Schools Adapt Personalized Learning for Self-paced Study


Aiming to have children learn efficiently while progressing at their own speed, a large number of schools have abandoned traditional classroom teaching techniques for customizable software-based solutions. The switch has changed instruction from delivering a lesson to the whole class simultaneously to guiding each student at their own pace via semi-autonomous software.

The new method of educating, also known as personalized learning, ensures a teacher stays on hand with each student to answer any questions and provide guidance through more complex topics.

Personalized learning provides the tools to let teachers create student-centered instructional models. The models function by tailoring what, when, how, and where students learn in order to correspond to their needs, skills and interests, writes Meris Stansbury of eCampus News.

Although all students receive the same curriculum, each is provided with their own study plan, suggesting the areas the learner should focus more or less attention in order to develop advanced skills and knowledge.

Summit Public Schools in California laud the idea that an individual performs better when they set their own aims and receive specific feedback on their progress.

Diane Tavenner, CEO of Summit, explains the benefits of adopting the system.

"We've automated the activity that teachers in normal settings spend the bulk of their time on – grading things and delivering lectures. Things that are not of high direct value to students, we are trying to remove or eliminate. The key change is that there's technology to leverage to allow for a far greater degree of personalisation that we really couldn't do before."

One of the major advantages of the program is it gives teachers more time to carry out other important activities such as lead group discussions, manage group projects or other specialized tasks, writes Hal Hodson of New Scientist.

The Design39Campus (D39C) in Poway Unified School District has been created in line with these trends, utilizing technology to provide a personalized, flexible and engaging learning scheme. Along with a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program and an adaptable personalized learning platform, the new school aims to change education for the better.

Students' progress is recorded in reports available for viewing by the student and parents. The learning scheme is non-traditional, but the progress bars tie student achievement back to traditional Common Core standards.

Design39 hopes to expand both their grade-level offerings and population in the coming years.

School principal Sonya Wrisley reflects on the young school's promise

"I love that technology has helped us hit the high notes of optimizing personalization, flexibility and engagement, as well as keeping the steady rhythm of performance monitoring and remediation where necessary. It's a marvelous launching point for changing education for the better."

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