Delivering the best learning experience to each and every student.
GUEST COLUMN | by Dave Saltmarsh
Technology programs in the classroom have opened the door for teachers to offer a more engaging, interactive, and individualized learning experience for students. Often referred to as personalized learning, these new teaching practices give educators the ability to meet students where they are at in their skill level and provide access to learning resources specifically tailored to their needs.
These efforts also encourage spontaneous interaction, maximize district technology investments, and fully leverage instructional time.
While not every student learns in the same way and at the same pace, personalized learning encourages collaboration and motivates children to learn in a way that is right for them. And best of all, it affords teachers the power to quickly address student needs without disrupting others or drawing unwanted attention to a particular student or group of students.
Let’s explore the main benefits of technology and personalized learning in the classroom, as well as some examples of technology programs and tools educators can leverage to provide the best learning experience to each and every student.
Technology makes transformative learning possible
By adding technology tools like iPads and apps to student learning quests, educators can immerse students in a wealth of educational resources, improve outcomes, leverage a variety of teaching approaches, and even track and compare a student’s progress and understanding. The following tools are prime examples of apps that leverage iPads to achieve personalized learning:
- iTunes U: Gives teachers a streamlined approach to deliver lessons, grade assignments, and stay connected.
- eSpark: Curates the best available educational applications, bundling them in personalized learning plans for students so they are challenged, yet learn at a pace that is right for them.
- Socrative: Provides teachers with the ability to administer quick assessments and receive instant feedback on student understanding.
The role of MDM in personalized learning
With teachers already strapped for time and resources, it is crucial that the technology does not take away from learning or classroom time. With mobile device management (MDM) for iPad, teachers can simplify their digital shift and enjoy more opportunities to enhance instruction, all without the concern of students becoming too engaged with their device or potentially lagging behind their peers.
For teachers, an MDM solution puts the power of iPad directly into the instructor’s hands. Teachers can transform their classrooms and labs into interactive, mobile learning spaces. By leveraging educational apps, teachers can focus students on a specific app or webpage, lock iPads into testing apps for secure assessments and quizzes, and quickly display student work on an Apple TV. This allows teachers to guide students through the curriculum at a pace that is right for them, and even encourages the most introverted students to share their work with the class.
Empower IT to drive learning forward
Teachers aren’t the only ones benefiting from MDM. For IT, an MDM solution automates the tasks associated with iPad deployment, content distribution, and security. While it only takes a few minutes to get started with an iPad, repeating the set up and configuration steps for hundreds of students is a time consuming-task. With an MDM solution, IT can leverage Apple School Manager and automatically enroll and deploy iPads without having to actually touch the devices. This saves IT hundreds of hours at the start of each school year and also as students leave or join a district or class.
Deployment is simply the first step in the iPad management equation. IT is also responsible for helping departments and classes get the software and content they need for their lessons. With Apple School Manager, IT can purchase apps in bulk from the App Store and then use an MDM to either distribute those apps directly to student devices or create a custom app store where educators and students can download school-approved apps on their own and when they need them.
Get the most out of class time
Combining iPads, apps, and an MDM solution makes for a powerful and compelling education offering. Schools can deliver a personalized learning experience that allows for engagement and teacher intervention at an individualized level. These efforts also encourage spontaneous interaction, maximize district technology investments, and fully leverage instructional time.
As K-12 schools and districts continue to invest in technology, the need for a robust MDM that supports and facilitates transformative learning will grow exponentially. Equipping IT with the right management solution is the first step in offering teachers and students the devices that help them achieve their goals and take learning to new heights.
Dave Saltmarsh is a former classroom teacher, IT and Library Director, and current educational evangelist for JAMF Software, a leading Apple device management company based in Minneapolis.