excitement is almost palpable.
purchase the latest and greatest edtech, hoping that this next program will be
the panacea, the silver bullet that improves scores and helps the campus meet
accountability goals. Teachers want this program to assist in helping their
students who learn differently. Parents look for immediate feedback on their
of these goals take second place to the real issue: are students getting what
they need to become productive citizens?
real risk of edtech-based personalized learning exists in relying on it to the
exclusion of everything else.
Personalized learning =
works best when every student has equitable access to learning. Denying
learners to opportunities for study widens the gap between the haves and the
learning may come at a high price – one that many parents cannot afford.
If students do not have access to the devices needed for accessing edtech
programs, they are virtually excluded from educational opportunity. This exclusion
is more apparent in schools with BOYD policies.
Your Own Device policies may stretch the tech budget, but it also may also
create a sense of privilege. Schools must guard against policies that that
exclude students who do not own their own mobile devices.
Substitution isn’t sufficient
people think implementing a personalized learning program is as simple as
making a purchase, creating a login and password, and sitting students in front
of the computer screen for a set number of minutes each day. Even if the
program is adaptive based on user response, it might not provide students with
what they need.
to the Hechinger Report, technology
alone does not improve learning. Students merely learn how to become
better at using the program. Any improvement in scores may be the result of
greater facility in interacting with the software.
programs cannot replace quality teaching. When they supplement it, however,
they become invaluable teaching tools.
It’s still drill and kill
its best, personalized learning engages students on a personal level with
lessons selected for them. Personalized learning ought to be about the relationships
between the learner, the subject, and the teacher. It’s an experience centered
around discussion, feedback, and reflection. Including edtech in that process
its worst, personalized learning via edtech is an electronic worksheet driven
by algorithms. The worksheet content hasn’t changed. Only the format and
delivery are different.
kids despise filling out worksheets, with their many blank boxes and lines. The
only thing worse than a worksheet is a packet
worksheets. Whether on paper on a computer screen, students recognize them
for what they are: mind-numbing busy work.
What edtech-based personalized
learning should be
personalized learning has the potential to alter how we do school at every
level, but only if we’re willing to set high standards for what we will allow
in our classrooms.
we allow BYOD policies that exclude children from access to the programs everyone
else has, then we fail to use edtech for improvement. By adopting edtech
software solutions that offer more of what we already have, only in a different
format, we miss an opportunity for authentic personalization.
we use edtech to the exclusion of everything else, we have minimized our
the real risk of edtech-based personalized learning lies in not using it the
way it was intended.