Trends in education have accelerated at a rapid rate in recent years. BYOD, 1:1, IoT, and online learning are on the rise. These programs are thriving because technology has become increasingly available and schools continue to improve their infrastructure. As BYOD, 1:1 programs, and online learning grow, they enable effective teaching styles such as personalized learning, blended learning, and flipped classrooms to expand and maximize educational outcomes.
Personalized learning is tailored to the student’s strengths, needs, and interests. This teaching style closes the gap between a student, their learning, and educational success by taking into account their background, interests, strengths, and motivations. An Extreme Networks survey found that personalized learning is the most effective teaching style; leading to higher student engagement with students working at their own pace, and providing the opportunity for teachers to focus on students’ weaker subject areas. Extreme Networks has recognized schools including the School City of Mishawaka, Zeeland Public Schools, and Manassas Park City Schools with the Extreme Exemplary Award for ongoing commitment to personalized learning.
Blended learning combines the internet and digital media with traditional teaching methods. Portions of the classroom activity that would otherwise be face-to-face with a teacher are now online. It is recommended that educators participate in professional development to learn about best practices, reference sites, tools, and apps that are available for use in the classroom to facilitate blended learning.
In the flipped classroom students receive individual attention during class time and view videos or lectures about new content at home. The idea is to allow students to have questions answered by the teacher and practice during class time. By reading and studying outside of class, students are able to bring questions to their teachers about the material. When I was in high school this method was implemented in my calculus class. At the time, the other students and I struggled with it. However, the more I learn about the flipped classroom the more I understand how it can be a great learning method. However, the flipped classroom must be implemented properly to be successful. Careful preparation is needed; teachers need to make sure students are keeping up with the content, and supportive materials such as videos, references, and notes must be readily available to students.
Technology advances in edtech will continue to provide new ways to enhance education. Unfortunately, a solution for one student, classroom, teacher, or school may not work for another. This is because deployments and teaching styles vary from school to school and teacher to teacher. All students learn differently; some are visual learners while others are audio or active learners. The best way to implement new technology across schools is to ensure that teachers are using the correct learning styles for their classes’ and students’ needs. School districts can help to provide teachers with ongoing professional development. Schools also need to ensure that students have the proper tools to be successful and that their infrastructure is up-to-date, so that it can accommodate increasing numbers of edtech devices.
Schools need to ensure adequate device coverage with access pointsandnetwork switches located throughout the campus, so that students and faculty have connectivity at all times. Management software such as Extreme Management, Extreme Access Control, and Extreme Analytics provide a single-pane of glass to keep the network functioning smoothly even with restricted IT resources and can analyze what areas of the network are lagging and what sites are being accessed by network users.
New learning methods such as personalized learning, blended learning, and the flipped classroom have profound effects on education when implemented successfully. These teaching styles will greatly enhance education, but only if schools deliver adequate training for their teachers, provide students with the right learning tools, and be sure their infrastructure can accommodate the needs of evolving education.