Empower students with personalized learning

Personalized Learning: Connection Over Content

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In recent years, we have come to recognize that the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to education is no longer effective in meeting the diverse needs and learning styles of our students. Many students feel left behind and disengaged in the traditional classroom setting. It is time for us to prioritize the connection with our students over the content we teach. Their needs must be considered before teaching content.

To address this challenge, personalized learning strategies have gained popularity among educators. This approach tailors instruction to meet the specific needs and interests of individual students, and it’s not just for students who fall under the special education umbrella. It should be the goal for every student.

Going Beyond Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

Personalized learning goes beyond the scope of basic Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) initiatives. While SEL is effective in promoting positive outcomes for students, it often fails to address the unique needs of students who learn differently. We need to incorporate learning strategies and tools that effectively support ALL students.

KaiBot Assistive Learning TechnologyThe Role of Adaptive Technology Tools and Resources

Adaptive technology tools and resources can play a crucial role in personalized learning. Consider products like KaiBot, Readeezy, SuperDville, imagi, and the Career in STEM explorer platform

KaiBot offers adaptive technology features specifically designed for blind students. This technology empowers blind students the opportunity to explore coding, physical computing, and computational thinking through the use of Braille coding cards and adaptive speech technology which informs of the bots coding execution. These expertly designed cards and adaptive speech options convey coding principles tactically and verbally, enabling blind students to understand algorithms through touch and hearing, promoting equal participation and engagement.

Promoting Equal Participation and Engagement

Equal Participation and EngagementReadeezy and SuperDville are programs that focus on students with learning disabilities. Readeezy is a digital book series with interactive features dedicated to young adults who learn differently or are reluctant readers.  This interactive platform allows for breaks, has a read-aloud option, and provides books with content that is challenging enough to help strengthen reading comprehension.

SuperDville, on the other hand, is a Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum designed to empower 7-13-year-olds with learning differences. All SuperDville episodes, lesson plans, and activities are based on child-development research and educational technology best practices, ensuring that the content is age-appropriate, developmentally appropriate, and supports the social-emotional growth of students at various levels.  Developed based on the input and implementation of psychologists, neuroscientists, and teachers, it features authentic actors and real kids with learning differences, fostering peer-to-peer connections and reducing stress, leaving students ready to learn.

High-Performing Students and Social-Emotional Intelligence

We often don’t think about high-performing students struggling with social-emotional intelligence when planning our lessons.  However, as a tenured gifted education teacher, it is my experience that these students often struggle in class to behave as they are expected due to a lack of engagement, interest, or social interaction issues.  Therefore, providing these and other students with tools that help them feel more engaged and empowered can make all the difference in both their mental health and their learning.

Safe Exploration Opportunities for Underserved Populations

For underserved populations, products like imagi and Career in STEM can create safe environments for exploration. Imagi is a coding charm that uses non-threatening pixel art to spark interest in coding among kids aged 8-14+, particularly engaging girls and helping close the gender gap in Tech.

Career in STEM is a unique, inclusive platform designed to help students see the tremendous variety and opportunities in STEM careers.  This platform is particularly important for underserved populations who may not be aware of the opportunities available to them.  It offers over 200 exciting career profiles that are aligned with National Career Clusters with job shadow videos & hands-on activities.  By utilizing inventories, activities, condensed research, data, videos, and lessons middle school and high school students are able to discover careers and build a future they never imagined possible!

Using SMART Goals for Ownership of Learning and Motivation

Incorporating SEL learning is essential for student well-being. Setting SMART goals can enhance this process. SMART goals provide a framework for students to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objectives. Encouraging students to set SMART goals helps them take ownership of their learning, track progress, and remain motivated. You can find more information about setting SMART goals in my article Writing SMART Goals in Education.

Writing SMART Goals in Education

Striving for Educational Transformation

As we strive for educational transformation, let’s remember the unique needs of students who learn differently and prioritize their social-emotional well-being. We need a comprehensive “climate change” in education to create a system that caters to all students, ensuring their success and well-being. By embracing adaptive technology tools, providing social-emotional support, and promoting the use of SMART goals, we can build an inclusive education system that supports the diverse needs of all learners.

Together, let’s make personalized learning a reality for all our students.


About the Author: Alicia Verweij

Alicia is a seasoned educator that is passionate about teaching children to think critically, problem-solve, and function in an ever-changing digital world so that they will be prepared for future careers. She’s an active supporter of new educators and is known as an innovator in STEAM education. As a teaching veteran of more than 12 years, she holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, a B.S. in Business Management, an Alternate Route Education Certification, and an endorsement in Gifted Education. She is an educational influencer, founder, and consultant at EDGEucating LLC.

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