Adaptive learning tools are a tremendous resource for educators. They help us meet students where they are and adapt instruction accordingly.
But we must do our part to harness their true power. Here are five practices I implement regularly with our adaptive-learning platform, DreamBox Learning.
- Encourage students to FINISH lessons. I explain to students that DreamBox is constantly taking into consideration their keystrokes, strategies, speed and answers to build the best “next step”. However, the platform won’t register all of that data if a lesson is incomplete. The best way for a learner to show what he or she knows or doesn’t know is to finish the lesson.
- Don’t help students answer problems. The system can only assume the student is doing the thinking independently. If a student gets help, the software adjusts as if the student understands the lesson. DreamBox will eventually adapt back to the “right” level for the student, but it can take longer and impede progress.
- Encourage a growth mindset. Let students know that it is okay to get the “Oops, try again!” notification. As students are testing different problem solving strategies, it is helpful for them to hear that they won’t receive a percentage score at the end of each lesson.
- Set weekly goals. I ask students to complete at least four lessons a week. However, they can alternate between those and the other assignments, which can provide a mental break from productive struggle.
- Establish a conference form. I set up a Google form where students can sign up for individual conferences to get personalized help on anything they are learning. I ask that students attempt - lesson at least two days prior to signing up for help, pointing out that sometimes a “fresh look” or group conversation in between can make the difference.
Amy Crisp is a fifth-grade STEM teacher in Olentangy Local Schools in Ohio.
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