For decades educators have been personalizing learning in their classrooms without technology. Students have always learned at different paces, from varying perspectives, and with unique interests and abilities. Educators, meanwhile, have always been working tirelessly to address these needs and reach every student by providing learners with personalized instruction. The concept – and the goal – of personalized learning remain essentially steady as educational communities and technology evolve and adapt. But, the potential of personalized learning is changing. Our current moment in the intersection of educational and technological innovation takes the concept to the next level: adaptive technology makes personalized learning scalable. Now, teachers aren’t alone in their mission to unlock the full potential of every learner. Adaptive learning programs identify a student’s level of knowledge, establish an individual learning path, and target what each student is ready to learn next. And best of all, they can have a positive impact on each and every student in a classroom. We can’t expect teachers to be in 20+ places at once, keeping up with the rapid changes occurring every day in each child’s learning experience. But with technology that promotes personalized learning, two amazing things can happen: students have the opportunity to reach the same educational outcomes, and teachers have the freedom to expand on the fundamentals.
Consider a high school math classroom: some students excel at math – they find it exciting, have high levels of engagement, and envision themselves pursuing a career that requires analytical problem solving. Other students, however, struggle to comprehend even the simplest lesson – math gives them anxiety, makes them lose confidence, and, as a result, they would prefer never to solve another equation again. Now consider all the students that rest between these two extremes combined with the sheer number of students in a classroom and ask yourself: how do we expect teachers to push all of these students past the same marker of achievement? No matter how hard she works to personalize her instruction, how can she possibly reach them all at once? Math has become a vital competency to succeed in the workplace of tomorrow, so failure is not an option. That’s where adaptive, personalized technology comes in. It can identify a student’s gaps in content knowledge and uses built-in remediation to ensure mastery. It follows students along their personal educational journey and creates a pathway just for them, developed to tackle their most critical needs. Personalized educational technology brings powerful, impactful learning experiences to the classroom and to the lives of every student.
Personalized learning programs can change the lives and daily experiences of teachers as well. By providing the highly individualized instruction students need to keep pace with the class, teachers have the freedom to explore new student inquiries and learning opportunities as they arise during student – teacher interaction. They can expand on the fundamentals, provide students with real-world applications of their work, and embrace the precious moments when student ideas and questions can lead the entire class towards a new discovery. A class that utilizes personalized educational technology is a high-functioning, multi-faceted learning community that recognizes the individual, takes advantage of unforeseen opportunities, and, most importantly, addresses the needs of every learner.
Hear from former Superintendent of the Year and McGraw-Hill Education Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Heath Morrison:
To take the first steps in bringing scalable personalized learning to your district, school, or classroom, check out ALEKS®, the web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that brings personalized math learning to the next level: