Genius Hour 4: Why and How

personal

First, I am going to cover the main reasons WHY teachers personalize learning in a classroom. First off, students in a classroom come from all different backgrounds, languages, cultures, and learning levels. A teacher, specifically Early Childhood, must get a feel for each student’s ability in each subject. With a wide range of abilities, the teacher must begin at the starting point for each student in order to get real progress. Second off, personalized learning is seen as an opportunity to express student voice, which allows the students to influence the learning objectives and techniques within the classroom. This is vital to each child’s freedom, motivation, and academic success. Personalized learning makes it possible for each student to improve at their own level based on their own interests and efforts.

Referring back to my question, “How does using technology guide Early Childhood teachers to personalized learning for students?” I decided to focus more on specific methods of teaching. My research now addresses the HOW to personalized learning. A study from an Educational Technology Research and Development source used technology and goal-based approach learning for a classroom. Personalized learning was the main topic for this article, and “to cater for differentiated learning, teachers need to address the three characteristics of students: readiness, interest, and learning profile for each student.” (2) Readiness is the overall level and understanding of each student, interest is that spark of curiosity, and learning profile includes the choices on learning style. It is important to note that even when the students are more in control of their own learning, they still are involved in collaborating equally with teachers and students. Each of these three should be taken into account for an Early Childhood teacher before any assignment or project is given.

Since there are many methods to personalize learning, I’m going to give a few essentials, such as technology, experiments, goals, groups, and  field trips. Technology is the largest influence in my opinion, as it is also growing rapidly in our generation. Schools are allowing BYOD and assignments are largely centering on computers or cell phones. Experiments and field trips go together in testing out a child’s interests: What did they find exciting or engaging? Goals increase “intrinsic motivation,” which makes personalized learning easier to capture the attention of a classroom (3). Groups based on ability and shared interests are effective in the way that collaboration is used for various projects such as research ideas, PowerPoints, GoogleDocs, or videos.  Another finding discussed a specific classroom where many types of learning options were given to the children. “Learning menus are the latest way to personalize the learning experience for students, joining classes that are blended with online course work or project-based lessons.” (3)

“The increasing focus on student-centered learning is driving the development of new technologies that provide more choice and allow for differentiated instruction.”(1)

(1) http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf

(2) http://web.b.ebscohost.com.proxy-remote.galib.uga.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=283e2b29-97e2-4338-8afa-1672a492cc5d%40sessionmgr110&vid=1&hid=124

(3) http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/01/20/students-pick-style-of-learning.html

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Author: Anna Beasley

Early Childhood Education. UGA.

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