Innovations in education technology have allowed K-12 and higher education institutions to challenge the status quo and restructure the use of class time. Blended learning has been implemented in classrooms around the world, changing how students learn, and how educators teach by offering more flexible learning approaches with the introduction of technology, engaging digital content, and the use of sophisticated learning platforms. This flexibility enables a more personalized approach to each student’s learning style and skill levels.
Implementing blended learning in the classroom means offering a hybrid approach to teaching and learning. Allowing students to learn online, whether in the classroom or remotely, facilitates more engagement during faculty instruction and better application of that content in real-world situations. This also gives students the opportunity to explore the areas that interest them on their own. Because every student is unique and masters concepts at a different speed, educators are challenged to juggle the range of competencies and learning styles among their classrooms. In order to address these variations, educators seek to provide individual support and supplemental work to struggling learners who take longer to master certain subjects and offer increasingly more challenging work to the high achievers. Addressing this need has spawned the advent of individualized learning, and created the need for technological tools designed to help educators keep track of each student’s progress and monitor how they are working towards content mastery. “Many fans of education technology believe that specialized technology is the most effective way to deliver ‘differentiated’ instruction that is ‘personalized’ to a large number of learners, with diverse backgrounds and learning styles” (EdSurge, Individualized Learning).
While many students may already realize the areas where they need to improve, most need direction from an experienced professional encouraging them to do the work necessary to overcome their challenges in order to reach their long term goals. This is where the creation of an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) can be of significant value. Articulating goals is the first step toward achieving them. A reportable forms tool gives educators a means to personalize the education experience for each student. Easy to use communication tools facilitate the scheduling of one-on-one time between a student and counselor to determine and commit to realistic goals. Together they can analyze the student’s historical SIS data such as academic achievement and performance, including grades and test scores while taking into account the student’s passions, interests, and dreams for the future. Determining areas of strength and weakness or underachievement, as well as acknowledging life situations such as jobs, family commitments, and/or extracurriculars all go into creating an individually tailored learning plan specific to each student’s personal needs and skills.
Individualized learning empowers students to excel in areas they are most interested in and also indicates where resources are needed when they are experiencing difficulties. Offering online technologies in the classroom provides the best of both worlds, giving each student the power to learn on their own through a virtual platform while optimizing face-to-face teacher instruction for areas where they need individual support. Digital classroom management presents new challenges, but having a system to store student data, track academic progress, and support individual needs and goals can offer educators the resources and the capability to ensure that every student will succeed.
Contact BocaVox at 954-453-9705 to learn more about Maestro SIS, a student information system with tools for competency and personalization to help faculty manage students working at different paces, providing constant measures of engagement and success.