Over the past few months, you may have heard some chatter about personalized learning through adaptive technology. Not surprising.
The Brookings Institution referred to personalized learning as a major movement in education. Murray (2017) stated that colleges and universities are increasingly seeking ways to customize curriculum and learner outcomes via adaptive technology to match student-needs based on unique learning profiles.
And as with any new development in higher education, faculty is chiming in with, “Can I use this for my courses?” “…and, how?” The short answer? Absolutely. The longer answer? Read on to find out how.
Assessment is a general term for a broad range of processes for testing, measuring, and evaluating performance. Standardized, alternative, and self-assessment methods are used for the purposes of replacement, diagnosis of performance, and provision of formative and summative evaluation.
The National Educational Technology Plan (2017) states: “As technology gives us the capability to improve on long-standing assessment approaches, our public education system has a responsibility to use the information we collect during assessment in ways that can have the greatest impact on learning. This means using assessments that ask students to demonstrate what they have learned in meaningful ways. And students and parents know there is more to a sound education than picking the right answer on a multiple-choice question or answering an extended-response question outside of the context of students’ daily lives. All learners deserve assessments that better reflect what they know and are able to do with that knowledge.”
When planning a technology project or initiative in a K-12 school environment, there are four pieces that need consideration for a successful outcome. Every project does not necessarily involve all four pieces, but certainly some of them. Those four pieces are the school network, educational software or web resources, hardware or equipment, and professional development or training.
1. The School Network. The school network supports an enormous number of applications and services such as access to the Internet, video, audio, shared use of files and documents and storage servers, printers, and fax machines, and use of email and VOIP phones. This formidable collection of technology requires skilled network management personnel to keep it all running reliably. Being a school network administrator is literally the saying, Jack of All Trades, Master of None. A good network admin needs to know a little about a lot of things.
With the recent advent of online assessments, the capabilities of the school network have come to the forefront in many school districts across the nation (Cavanaugh, 2014). In November 2014, President Obama addressed school bandwidth issues during the inaugural superintendent summit on digital learning and future readiness. At the summit, President Obama stated, “Right now, fewer than 40 percent of public schools have high-speed Internet in their classrooms; less than half. It means that in most American schools, teachers cannot use the cutting-edge software and programs that are available today. They literally don’t have the bandwidth” (The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 2014). In 2014, President Obama unveiled the ConnectED Initiative (ConnectED). At the unveiling, President Obama stated that many schools have the same bandwidth as an average American home but with many more users.