According to the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report, one solvable challenge to educational technology adoption in the classroom is personalized learning implementation (The New Media Consortium [NMC], 2014). According to the article, this problem is considered solvable because technology is already available to address the issue. This idea of using technology to tailor instruction and assessment to the specific needs of individual students is very fascinating to me, particularly after reading about the Taylor County School District. An EdSurge article about this district was listed in one of NMC Horizon Report further readings sections.
At Taylor County Schools, the use of one to one technology and a performance-based model allows a personalized learning environment for all of their students. Each student has an Individual Learning Plan (ILP), in which the students’ courses are customized to meet the needs of their future career plans. For example, a student with an interest in a medical profession would learn English, math, and social studies standards in the context of medical information, skills, or problems. Furthermore, students learn at their own pace and are placed in classes based on their abilities and needs, rather than their chronological age (Cook, 2014).
After reading about the successes of this model, such as Taylor County Schools maintaining a 0% dropout rate for five years, I began to research methods to implement aspects of this model in my own classroom. Although the process of implementing such a radical change in a school or district would take time and a lot of convincing, there are strategies that I can begin using in my classroom this fall. One particular method of offering a personalized experience in the classroom was the use of social media to create E-Portfolios. The use of wikis, blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and many other social media resources allows students to collect, curate, and share information, as well as work with other students, faculty members, or even experts in collaborative means (Bernsteiner, Ostermann, & Staudinger, 2008). Many college students and faculty are using social media to enhance their “academic experience both formally and informally” (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012). This learning log created with wordpress offers another example of the use of E-Portfolios at the university level.
Since the creation of this learning log for EDTECH 501, I have thought about the use of student blogs in my AP Statistics class. These blogs would allow the gathering and developing of knowledge by students, with opportunities to analyze and critique the information on classmates’ blogs. Students could then add to, enhance, or revise their own posts based on the comments from their classmates or teacher. The writing and collective curating of each blog encourages each student to practice their skills of written communication and higher levels of thinking. In addition, each student’s blog would provide a searchable collection of content to review and study before the AP exam or semester finals.
Setup: For my AP Statistics course, I will use Google Sites to create a blog page for each of my students. I will enable page-level permissions within the course website, and then give each student editing rights to their assigned blog page. Students will have the ability to see and comment on their classmates’ blogs. Furthermore, parents will be invited to view only their child’s blog page. A master list of each student and their blog url will be shared to the students.
Assignments: As in EDTECH 501, students will be given assignments to be completed each week. Students will share their assignments online within their blog, with an explanation of what they have learned and what they still need to know posted with a link to their completed assignment. Each student will then select two other students’ posts to read and respond to within the comment section of the post they read. Students will be expected to respond to comments that ask for clarification or that disagree with their original post, whether the comment comes from a classmate or the teacher.
Bernsteiner, R., Ostermann, H., & Staudinger, R. (2008). Facilitating e-learning with social software: Attitudes and usage from the student’s point of view. International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 3, 16-33. http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/jwltt.2008070102
Cook, R. (2014). How a district ended student dropouts with personalized learning. edSurge. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/n/2014-04-14-how-a-district-ended-student-dropouts-with-personalized-learning
Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2012). Personal learning environments, social media, and self regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 15, 3-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.06.002
The New Media Consortium. (2014). The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. Retrieved from http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2014-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf