The Role of Technology in Personalized Learning

The Role of Technology in Personalized Learning

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4237-8.ch006

Abstract

This chapter is designed to inform teachers, administrators, educational policymakers, and researchers on the role of technology in a personalized learning (PL) environment. Because technology and PL are so intertwined, it is impossible to discuss one without the other. It is still unclear the impact technology has on student achievement, but it is clear there are new and additional ethical concerns that have arisen due to the increased use of technology. The primary concern is student privacy. The chapter provides an introduction, background information, and relevant research available regarding the role of technology in a PL environment. Additional resources are provided as well.
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Background

The term personalized learning is becoming synonymous with technology, but educators need to make sure that technology has earned its metaphorical seat at the learning table. One-to-one technology in schools means that the number of students without access to the internet and learning technologies will decrease significantly, thus ensuring more students have equal exposure to the same learning material and thereby decreasing and hopefully eliminating the digital-use divide.

As a national voice for educational technology implementation, The National Education Technology Plan (NETP) builds upon and extends the work educators and researchers accomplish to compile examples of effective uses of technology based upon both researched evidence and emerging strategies. The benefits of technology include offering greater flexibility and learning opportunities. Use of the internet allows schools and students to access resources that previously would have been impossible because of distance. Students can access distance learning opportunities, online mentoring, school-to-school collaboration, and connecting with institutions who have more resources. Using technology provides teachers and students the opportunity to rethink how, when, and where learning is taking place.

The NETP encourages schools to focus on continuing to develop critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills, collaboration, and multimedia communication for use in the teaching of traditional academic subjects, as well as in the use of non-cognitive competencies, such as forming relationships and solving everyday problems, self-awareness, control of impulsivity, and executive function (U.S. Department of Education, 2017). Moreover, the NETP has outlined five ways technology can help students and teachers enhance the learning experience and make it more personal (U.S. Department of Education, 2017):

Key Terms in this Chapter

Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL): Teaching and learning through the use of technology.

Digital Citizenship: Safe, ethical, and informed use of technology.

Public Domain: Creative work to which no intellectual property rights apply.

e-Portfolio: Electronic portfolio.

Creative Commons License: Allows users access to share, use, and build upon a work that an author created.

Assistive Technology: Technology that allows special education students access to the general education curriculum and, in some cases, improves their learning capacity.

Digital Divide: The gap between those students who have access to the internet and technology at home and those students who do not.

Adaptive Software: Educational software that presents the curriculum to the students while continuously assessing the student’s progress and modifying the content to meet the student’s needs. Pacing, content, and difficulty may be adjusted in adaptive learning.

Open Education Resource (OER): Free, accessible text, media, or other sources that may be used for education, assessment, or research purposes without needing a specific usage license.

Digital-Use Divide: The gap between those students who use technology to transform their learning and those students who are completing the same learning tasks but not only using an electronic tool.

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