Here’s an interesting irony: we live in a society that values creativity and encourages individualism, yet the education system is rigid, generalized, and treats everybody the same. In its defense, neither the necessity nor the means for an individualized learning environment were present until recently, so its current state of the education system is not exactly surprising. However, with the technology revolution here, there’s no reason not to embrace what technology has to offer. Here’s how technology can help create and foster and individualized learning environment and polish the bright minds of tomorrow.
BYOD is an acronym mostly used in IT-related jobs, but which is slowly making its way into education as well. It stands for “Bring Your Own Device”, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. The main advantage of allowing students to bring and use their own gadgets is that they will feel more unique and in control. Due to the high level of customizability, tech gadgets are regarded by some teenagers as part of their personality, so allowing them to have said devices around in-class will provide the students with another mean of expressing themselves and standing out.
One of the biggest advantages of modern technology is that it allows the transfer of tremendous amounts of information with ease. This does not necessarily mean that teachers should attempt to overcrowd the students with information just because they can, but rather that they should use multiple ways of delivering the necessary information to see which one works best for each student. Some will react better to written information, while others might find it easier to learn from presentations and graphs. By using multiple information streams, teachers can adapt to each student’s preferences on the fly, and allow each student to pick the one that works best for them.
Passive teaching methods are iconic for old teaching systems, but a system where a teacher reads and students write does not cut it nowadays. Students tend to get bored or distracted easily, so teachers need to spice things up a bit. Active teaching is where the magic happens – teachers can now use interactive content to deliver information and keep students focused and engaged. The content can come in multiple shapes (video, audio, text), so the teacher can easily plan the interactions to fit each student’s profile, and thus keep everyone interested and involved.
Innovative Testing Methods
The flexibility that allows teachers to deliver information via different channels should not be used as a one-way channel, but instead it should be used both ways – teachers can take advantage of modern technologies when it comes to testing students. Paper quizzes are an outdated and boring way of testing a student’s knowledge, but give each student the option of choosing his own medium for testing and you might be surprised with the result. By giving students the power of choice when it comes to their preferred testing method, his grasp of the curriculum can be easily observed and his abilities can be evaluated better.
Testing a student’s knowledge shouldn’t come down only to the amount of information said student manage to store, but how well he or she can use that information. Technology allows for a more detailed and accurate tracking of a student’s performance during a test, so at the end of the test the teacher will not only know the overall score of the student, but how he got there, identifying partsthat need to be worked upon with each student.
One of the biggest challenges of opting for an individualized learning environment is keeping track of the overall performance of each student. Monitoring each student’s performance in every class and keeping track of their strengths and weaknesses in order to adapt the learning environment to their needs is absolutely crucial. Luckily, there are software programs that do just that. Complex school management software usually allows the creation of detailed profiles for each student, while also summarizing all the important data on a one page profile, so the teacher always has quick access to the summary when they need to have an overview of the entire class, but also has access to a complete profile on each student when they need to create individualized lessons or tasks.