Monday, November 12, 2012

Can we personalize education?

"Leveraging Intelligent Adaptive Learning to Personalize Education"

This report was a partnership with DreamBox, which is new concept of personalizing instruction using new technological advancements to tailor that instruction to each student.  It aims at focusing on the learning strengths and weaknesses of individual students, their differing levels of knowledge and where they may be lacking.  At the same time it would allow teachers greater insight to their students and what they are able to do on a daily basis.  With technology being the focus these days, students are learning to work with computers at earlier ages than ever before.  Growing up in a technologically advanced era, students of today are more suited than ever to learn through technology thatn ever before.  Some of the big questions asked are if this is the right time for such a jump in technology and what are the needs of today's teachers in making this type of jump?

I was surprised after watching the video how much information can be looked at in such a short period of time.  As each student begins working at the level they are at. True adaptive learning looks at what ond how they are thinking and helps guide them through the process.  Within the first minute, it looks at and analyzes 800 different facts about that student and how they learn and constantly individualizes for the students needs.  Over the course of an hour it looks 48,000 pieces of data every hour.  The kids think it is more of a game than a teaching tool and allows for personalization for every student.

"Two-thirds of principals (67 percent) noted that the use of digital content in the classroom increases student engagement in school and learning, and 45 percent see digital content as a new pathway for personalized instruction for each student."

This quote is from a speak up survey about bringing digital content into the class.  The overall feeling is that this type of content will increase students interests and overall education.   It further goes on to talk about trying to individualized lesson plans for every student, not just our special needs. Without knowing the ins and outs my first impression is:  Is that possible?  Is having digital content enough?  I have seen kids trying to use digital information and thought that it would help them with their overall understanding tremendously, but my feeling is that students don't seem to care much.  For the few that do, I think it can be a great resource but if they lack the caring from the start, is digital content going to help?  I wrote this refection before I true understood how it worked.  I think that if it is done right that it could be an invaluble tool to help students, especially in math.


  1. I definitely think this is the right time to make the jump to more technology in the classroom. This generation of teachers are ready and more prepared to learn and live up to the expectations needed for a DreamBox, personalized education. I think it would be a lot harder for teachers who have been teaching for a long time and not ready for the technology leap. I agree that it would be a great resource for students who use it right, and a lot of that would have to come from the structure of the class and the teacher. It would take a lot of work to implement such an individualized classroom.

    Great job!

  2. I agree that this use of technology by a select few students is understandable, but we have to remember that not all students have the proper training or education on how to use technology, Don't get me wrong, I'm sure most of our students at least know how to work a computer, or an I-phone, but what if they don't? How do we as their teachers close that gap? Think about it, there are teachers in your school who couldn't use an I-phone if you showed them, and they would pay you not to. if this is true of the adults in our schools, could it be true of our students to? If so we have to examine why they are so reluctant to use technology. Is it an education issue? Do they truly not know how to use it? or are they just being lazy? Do they prefer the paper and pencil option? Are they scared they might loose their work? or submit it to the wrong place?

    I think the answer is that with the proper education, and a little forgiveness, these students will become less reluctant to technology, most of the time, we just have to unlock our students and turn them on to why these pieces of technology are so important to their education. With a little research and some tinkering around with our phones, we would be able to blow students away with the capability they have in the palm of their hands, but we have to be the one to light the torch.

  3. Tony, I completely understand your concerns regarding the use of technology in the classroom. As the quote stated, the integration of technology in the classroom increases their engagement and participation. I believe when students are more engaged in the classroom, they are more inclined to participate and truly learn. I don't doubt that the use of technology increases "buy-in" from students, however, I think the main concern is what is the proper way to utilize technology in the classroom. I believe those questions are still sought to be answered. I believe that each student responds to technology differently. In an age where students are enraptured with their technological devices, I believe using that to the advantage of the classroom is an avenue worth exploring.