). A technology integrated classroom refers to the teacher creating lessons, based on curriculum standards, and teaching while incorporating technology that is essentially invisible. This is a key point with technology that is one of the largest oversights in teaching in the 21st century. Technology is best used to support the curriculum not take over the lesson (unless you are actually hosting a technology lesson). Personalized learning includes creating an adaptive, student-centered learning environment where the focus is on the individual student learning needs (instead of mass production of one teaching method or set of information for all students).
As we all know, students enter our classes with various backgrounds (including learning gaps and learning styles). So as educators, we are required to cover all standards for our subject and grade level. However, this is much more difficult than it sounds, as we all know. For example, an 8th grade Language Arts teacher could easily have students ranging from 3rd grade to 12th grade English levels. If a teacher chose to teach one method at one level, then that teacher would capture only a handful of the students who are at the true 8th grade level. This is because not all students at the level will pay attention to one teaching method. Nor will students who are at the levels of 3rd grade through 6th grade have a clue as to what is occurring. Oh, and those students who are above level, you need to challenge them too, because they also have goals to meet. They will not be engaged with work they could’ve completed years ago. So, this is where the real educators stand out: the teachers who truly attempt to educate all children by creating adaptive and responsive learning environments . You know who those teachers are and hopefully one is you. This task seems impossible and there will be days we fail. It is okay, we are human – as long as we learn from our errors and try an improved approach the following day. So let’s start a conversation, what are some options to personalize learning for students using technology to help us with the process?
by: Jacqueline L. Cahill, PhD | Director of Professional Development, Core Learning Exchange
Core LX is a crowd-sourced, curated marketplace for digital curricula where schools are both the subscribers and providers, thus disrupting the textbook market. To learn more, please view: http://core-lx.com/