Connected teaching offers a vast array of opportunities to personalize learning. Many simulations and models for use in science, history, and other subject areas are now available online, including immersive virtual and augmented reality environments that encourage students to explore and make meaning in complex simulated situations (Dede, 2009). To deeply engage their students, educators need to know about their students’ goals and interests and have knowledge of learning resources and systems that can help students plan sets of learning experiences that are personally meaningful. For a more extensive discussion of personalized learning, see the Learning section of this plan.
Although using technology to personalize learning is a boost to effective teaching, teaching is fundamentally a social and emotional enterprise. The most effective educators connect to young people’s developing social and emotional core (Ladson-Billings, 2009; Villegas & Lucas, 2002) by offering opportunities for creativity and self-expression. Technology provides an assist here as well.
Digital authoring tools for creating multimedia projects and online communities for sharing them with the world offer students outlets for social and emotion connections with educators, peers, communities, and the world at large. Educators can encourage students to do this within the context of learning activities, gaining further insights into what motivates and engages students – information they can use to encourage students to stay in school.
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