happy elementary school kids raising their hands in a classroom

3 unexpected ways tech can humanize learning

If you want to make students know how important they are, use tech to personalize learning

[Editor’s noteThis article appeared on the ISTE blog on Jan. 23, 2019. Find more posts like this one at iste.org/explore.]

My biggest goal as a teacher is to make every one of my students know how important they are and how invested I am in their learning and well-being. I want students to enjoy learning and to walk out of my classroom with a new level of confidence.

Technology allows me to do this because it lets me bring a whole new level of compassion to my teaching. Here are three ways I use technology to personalize learning for all of my students.

1. Shifting from content delivery to identifying and addressing student needs

One of the first ways I used technology for learning was to flip my classroom. That is, instead of delivering content during class and giving exercises as homework, I had students learn the content at home by watching videos with embedded quizzes. Using Edpuzzle, I was able to turn a passive video into an active learning experience for my students.

The embedded quizzes enabled me to view student’s responses. I could instantly see the number of times students watched each portion of the video as well as when each student watched and completed the assignment. The detailed information I received about how students were processing the material — before they even walked into my classroom—was transformative.

Related: 10 things I do to boost my students’ self-esteem

Armed with this data, I could shift my focus in the classroom from delivering the content to addressing the questions that students were actually struggling with. Not only were these analytics powerful indicators for me, the instant feedback also helped students gauge their understanding as they took in the information. This is when I first realized I could empower students to take ownership of their learning. I now use Edpuzzle to engage my students in all video content I ask them to view.

2. Creating a safe environment for all students to participate in class discussions

All teachers know that some students are vocal and shine when they are called on to share their work, while other students wilt with embarrassment. As an introvert myself, I am well aware of how the traditional classroom dynamic can be painfully uncomfortable. I remember the almost paralyzing fear I often felt when I had to respond to questions on the spot. I am an analyzer and like to take my time thinking things through.

To address this situation, I again turned to technology. The first time I saw what Pear Deck could do, I knew it would be just the tool to allow all students to contribute their work without feeling put on the spot. Pear Deck is an interactive presentation tool that allows students to engage with a lesson from their own devices.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.