During this week’s module we looked at two educator standards from ISTE. The first was standard 5 “Designer: Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability” and standard 7 “Analyst: Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals”. After reading these standards I was drawn to the designer standard and I wanted to know “What digital tools are available for Kindergarten students that allows for personalized learning?”
With this question in mind I started my quest to find an answer, that’s when I found the article “TOP 9 MUST HAVE PERSONALIZED LEARNING APPS, TOOLS, AND RESOURCES” by Matthew Lynch from The Tech Edvocate. In this article the author lists 9 different personalized learning apps that are available to teachers, students, and parents.
What is personalized learning and what does it look like:
What is personalized learning? It can look a little different in every school, in every classroom and for each student. Teachers create lessons that are challenging without being too hard, and that suit the individual interests of each child. When teachers face 25 or 30 students, if they decide to teach in the conventional way of standing in front of the room and lecturing, then they must provide a lesson that will benefit the majority of the room — the average student. That leaves behind those who are below or above expectations. The best teachers find ways to help those students, but it’s a tall order. It takes a superhuman amount of work to find lessons that fit each student every single day. Educational computer programs can identify specific weaknesses in a child’s skills, such as understanding analogies or adding fractions. Teachers can review these outcomes daily, then assign lessons to each student according to his/her needs — for the next time they log on. The computer system does this by constantly assessing how a particular student answers questions and what kind of lesson most engages that student. In a classroom personalized learning can take on different forms. In a kindergarten classroom students might use a math program during rotations that adjusts itself to each students learning level and helps students grasp skills they are missing. For older grades it might look like giving the students an array of different, personalized tasks to do. However a teacher stuctures a student’s personalized learning I think its important to remember all students shouldn’t be required to show their learning the same way and digital media open up a host of possibilities beyond the traditional essay, poster, report, or quiz.
Digital Tools for Personalized Learning
According to TOP 9 MUST HAVE PERSONALIZED LEARNING APPS, TOOLS, AND RESOURCES” by Matthew Lynch from The Tech Edvocate the following are the top apps available for personalized learning in the classroom:
Knewton has been around for a while compared to other personalized learning resources. The company uses learning analytics to track past performance and modify future curricular experiences based on that performance. Knewton actually provides the course materials and gives recommendations to both students as what to study and to the teacher as what to help students study.
Classkick is an iPad app that allows the teacher to see all of the students’ screens as they are working on a problem. Teachers who are in the classroom can use this data to tailor the help they give students. Teachers who are online can use the data to complete curated blog posts for the class based on where students are having trouble and can set-up individual help sessions with students.
The current national math competencies expect students to be able to solve problems and use critical thinking. This can’t happen before basic fluency is achieved. Reflex is a platform that teaches math fluency using games. As students complete games, they are marked as competent for math facts that they have memorized. Students are notified of daily time by a green circle that fills up when they have spent enough time on Reflex. Teachers and parents get weekly reports on student progress.
There is a saying that the best way to know if you know something is to explain it to someone else. Explain Everything does that and more. It is an excellent tool for creating and designing presentations, forcing students to articulate their understanding, and collaborating with their peers.
Students have significant variations in their reading ability. It is impossible for students to understand the meaning if they are reading at a level outside what they can do by themselves. Newsela affords a personalized reading experience with information from reputable sources such as the History Channel and The Guardian. Analytics are provided to the teacher based on completion and reading comprehension.
Smart Sparrow is a platform that allows for content creation, assessments, and adaptive authoring. Each student will receive an individualized learning experience based on their interactions with the software.
A well-designed personalized learning system focuses on mastery-based learning. In mastery-based learning,students stay with a topic or level until they demonstrate competency. RealizeIt brings mastery-based learning into a personalized environment where students are presented with content at their level and do not progress until mastery has been demonstrated.
Self-regulation is a difficult skill to master. It requires subcomponents such as metacognition and time management. Summit Learning is an entire solution for personalized learning that ultimately helps students be able to be self-directed learners. Students learn content through authentic problems and projects.
9. Class Dojo
Students need personalized learning when it comes to classroom management in addition to instruction. Class Dojo provides teachers with a platform to track student behavior and assign positive and negative remarks. In addition, teachers can send instant messages to specific parents and share photos from the class. Students can choose their own avatar.
Personalized Learning through a Kindergarten Lens
Of all of the recommended digital tools for personalized learning Class Dojo seems to be great fit for a Kindergarten classroom. Class Dojo isn’t just for classroom management, students can create digital learning portfolios. With these portfolios teachers can encourage students for any skill or value — whether it’s working hard, being kind, helping others or something else. This program also allows for students to have voice by allowing them to showcase and share their learning by adding photos and videos to their own portfolios. One of the many benefits of Class Dojo for a Kindergarten classroom is how easy it is for students to post to their portfolios.
Once students have posted in their portfolio’s the teacher can review their work and can then give instant feedback to students.
The video from Class Dojo’s website gives a quick peek of how it is used throughout a classroom and shows different features that can be used.
Dobo, N. (2017, January 25). The Growing Role of Technology in Personalized Learning. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/47376/the-growing-role-of-technology-in-personalized-learning
Iste.org. (2017) ISTE Standards for Educators. (Retrieved on 2018, May 4th) from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators
Lynch, M. (2017, August 13). Top 9 Must Have Personalized Learning Apps, Tools, and Resources. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from http://www.thetechedvocate.org/top-9-must-personalized-learning-apps-tools-resources/