Words By:
Laurie Medina
Customer Success
Posted On:
March 14, 2016

Technology Benefits Children

There is no child that is the same as the next. Each is unique and requires an individualized plan in order to give them the best learning experience. Every child learns and understands the world differently. Having a system that adapts to your child’s needs is essential to their success. It is difficult to make such a plan so particularly tailored for every child. Your child’s learning should be personalized and should adapt to their needs in order to ensure they are set up for success. It seems practically everything else in our modern world is made-to-order, so why shouldn’t education be. Shouldn’t education be the first thing we try to make specific to someone? The uniformity of a classroom and lesson plan is outdated and makes learning almost impossible for any child needing special attention or instruction. The conventional classroom is not as effective anymore as it potentially could be.

Personalized and Adaptive Learning through Technology

Learning is complex; it is in no way linear. There should be no limitations to how your child can learn. The restrictions put in place in the classroom are detrimental to a student’s education. It seems that today we turn toward technology more and more to solve some of our most simple and complex problems. The conventional way of organizing children by age group just doesn’t cut it. A child may be mentally farther ahead or farther behind then their peers. They should not be expected to conform to the level of their classmates if they do not have the capability to do so. These limitations on a child’s education do not provide them with the best learning experience possible and may even hinder their future. It is unfair for them to struggle in an area and then have the class continue on to the next subject. Wherever your child is with their learning, they deserve a curriculum specific to their needs.

New technology assesses how a student learns, their habits and how their needs can be met. So, what is personalized or adaptive learning? By definition, it is a computer-based or online education system that alters how material is presented to a student created due to their performance and learning needs. Programs have become so intelligent that they can conform to the child’s needs as they work through a lesson. The technology is actually adapting constantly to give the child their best learning experience possible. As they work through the lesson, they are given the best plan that is suited to the way they think. Learning with the aid of or primarily with technology is a nationally funded plan. It is like having a teacher focus on one student at a time, which is not a possibility when the curriculum is not tailored to each student. A child is more likely to give up when the work is too difficult for them and they are not receiving proper feedback. When the work load is to easy, they do not try hard enough and eventually will not end up learning as much as they good. It is crucial to find a middle ground to this learning, which is exactly what adaptive learning can provide.

This program is also helpful in developing a student’s independence and confidence. Students will have more control of their learning and therefore will learn more quickly and more effectively. When a student is able to understand their mistakes immediately after making them, they have less time to forget why that mistake was made. This allows them to correct it quickly. This also places more responsibility on the student preparing them for the future. They receive feedback that allows them to go back and change how they’ve learned something in order to be more successful at it the next time. Personalized learning without the use of technology has been attempted in the past. Unfortunately, teachers simply could not keep up with the demands of every student’s needs. Students cannot all be treated as one. Each child is different in more ways than just how they learn. Everything else is tailored to their specific need; therefore education becoming personalized is no surprise. Without technology, some students ended up falling behind because the conventional learning style is not advanced enough to be an asset for them.

It is important to keep in mind that adaptive learning systems vary. They have different features and elements. That is what makes them so personalized, the fact that not a single program will be the same for any child. The program is customized and tailored to the need of the student. The curriculum can be altered to occur in different sequences. Depending on how the student learns best, the hardest lesson or easiest can be put first. The pace at which a student learns is essential to their success. A benefit of adaptive learning is that the pace is adjusted to the student based on their strengths and weaknesses on a subject. The student will only be able to continue with a steady pace if they master subjects. If for a minute the student begins to fall behind, they will be asked to complete a section again. The program also takes the students previous knowledge into consideration. This way, if they already know a lesson fully, they will not have to repeat it. On the other hand, if they struggled with a previous lesson, they will be able to go back and re-learn it until they feel comfortable enough to move on. It also allows for gaming to become more strategy oriented for the student.

Using Technology to Encourage and Challenge Students

Children now are constantly using technology, but most of the time in not the most productive of ways. Some children spend hours playing video games, but do not understand basic computer programs. This allows them to use technology to the fullest and shows them a new approach to technological engagement. This promotes a positive way to use technology for the right reasons. These programs may even include a live tutor that suggests how to solve the problems they are struggling with. Instead of telling the student directly what to fix, it gives them a chance to try to figure it out for themselves first. The last step in an adaptive program is to analyze the student’s answers. It determines which answers were the most helpful in understating where the child needs to improve. As the student is making decisions and solving problems, the technology is already a step ahead analyzing how their answers affect their future lesson plans.

The implementation of adaptive learning in no way gets rid of the teacher. A teacher is and always will play an essential role in a student’s education. The technology is there to aid the teacher and make it easier for them to recognize the problems their students face with specific material. The teacher is necessary in providing support and guidance for the students. Teachers are also the one’s who give the student feedback and asses their progress through the program. They are able to adjust the difficulty level and answer any questions a student may have. They also have more time to give direct attention to those who struggle the most in the classroom. Technology, although extremely effective, can at times be impersonal and a teacher’s job can never be replaced. Technology is meant to assist, not control.

Benefits of Adaptive or Personalized Learning

Personalized learning provides some great overall benefits for students and teachers. A summary of the main benefits:

Improving comprehension- The pace is set to the students individual learning needs. This is different from the typical classroom because now children will be able to move at their own speed and learn the way that is most effective for them.

Faster and more efficient- Students are given individual attention and feedback throughout the entire process. This saves time in the long run. When a teacher does not have to answer the questions of multiple confused students, they will have more time to assist students that are having the most struggles. The teachers will also have ample time to adjust the difficulty level for the student.

Involves the students- Students are more likely to become better decision makers through personalized learning. They are given the freedom to recognize their problems and see where they need improvement. This helps them to become quick and logical thinkers, which sets them up for success in the future.

Promotes multiple abilities- As the student learns, they are mastering and understanding what they know. They do not have to spend extra time on abilities they already feel confident in. Students are able to utilize the abilities they are best at, and grow in abilities they lack.

Adaptive learning is much more than a student learning how to use a computer. It is an opportunity to set them up for success for their future. It is ideal for every student to get the most out of their learning. In today’s generation, schools are continuously moving toward further uses of technology. In a digital age, it is impossible to avoid technology, simply because it affects our everyday lives. Using it to the best of your ability will help you and your child become high-tech thinkers.

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Laurie Medina  -  Customer Success

Laurie is a recent graduate from the University of South Florida; she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies. Before moving to the US, she lived in South Korea and Honduras. Laurie is experienced in Human Resources and Customer Service. She loves to volunteer for non-profits, travel the world and try new foods.