What advances in personalized learning do you see in the next couple of years?
Education institutions should find ways to account for both academic and non-academic data when planning personalized learning experiences. Access to educational technology that offers simple translation and visual representation of data so it can be actionable – and quickly have an impact on learning – is essential. Considering social-emotional competency and cultural context will also be necessary to the advancement of personalized learning in schools. According to “Informing Progress: Insights on Personalized Learning Implementation and Effects,” collecting and utilizing non-academic data has been the most challenging part of personalized learning implementation. Finding more effective ways to collect and analyze student data will help teachers make the learning process more authentic and meaningful for students.

How does personalized learning empower students and teachers?
Long gone are the days of students sitting in straight rows passively engaging in the learning process. Personalized learning creates a student-centered environment where students own the how and why of the learning process (Redding, 2014). Personalized learning also empowers teachers with increased access to actionable data that helps to inform planning and instruction. Teachers can elevate their expectations, build stronger connections and accelerate learning by tailoring instruction to the specific needs and interests of each student.

How can personalized learning be brought to underprivileged schools, or those lacking resources?
Budget challenges within school districts impact access to technology resources needed to implement personalized and blended learning. Schools that lack those resources but wish to take steps toward personalized learning can begin with building capacity among teachers. Training and supporting teachers in personalized learning methods will help improve teacher practice. Schools can develop a robust curriculum that ensures that personalized learning values are at the center of teaching and learning. They can also provide students with opportunities for learning outside the traditional classroom including internships, service learning, project-based learning, differentiated staffing and student learning plans. Once these elements are structured, schools and educators can then focus on offering high-quality supplemental technological resources that can be personalized with data – some of which are available at a cost point unimaginable just a few years ago. This is one of the focuses of education.com, as is piquing kids’ curiosity and interest with varied approaches to learning core skills. Greater access to technology is important for students and can help deliver personalized learning more effectively and affordably over time.

What role do teachers play in personalized learning? How can they implement it in their classroom?
Teachers play a vital role in the implementation of personalized learning, as they are responsible for creating student-centered environments and providing students with differentiated learning paths. Teachers can facilitate learning and empower students through the use of data and technology, which helps students to be more knowledgeable about learning outcomes and expectations. In personalized learning environments, teachers go beyond teaching discrete skills and equip students with knowledge that is transferable across multiple domains.

To successfully implement personalized learning, the use of technology can be incredibly beneficial, as the task of creating a student-centered environment can be incredibly time-consuming.  According to the National Education Technology Plan, issued in 2017, "Technology can enable personalized learning or experiences that are more engaging and relevant." Supplemental educational technology resources like education.com can help teachers develop and manage individualized learning plans, scaffold learning, as well as tailor content to fit the needs of each student. Education.com encourages educators to embrace a multi-modal approach with their resources. They provide high-quality digital games and exercises, tools for data collection and inspiration for hands-on learning activities. Teachers can use education.com to easily chart an individualized path for each student by using their progress tracker, recommendation and assignment features. In turn, every student benefits from participating in learning experiences that are engaging, fun and leave them feeling excited to learn more. 

References

Capps, D.K., Crawford, B.A., & Constas, M.A. (2012) A Review of Empirical Literature on Inquiry Professional Development: Alignment with Best Practices and a Critique of the Findings. Journal of Science Teacher Education 23, 291-318.

Pane, J., Steiner, E., Baird, M., Hamilton, L. and Pane, J. 2017. Informing Progress: Insights on Personalized Learning Implementation and Effects.

Redding, S. (2014). Getting personal: The promise of personalized learning. In M. Murphy, S.

Redding, & J. Twyman (Eds.), The handbook on innovations in learning (pp. 113–130). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Retrieved from  http://www.centeril.org/handbook/Getting_Personal_SA.pdf