Here are some examples of how technology can improve student engagement with learners of all types.
The old education model is quickly coming to end. Rising concerns about ensuring each learner is connecting to content have encouraged school technology advocates to promote next generation education technology for its ease of use, accessibility and teaching tools that enable better interaction between teacher and student. However, when we talk about reaching learners at every level, what types of students are we talking about exactly? In this post, we look at a cross-section of students who represent diverse types of learning challenges and how a school VLE can enable teachers and parents to become more involved with the personalised learning path of each.
The laggard: creating a personalised approach
Students that are lagging behind can sometimes fall through the cracks in a traditional classroom setting. Even when their engagement with learning material can appear acceptable in class, but quizzes and tests will reveal that they’re not fully absorbing the material. While there could be many reasons for their struggles, the problem with quizzes, however, is that they might only reveal these issues once a week, or only once during the entire module. As the class moves onwards, the lagging student hasn’t fully caught up.
From within their school’s VLE, teachers can create a unique learning path for each student. They can build quizzes into the student’s journey that can trigger automated content to that student. So if a student scores below a certain threshold, a teacher can have remedial study material, already pre-loaded, which can be automatically sent to the student.
The accelerated learner: keeping them engaged
While the lagging student may need additional practice, the accelerated learner can easily become bored if they aren’t stimulated. Teachers have always been challenged with balancing the unique needs of both students who require more practice, with those who require more stimulation. Sometimes, it’s simply not efficient to address the needs of both at the same time.
Teachers who anticipate the needs of students can keep learning meaningful by have additional material ready to be released should a student finish an online project ahead of time. The peer discussion group within a school’s VLE can be useful to these students who might want to connect with peers who are at the same level. Students can develop a stronger sense of community with each other and be encouraged to take these interactions off-line. At the same time, teachers can monitor these interactions and intervene when appropriate.
No two learners are the same
Not all students consume information in the same way. A student may be more proficient at home, for example. However, in traditional settings, evidence of this type of learning is more difficult to monitor and assess. Certain types of content such as videos or pictures can easily be shared in class. But once a student goes home, it’s important that they have access to the same class content there as well. Engagement with content can be different for each student and it takes a lot of work to be able to capture evidence of engagement and learning.
Teachers need the ability to provide different students with different avenues to learning. This can include differentiated content, specific process, higher-frequency assessment, etc. These students may also need to be able to show their work in a variety of ways. In the classroom, as well as through voice or video recordings, personal reflections done at home, photos of work, etc. A school VLE can provide a simple interface for teachers to not only manage the type of content they distribute to each learner, but they can also see the work that students are doing.
The shy learner: getting parents involved
Studies have shown that the more parents are engaged and involved with their child’s education, the more likely their child will engage with course material. However, it’s sometimes hard for parents to discover what level of engagement their child is at. Parent-teacher interviews can happen once a semester, which leaves a great deal of time in-between for students to become disengaged with course work and fall off the radar.
A parent portal allows access to the student progress, teacher feedback, and all the evidence of the learning that students are doing in class and at home. Parents can have an overview of their child’s progress and intervene when they think it’s appropriate. Shy students may not reveal their troubles, and parents may want to keep a closer watch on this type of student. A school VLE with Intelligent Agents can trigger an email to parents to address situations in real time and provide insight that might otherwise go unnoticed.
The distance learner: providing accessibility
Students with special needs can miss out on vital in-class programming. It’s not always easy for these students to guarantee their seat time. Perhaps they have health-related absences, or other life-enhancing activities that coincide with school.
Online learning tools allow students to receive the same attention from their teachers as they would, were they in the physical class. The modern-day student can have any type of life circumstance that can affect the number of hours they’re capable of attending school. Whether it’s an athlete training for the Olympics, or a student with Cystic Fibrosis needing life-enhancing procedures, every student deserves the same level of education.
A school VLE provides the solution to meet all needs
Technology in the classroom is nothing new. However, teachers want to do more than simply put a computer in front of their students. They want to allow students to be continually learning, whether in the classroom, at home, on the bus, during snow days, on class trips, on holidays and more. A virtual learning environment is more than just technology, it’s a revolution in teaching. It allows teachers and parents to have deeper access to student learning. It provides students with more accessible material, viewable on any device, such as PDFs, videos, jpgs, and discussion group participation. The VLE gives teachers more confidence that they’re attending to each student in a timely manner and in a personal, more meaningful way.
Whatever the style of learning, education technology has the tools to ensure that students are engaging with their learning material. And as the needs of elementary students evolve into the needs of secondary students, it’s essential to have the tools that can grow and evolve along with them. Discover what a VLE can do for your students and see why there is a trend towards using these tools to engage with each unique learner, regardless of learning style.