As state departments around the country attempt to find solutions to substantial budget cuts, one reoccurring proposal has been to increase the use of technology in the classroom. As Sharon Otterman of the NY Times reports, New York City’s schools are planning to increase technology spending. As Otterman explains, “the surge is part of an effort to move toward more online learning and computer-based standardized tests.” With many states facing severe budget cuts the possibility of adding more teachers appears dim; and many states are finding that moving toward technology based personalized learning systems is an increasingly attractive option.
We’ve written before on the advances in computer based personalized learning platforms and the support they provide educators. As the number of enrolled students continues to climb – while the number of additional teachers declines – personalized learning platforms offer a unique advantage. Personalized learning platforms facilitate instruction without adding to many educators’ already heavy work load. Utilities, like our own Oasis, allow students to engage in targeted, self-directed practice and even monitor their own growth through real-time assessments. Plus, web-based utilities offer the promise of individualization – students are targeted at their own ability level. In addition to true individualization, web tools offer the advantage of consistent availability. Utilization is not tied to a particular classroom or the availability of a teacher. Instead, students may access the tools at a time and location of their choosing. As technology proliferates in classrooms across the nation, we look forward to seeing the various ways in which instructional tools will supplement the work of classroom educators and augment instructional time for all students.