Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tools to Personalize Learning

Check out a few other posts about personalizing learning. Personalized Learning: Before you Begin & Personalized Learning in Action 

The means to personalize education for students drastically changes with access to technology. I wanted to share some tools I love to use to personalize learning in the classroom.

Before I jump into the tools, I wanted to point out a few things.

  1. The tools themselves do not personalize learning. What's important is the opportunities created by the tools. These tools give pathways for students to access content and express their learning.
  2. Start with what you have and see if it will meet the students' needs before signing them up for another account or downloading another app.
  3. Introduce the tools slowly and give the students sandbox time to play before adding content. You don't want the tool to get in the way of student learning.

All of the tools listed below will help students access the content and can be used on any device.

Power My Learning allows teachers to explore content to make playlists for students. Resources come from reliable sources like TED-Ed, Library of Congress, Scholastic, National Geographic and many more. When working with iPads, you can select a search option that only shows iPad compatible content.

Classkick is a whiteboard app that allows the teacher to see the students screen in the dashboard. The major bonus is that the teacher can put feedback on the screen in real time. Students can also raise a virtual hand to get help from the teacher or others in the class. It is a great app to allows students to be working at their own pace while still tracking their understanding.

Blendspace allows teachers to create a variety of activities that can be housed in one place to create a complete learning experience. Students can easily move through a variety of activities to meet their learning style and allow them choices in how they access content.

PlayPosit or Edupuzzle are similar platforms. They allow you to edit videos, insert checks for understanding, and track student progress. These are great tools to use along with flipped videos made by the teacher. They also work great with other programs like Blendspace to create a complete learning experience.  

  • Forms- Create a form using data validation to allow students to assess their learning to see if they are reaching targeted goals. 
  • Docs, Sheets, Slides - Students can collaborate together using these tools and the teacher can add in feedback and track progress. 
  • Hyperdocs- Use Hyperdocs to create an interactive lesson using the components of the 4Cs to allow students to explore and engage in the content. 
By using these resources, it will give the teacher the ability to get appropriate resources to students to give them independence and choice in their learning, while still keeping them accountable and providing guidance and feedback.  

Monday, May 7, 2018

Next Year Will Be Better

As the year is coming to a close, I have been reflecting with many teachers. One common idea that tends to come up with teachers is that this will be easier next year. I don’t want to burst their bubble, but it won’t be. Next year will be different. Your students will have different needs, you will have different initiatives to put in place, different materials to work with, and different strategies to implement. 

This quote is from Autumn Calabrese on a beach body workout video, but it completely applies here. When you are on a weight loss journey, you have to work hard, but once you have reached your goal, the work doesn’t stop. You need to maintain and adjust when it is not working. This is the same with teaching. You should constantly be trying to find that perfect balance of strategies to meet your students' needs, then maintain it once you have found it, adjust when needed. So the work we do as educators will not get easier, but have the power and believe in yourself that you will get better. You will get better in implementing district initiatives, you will get better at developing new strategies, you will get better at seeking support, and you will get better at meeting your students needs to help them succeed. Next year will be better!