We are at the mid-year mark (Spring Break…woohoo!) and it’s time to really look at how students are progressing. With the challenges of school closures, it is important to know how much students have been able to retain and identify the learning goals that still need to be met. This knowledge can lead to personalized instruction that is tailored to each student, meeting their academic needs, strengths, and interests. Not sure where to begin? Here are some quick tips for increasing personalized learning:
- Help students set personal learning goals by guiding them to see academically where they are now and where they need to be by the end of the year. By setting realistic goals, students take ownership of their learning and understand they are accountable for any progress they make. Encourage students to focus on 2-3 goals at a time and once those have been met, add 2-3 more goals.
- Set aside time for one-on-one student conferences to set and discuss their individual goals. After students have outlined their goals on a doc, work together to create a plan of action to best meet the goals. These one-on-one conferences help students identify their abilities and potential; they will feel valued and understand that they can contribute positively to the classroom and the world beyond it.
- Allow students to make choices on how they will meet their learning goals. For example, to show that they can solve multiplication problems involving multi-digit numbers, students can choose to complete a worksheet, write story problems with multi-digit numbers, or record a video showing the steps to solve a problem. By allowing choice, students understand that they are accountable for their own goals.
- Incorporate technology that allows for differentiation of instruction, thus providing students opportunities to engage in learning in different ways. For instance, instead of providing the traditional paper quiz, allow students to complete interactive quizzes using an online platform where they will receive immediate feedback on the skills being assessed. After they analyse their individual scores, they can review their learning goals and determine if adjustments are necessary. They will continue to ‘own’ their learning. Again, work one-on-one with each student to determine the best plan of action moving forward.
- Include project-based learning projects so students can explore topics that interests them, and they want to learn more about. This learning autonomy will motivate them to engage more fully in their learning, while you continue to facilitate instruction on research methods, strategies for gathering evidence and information, ways to communicate and collaborate with others, and how to use technology to share their completed projects.
A one-size-fits-all approach to instruction will not meet the needs of all your students, and with the move to integrating more technology and flipped learning opportunities, personalized learning is critical to helping students stay motivated and successful. Collaborating with colleagues who have successfully implemented personalized learning with their classrooms will certainly help you feel more comfortable and gain confidence. Try a couple of the tips mentioned, reflect on what worked and did not, and make the changes needed before implementing another tip. The effort and time will be well worth it when you see your students more engaged and focused on their progress.
Boxlight has interactive learning solutions that support differentiated and personalized learning such as MimioStudio™ classroom software and MimioConnect® blended learning platform. To learn more, go to boxlight.com.