Finding the Silver Lining Among the Cuts: Personalized Learning Platforms

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.

Education Evolves: Technology Transforms the Classroom

It goes without saying that the Internet has exerted a tremendous influence on today’s classrooms.  Even the way students receive their curriculum, for example, has undergone significant transformation. Here’s Harold Pollard discussing the alternative styles of teaching and learning his children encounter on a daily basis:

The way he is learning math is a lot different than the way I did. It’s interactive, entertaining, and it’s a competition. The course is online, available whenever and wherever, and it allows him to compete with his classmates, his schoolmates, and other schools nationwide.

Here at MetaMetrics®we’re making use of technology and working to provide teachers and parents with useful, interactive tools that help support instruction.  Lexile Find a Book, for example, allows educators and students to select books at their current Lexile reading level, and to further refine their results based on their areas of interest.  This online tool allows parents and students to create customized reading lists year round.  Find a Book then allows parents and educators to cross reference these customized reading lists with public library catalogs – making reading material available across all socio-economic levels.  Pollard, in fact, references his own use of the Find a Book site. He uses this tool to find reading material suitable and challenging for his sons:

The boys are also able to determine books based on their reading levels. Their teachers know the boys’ reading levels based on assessment tests administered online at school. Then, using an online guide at the Lexile Framework for Reading at Lexile.com, their teachers can recommend books for the boys based on that. Additionally, this same online guide allows my wife and me to determine whether certain titles are appropriate for the boys’ reading levels.

Pollard, like many parents these days, see the value and opportunity present in this increasingly digital age.  Our students have more access to information than ever before. To read more about the work MetaMetrics® is doing to be a part of this evolution, visit us at Lexile.com and Quantiles.com.

MetaMetrics is an educational measurement organization. Our renowned psychometric team develops scientific measures of student achievement that link assessment with targeted instruction to improve learning.