Standardization is a common strategy in modern K-12 environments—from common study programs to age-based grading to uniform testing policies. But it’s no secret that many students struggle to learn in these standardized learning environments, and a growing body of research suggests that the one-size-fits-all approach of modern education holds some students back. Through increased virtual instruction and a growing number of EdTech tools, modern classroom devices help educators to meet their students on their level and provide them with quality, personalized instruction. We discuss some adaptive learning solutions below.
The Challenge to Meet Each Student on Their Level
There are a variety of educational models that suggest that many students respond better to varying teaching approaches. Students respond better to more personalized programs that cater to their unique learning styles, strengths, and shortcomings compared to one-size-fits-all approaches. Research suggests that personalized learning has a significant, positive effect on both reading and math scores, and the right tools are crucial to making personalized strategies possible.
A teacher in a classroom of thirty students doesn’t have the capacity to instruct each student individually, but adaptive learning makes that possible. Several versions of adaptive learning software on the market assess a student’s performance in real-time, and then automatically adapt lesson plans to accommodate that student’s needs and preferences. It’s an advanced form of e-learning that many schools have not yet adopted, but it holds great promise to boost learning outcomes.
It’s important to note that there’s a difference between personalization and individualization. While some educators hesitate to separate students from peer groups in individualized lessons, personalized e-learning doesn’t have to occur in isolation. Rather, personalized e-learning works best in group instruction.
Technology enables teachers to deploy different learning and teaching models throughout their instruction, create content in a variety of ways, and build more diverse lesson plans for students of all abilities. Key lesson themes and ideas can converge around common tasks or mini-lessons, and these allow students to work independently on their own devices within larger groups. These types of strategies accommodate each student’s abilities, without burdening teachers to adapt lesson plans to each student.
The Challenge to Adopt New Technology
Underfunded K-12 school districts often struggle to balance administrative costs, particularly where new technology acquisition is concerned. And even when new e-learning solutions are deployed, educators must invest time to onboard, learn, and integrate new technology into their lesson plans. Additionally, administrators often lack both the time and resources to troubleshoot tech issues when they arise. This contributes to a tech-phobic infrastructure that prefers to rely on traditional, outdated strategies and avoids the learning curve.
The perceived drawbacks of tech-supported personalization include that these solutions create more work for administrative staff, and that personalization might force students to work alone. However, modern adaptive learning tools can improve collaboration for students and make work tasks like grading and monitoring student progress easier.
With cohesive tech platforms behind lesson planning and grading, teachers gain a simple, holistic solution for management that frees them of the burden of pen and paper administration. Many of these solutions are advanced and can even automate aspects of data entry and lesson planning.
With the right technology partner in their corner, educators don’t need to worry about troubleshooting or fixing technology. Vendor partners can handle everything related to hardware management:
- Hardware selection and deployment
- Technical troubleshooting
- Security software coordination
- Warranty management
By letting a vendor handle these issues, educators can focus on teaching and leave technical management to experts.
The Challenge of Increasing Virtual Instruction
The Covid pandemic uncovered a huge need for more extensive e-learning solutions. But school districts have struggled to implement virtual learning methods in a smooth manner, and often struggle to equip teachers with the technical know-how to easily transition to remote learning when needed. New strategies for online curriculum, adaptive learning tools, and videoconferencing for one-on-one check-ins offer ways to keep education going outside the physical classroom.
Research published in EdWeek showed that more institutions now offer virtual learning sessions as supplemental parts of their curriculum. In a survey of over 800 principals, teachers, and district leaders, nearly a third responded that students could take online versions of courses that the school doesn’t typically offer, and a quarter of districts allowed students to enroll in full-time virtual school.
While many survey respondents believe that virtual learning is less effective than in-person methods, the industry overall has not seen widespread adoption of adaptive learning technologies, which will make virtual learning more viable. Remote learning strategies that are designed alongside one-on-one lesson plans that cater to each student’s needs will keep students on track to learn the skills required by state and national standards.
Get the Support You Need
For over 25 years, Virtucom has helped empower school leaders with new technologies for their learning environments. We’re on a mission to make sure that every school in America has objective, personalized technology guidance that supports both students and staff. We are proud to partner with HP to provide you with devices that are optimized and secured to meet your K-12 needs, goals, and budget.
Learn more about our personalized learning solutions by contacting us today.