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Teaching with Technology: Implementing Individualized Instruction

Tiana Pluck Published: July 10, 2024

While the term ‘personalized learning’ has gained popularity recently, individualized instruction is far from a modern innovation. Educational pioneers such as Helen Parkhurst, Maria Montessori, and John Dewey have long advocated for adapting teaching methods to meet the unique needs of students in the early 20th century. With the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandating that students with special needs or learning disabilities receive a yearly Individualized Education Program (IEP) to ensure access to an equitable and thriving education, today’s educational landscape is evolving.

As more students require tailored interventions, leveraging technology becomes crucial to ensuring accessible, individualized learning becomes a central focus in the classroom. Before we can assert this notion into classrooms, we must first truly define what individualized instruction is and the value it brings to every learner in the classroom.

So what is individualized instruction?

MindPlay’s very own Dr. Meredyth Kealey breaks it down for us: “Not all students learn at the same pace. Some may grasp concepts quickly, while others may need more time. Individualized instruction allows students to progress at their own speed, ensuring they fully understand the material before moving on. This accommodates students with diverse needs, ensuring all have access to the curriculum. By focusing on the individual learner, individualized instruction enhances engagement, improves academic performance, and nurtures a love for lifelong learning.”

Why does mastery-based learning matter?

Kealey continues, “Mastery-based instruction serves to ensure students have truly demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the material presented to them before moving to complex reading concepts. You’re creating the foundation for reading.”

In the simple view of reading, this ensures language acquisition through a structured approach where each skill builds upon the next in a logical progression. This method creates individualized pathways for learning that adapt to each student’s pace and comprehension level, fostering deeper engagement and long-term retention of knowledge. By prioritizing mastery, educators not only equip students with essential skills but also instill a sense of achievement and confidence in their academic abilities.

In essence, mastery-based learning shifts the focus from completing tasks to understanding concepts thoroughly, thereby preparing students not just for academic success but also for lifelong learning and critical thinking in an ever-changing world.

How does MindPlay support individualized learning?

MindPlay embraces the “classroom of one” concept where personalized instruction ensures that learners benefit from systematic, explicit literacy instruction and skills application. By incorporating the Orton-Gillingham approach, we ensure that each learner receives tailored support that addresses their unique needs.

Personalized Reading Intervention

Adaptive technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing student outcomes by dynamically adjusting learning experiences based on individual progress and needs. With MindPlay, students receive truly individualized instruction, pacing, and difficulty levels in real-time. This adaptive approach not only optimizes learning efficiency but also enhances student engagement and motivation by providing challenges that are appropriately challenging yet achievable. Moreover, adaptive technology enables educators to track each student’s progress comprehensively, allowing for timely interventions and targeted support that further promote academic growth and achievement. 

MindPlay integrates adaptive technology seamlessly into its instructional framework, empowering educators and students alike to achieve meaningful educational outcomes tailored to each learner’s unique strengths, while supporting growth in areas where they may face challenges.

Assessment in Personalized Learning

We believe the acquisition and application of reading skills cannot stand on their own without assessment to provide educators with insights into each student’s real-time progress, strengths, and areas needing improvement. It’s paramount to provide educators with well-informed, robust data in a seamless, easy-to-digest format allowing them to make informed instructional decisions. Technology cannot and should not be seen as a replacement for teachers; if anything, assessment data should ensure a holistic, whole-body view of student learning. From there, educators can personalize learning experiences in the classroom, adapt content, and support strategies to meet individual student needs effectively.

Ready to Improve Learning Outcomes?

Learn more about MindPlay’s Reading Studio and how it can accelerate reading growth for your students today.

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