In the past two years, school districts have spent $41 million on adaptive learning tech — an amount that has tripled since 2013. According to the report from Noodle Markets, about 9 percent of that spending was on professional development for teachers, reports EdWeek Market Brief.
Adaptive learning, defined by Arkansas State University’s education department, is “a series of highly complex algorithms that draw on an enormous data set to process a series of decision trees that — outwardly, at least — present a finely tuned instructional methodology that more readily matches the student’s ability to process and retain instructional material.”
By using these adaptive learning tools that add a component of automation to teaching, ASU indicates that educators are able to more easily offer personalized learning and help students learn at their own pace.
Popular Classroom Tools Facilitate Adaptive Learning
While schools increasingly invest in specific adaptive learning tech, they also are finding ways to use tools they already have to help personalize learning with data.
On her YouTube channel, former technology coach Jennifer Bengele shows how educators can simply add page breaks to Google Forms to more easily add individualized feedback and support. Based on the answers students give, the form can direct them to a video or link for remediation or a more difficult question if they are ready to move on.
A Proper Infrastructure Supports Personalized Education
Districts like Arlington Public Schools in Virginia have made big strides using digital tools and data-driven decision-making to create a more agile, flexible learning environment for their students. Their success in these initiatives has partially been facilitated by a good digital framework.
EdTech reports that APS expanded its wireless framework to a high-speed Aruba wireless network with one or more access points in every classroom. The district also rolled out a Juniper Networks router capable of supporting 90,000 computing devices.
In addition to actual infrastructure, personalized learning initiatives are made successful by intellectual infrastructure, in the form of personalized development. A recent study found that teachers who were struggling with personalized learning initiatives weren’t receiving the proper support and training from their districts.