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Investing in Technology to Enhance Content-Area Learning

A growing number of educators are turning to technology to offer personalized learning that targets students in the same class who have different abilities. This differentiated learning is an approach to teaching that organizes learning around individual student needs rather than solely on grade-level content. The objective is to facilitate and optimize student learning by meeting each student where he or she is. Research shows that blending technology with teacher-led instruction may be particularly effective in helping students succeed academically (Stanford, Crowe, & Flice, 2010; Cavanaugh, 2013; Means, Toyama, Murphy, & Bakia, 2013; Pane, Steiner, Baird, & Hamilton, 2015).

Edgenuity Pathblazer® is an online learning program that targets instruction for elementary school students in grades K–6. Through assessments, personalized instruction, and progress reports, Pathblazer recommends individualized learning paths (ILPs) based on skill level, not grade level, to ensure students receive age-appropriate instruction in the skills they need to master academic content.

As students progress through Pathblazer, they engage in scored learning activities and complete curriculum-based quizzes to evaluate their mastery of the lesson objectives. Using Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and Bloom’s Taxonomy, assessment items are classified based on their level of difficulty. Automatic decision points are built into the system so that teachers can evaluate whether students are ready to move forward or if they need additional interventions, such as student conferencing. Decision points allow the sequence of an assignment to be based on student performance; programmatic flags trigger an additional specified action when the established mastery score in an activity is not met.

For 2020–21, Rochester School purchased this platform to enhance our Mathematics, Natural Science and Reading curricula and promote student-centered and inquiry-based learning. Initially, we will launch this program in Upper Elementary on September 14, 2020, in Mathematics and Science, and later we will incorporate it into our Real World English program. Through this online learning program, we aim to not only improve our students’ competencies in the aforementioned content areas, but also to develop their THISREAL life competencies in Technology use, Inquiry thinking and acting, Systems thinking and Solving issues, Analysis & Assessment of self, Leading (their own learning), and Language competence.

Dana L. Pao, M.Ed. Academic Director, Grades 4–12

Resumen: Una cantidad cada vez mayor de educadores está apoyándose en la tecnologÃ

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