• The Spark

Optimizing EdTech for Collaborative, Personalized Learning and Enhanced Student Outcomes

Author:  Eric Sheninger, Senior Fellow, International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE)  | 07/10/2017

In a recent interview, ICLE’s Eric Sheninger discusses how optimal use of technology can transform instruction, boost collaboration, support meaningful personalization, and spark learning beyond the classroom.

Students crave a greater purpose and sense of relevance in their learning.
Eric Sheninger

Q: What is the most encouraging industry trend you see happening that is benefiting both students and teachers?

Optimizing EdTech for Collaborative Personalized Learning

ES: Technology is transforming learning and elevating the relationship between students and teachers. Tools have altered the time and space in which students and teachers are able to communicate and collaborate around learning. Through technologies like G Suite, students are engaging in a much different learning experience during project-based learning and writing assignments. A piece of student writing can become a diverse and substantive document allowing for the exchange of ideas, questions and recommendations between teacher, peers, authors and mentors. When technology is integrated in a pedagogically sound fashion, collaboration in and beyond the classroom fosters a greater relevancy and global awareness.

Q: How can technology be incorporated in schools to help improve collaboration in the classroom?

ES: Students crave a greater purpose and sense of relevance in their learning. We must seize the gift that technology provides to place the ownership of learning in the hands of each student and allow them to demonstrate conceptual mastery through self-selected tools and methods guided by his or her unique learning needs. This personalized learning experience represents a movement from the “what” to the “who” as teachers help facilitate student ownership by considering all aspects of a student’s need aligned to the assessment data that technology can make easily available. The result is better outcomes, achievement and engagement for all.

Q: In your opinion, how is educational technology affecting personalized learning?

ES: The use of mobile technologies has changed the way students consume content and construct new knowledge in order to learn in meaningful ways. These technologies allow learning to happen anywhere, anytime and with anyone. When aligned to the principles of instructional design, mobile technology affords students multiple pathways to mastery under the conditions where they learn best. By opening the opportunities once confined by the instructional day and expanding access to digital tools, students can naturally develop into lifelong learners where learning is the reward.

Q: What do you believe is the most important benefit of educational technology on learning outside of the classroom?

ES: We can no longer put the cart before the horse and expect technology to have a magical effect on learning. Industry trends are now focused on improving teaching, learning and leadership to ensure efficacy as part of any digital transformation. The International Center for Leadership in Education is leading in this space by providing innovative, evidence-based professional learning solutions aligned to research and success from practitioners in the field. Through the use of rubrics a critical lens is taken to evidence collected, which is then used to create a personalized strategic plan for improvement.

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Looking to advance your EdTech practices to the next level? Request a professional learning workshop in your district—at no cost! Our experts in your region are offering highly interactive, 45- to 60-minute professional learning workshops that will inspire you to think about the future of technology in education—and how you can apply it to your practice.

This interview originally appeared in Mediaplanet’s Education and Career News.

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