Individualizing homework assignments can support personalized instruction
- Science teacher and open resource curriculum specialist Autumn Hillis discusses a new approach to personalizing homework assignments to reflect personalized learning in the classroom and support mastery of concepts rather than simple completion of assignments, EdSurge reports.
- While this approach takes time and work to implement, students see the assignments as more valuable because it helps them progress toward mastery of the material. The approach can also mean decreased time spent in overall grading of assignments.
- Because of access issues, teachers may need to offer non-tech options for completing homework assignments, but the goal is to create a homework experience that is more meaningful for students and more manageable for teachers,
The author demonstrates that personalized learning doesn't have to end when students leave the classroom. Personalized learning is the most effective way for students to learn, because every student learns material differently and at his or her own pace. However, creating a personalized learning experience in a crowded classroom remains a challenge.
In a society where time and money are in short supply, schools are having to rethink classroom and homework models to make the most effective use of both in the classroom and at home. Not all students have a parent to sit down with them to help with homework, and while some parents provide support, the nature of the curriculum material and the methods of instruction make this more difficult. Some schools are now using flipped learning models where students watch lectures or read material at home while classroom instruction focuses on discussion, group projects or completion of individual “homework” assignments. This model has clear advantages, but depends a great deal on student access to the videos, trusting students to complete these important foundational assignments and finding ways to assure it is done.
Students growing access to technology allows for more personalized learning experiences both in the classroom and at home. Over time, teachers may be able to find more ways to personalize assignments and reduce the time needed to develop and grade these assignments. Consistent access to technology, however, still creates challenges. A solution may be to either extend school days at the secondary level to allow for more “learning lab” time to complete these assignments or to find other ways to build this time into school schedules to reduce the amount of “homework” students have to accomplish on their own.