Everyone has a different definition of what personalized learning means. My understanding is that we should encourage every learner to take ownership of their learning through voice and choice and understand their “just right” learning level for optimal learning and in a safe, comfortable environment. Mobile technologies are a tool, that if leveraged correctly, can make the learning on this journey quite powerful.
Where to start?
There is no exact road map to follow on the journey of personalizing in your class. It is not a singular program that can be taught during a professional development session. Many of the teachers I work with began by morphing their learning space to reflect the vision of their students. Changing their environment made the space more complimentary to utilizing mobile devices around the classroom.
What devices are the best?
This is an impossible question to answer with an actual brand of technology. The answer is that it depends on the task you are trying to accomplish. Chromebooks are great for GAFE schools that collaborate and really utilize Google tools for collaboration and eportfolios. iPads are powerful devices when used to demonstrate learning through creation. An example of this workflow being an art student that uses the camera to take pictures of their artwork, edits them using PicCollage or Pixlr and then uses Adobe Voice to add audio and music to create their culminating portfolio. My suggestion is to salt and pepper your space with different tools. Then, you will have access to the best tool when it’s needed.
Many schools do not have a budget to go 1:1. This is not something that should hinder your attempt to personalize in your classroom. It creates an opportunity for students to help brainstorm solutions for their space and the tools available to them. Learning to share and collaborate with the tools allows them all an anytime, anywhere learning opportunity.
How can I use these tools to assess my students?
There are so many tools at our disposal that it makes the choice difficult sometimes. Google forms is an easy way to check in with students when you are a GAFE school district. Kahoot! and Quzzizz are fun ways to evaluate learning. Socrative and Infuse Learning are two powerful tools that allow for personalization and easy manipulation of data. Plickers is a great way to collect data when you don’t have 1:1 technology available for your class. Keep in mind that whatever tool you choose to use, consistency is key.
Mobile devices and the apps available can be fun and flashy, but after that wears off, you want the results to be meaningful and accurate so you can use quality data to guide student learning. In the end, you want to find the tool that works best to meet your goal. Sometimes it’s salt, and sometimes, it’s pepper!