When I think about the things that stuck with me from my K-12 education, beyond the basics of course, they generally aren’t the things that stuck with other people. Now, I’m gonna take a very, very short leap and say that not everyone learns in the same way. We virtually know this to be true and yet, it seems to me that very little is done about this, mainly because of what generally seem to be insurmountable obstacles and overwhelmed systems.
I was once instructed to take a survey upon entering a chemistry class for the first time to assess exactly what my learning style was. The survey confirmed what I already knew, that I was a kinesthetic learner with audio and visual tendencies. There it is. And what did that mean exactly? It meant that my teacher combined the results of all of my classmates surveys and taught accordingly. A not so difficult task when you consider my chemistry class had only 15 people in it.
Obviously, this is not the case in many schools, where classes are often too large to accomodate every child and their learning needs. What does this lead to? Kids falling behind those whose brains were built to learn the way most teachers teach. I’m not trying to generalize, and I promise my point is on its way.
Technology provides a unique way to convey information to students. Now if you would at this time like to point out that we need to improve the quality of content presented to students, I will applaud you, agree with you, and direct you to our most recent post once you are done here. It is an issue, for certain, but one that could be complimented by the one I’m discussing. Imagine classrooms which were organized not randomly, but by learning style. A classroom in which all of the kinesthetic learners could grow and improve alongside each other and the audio, visual, etc. learners could all do the same. Classrooms in which the students learned the maximum amount possible because they were learning in a way that suited them.
How does technology fit into this idea? Well, edtech is a broad section of technology. And technology itself is broad, with almost unlimited possibilities for usage. Perhaps it is too much too soon to begin dividing classrooms by learning style, but technology can do nearly the same thing. The child who learns best visually could receive all of the necessary content visually, the child who learns kinesthetically could perhaps use the assistance of a video game in understanding a concept. Technology as a supplement for the nooks and crannies a teacher cannot reach.
I was admittedly not good at chemistry, though I think few people truly are, but the one thing my tests made clear was that I was only taking away what I learned in lab experiments. Anything introduced in lectures via PowerPoints went right over my head. But it was something that my teacher couldn’t really help me with, not considering her other students or the limitations of our lab. But look at what is available now with virtual classrooms. Had this type of virtual learning been available to me, I might’ve done better in chemistry. Technology can bridge the gap.
A revolution in education may be a long way off. Perfectly accommodating classrooms are certainly not right around the corner, and might never truly exist. All I suggest is taking advantage of what is available to us today thanks to innovation and utilize it in a way that makes up for every student not having a class tailored to suit their needs. Just bridging the gap.