Personalized Learning with iPads

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.-Dr. Seuss

How better to say it than this? One size that fits all doesn’t work for learners today. Personalized learning is the tailoring of  curriculum and learning environments to meet the needs and aspirations of individual learners, often with extensive use of technology in the process. Personalization may differ from differentiation in that it affords the learner a degree of choice about what is learned, when it is learned and how it is learned. This may not indicate unlimited choice, since learners will still have targets to be met. However, it may provide learners the opportunity to learn in ways that suit their individual learning styles and multiple intelligences.

Personalizing learning for each learner means they take ownership of their learning. Let’s take advantage of the iPad’s ability to challenge, engage and motivate different learners.  Students can often work on different levels within the same app.  As I look at what each student needs, based on assessments and observation, I am able to direct them to certain apps or certain activities within apps.  Teachers should be able to implement multiple paths to knowledge- having a variety of ways to help a diverse group of students learn rigorous standards.

Working in flexible, small groups for guided reading, I take notes as I see areas where students need practice.  One student may need help with word families and rhyming words, where another may need help with medial vowel sounds.  My top reading group may be ready to incorporate reading response journals using Pages as they read.  This would never be possible in a whole group instructional setting.  Having the technology of the iPads at our fingertips,  it is easier to differentiate instruction, find all opportunities for remediation to help struggling learners, and  provide enrichment to challenge the advanced student.

With iPads, we can create a Pandora Radio-like effect in education.  Each student can get a variety of educational experiences, engage in topics and activities of interest, and learners have the responsibility and ownership to choose how they learn, when they learn and where they learn.

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2 thoughts on “Personalized Learning with iPads

  1. Hi Kristi, I am a kindergarten teacher in a classroom with just about 1:3 iPads. This is my second year with iPads in the classroom and I am trying to use them more effectively to personalize learning. Can you suggest any great literacy or math apps that can be used by students on different levels, as you mentioned in your post? Thanks!

    • Annette
      There are some apps that get more difficult as the child’s level of skill increases. One of those is Splash Math. There are other apps where you can put in the information you want the child to work with such as Word Wizard. More importantly, those creation apps such as Book Creator, Explain Everything, Pic Collage…all of these give the children blank slate to completely create their content and demonstrate learning.

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