Monday, January 16, 2017

Using technology to personalize learning - part 4: different tech integration models

Last weekend I received an email from Jon Bergmann, a flipped learning pioneer, that contained a link through to videos he has made about the technological decisions that have to be made by a school when considering moving to a flipped learning model.  There are 18 videos in this series, and together they take about an hour to watch.  They contain information about various topics, such as the costs, infrastructure, interactivity, support, training and issues around student privacy and safety.   This course is free to join and can be found at this link.

Along with looking at these videos this weekend, I've also been reading more in my free eBook from ISTE about personalized learning.  As I'm in a 1:1 school, I was particularly interested in the chapter about how a 1:1 model can change the way teachers teach and so move instruction into more of a personalized learning direction as teachers have more ways of reaching and assessing different types of leaners.  The chapter basically deals with different instructional models, which as well as flipped learning also include blended, online and mobile learning.

Flipped Learning - is a pedagogical approach that moves direction instruction from the group space (the classroom) to the individual learning space (the home).  Students use their computers both at school and at home, though a lot of the instructional material posted by teachers such as videos, text files and so on is for students to access at home at their own pace, and class time is spent on guided practice, experiments and projects.  Often in class the Socratic method is used, so that teachers will pose questions and students will work collaboratively to solve problems.

Blended Learning - a combination of both online and face-to-face instruction that gives students some control over the time, place and pace of learning.  In this model multi-media technology can be used both inside and outside the classroom to give more interactive experiences.  With this model creating high quality resources is vital so that "students work at their own pace and experience success on an individual level, using a range of digital tools and resources to improve their ability to think, communicate and collaborate."  Blended learning allows the creation of more personalized learning experiences which in turn leads to much better results that traditional methods.  "By elegantly blending assessment with daily classroom instruction, technology-based learning platforms can serve as the cornerstone of revolutionary educational change.  They have the potential to personalize the learning process, support teachers in enacting best teaching strategies, and help students meet ambitious and rigorous standards."

Online Learning - this can be online classes, tutorials and wikis, and students can often take these courses to supplement the options being offered in schools.  For example I know of many IB schools who encourage students to take courses online that are not offered in school, in particular students who want to study a language for which there is not a local teacher.  In online learning, games, simulations and chat rooms are valued for the role they play in learning.

Mobile Learning - increasingly tablets and smartphones are being used in learning activities both in and out of school, often alongside laptops.  Studies have shown the dramatic impact of mobile devices on students who struggle with learning - at my school a mobile device is now a requirement for our academic support teachers.

One thing we talk a lot about in my school is student choice.  Certainly one way to personalize learning is to let students choose what and how they learn (for example in student-led inquiry) and in how they show their understanding through more open-ended assessments.   I'm thinking right now of our upcoming PYP Exhibition, where students have a wide choice in how they present their understanding and during the PYP Exhibition process the teachers monitor the students progress through blogs and shared slideshows.

Looking at the above 4 models of technology integration it does appear that technology gives teachers much more choice in how to personalize student learning.

Photo Credit: CAFNR Flickr via Compfight cc

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