A Planner for Self-Paced Learning
I teach at a non-traditional high school for non-traditional students in New York City. Many of my students struggle with poor attendance due to insecure housing situations. To better support my students, I decided to change the structure of my class by providing flexible due dates and access to learning materials outside of school. I made these changes knowing the tools I was using at the time wouldn’t support self-paced learning, but I assumed I’d be able to adopt new platforms to assist with the transition. Finding technology that supported asynchronous learning however, proved harder than I expected. I explored a plethora of education technology tools, but found much of the same rigidity; either I had to send assignments to the entire class or I had to choose a specific due date. I also needed to use separate tools for sending, receiving, and grading the assignments.
Kiddom’s Planner on the other hand, allows me to meet the unique needs of my students in one collaborative learning platform. As a teacher, I’ve fallen in love with it.
Building a Strong Base
Planner allows teachers to “get ahead” by organizing learning activities for students within units. This could be ideal for blended learning or flipped classrooms, but it’s perfect for my self-paced class. I developed my classes with a foundation of lessons based on curriculum I taught year over year. The lessons and assignments that worked well are the backbone of the class and are the ones I make available for students to access today. I created these learning activities in Planner first, since I know I can use them over and over again. The icing on the cake is the ability to drag-and-drop assignments over to individual students’ timelines (timeline is where where they access assignments).
Now I can easily send a student the next assignment after they demonstrate mastery. They no longer have to wait for their peers to move on, and that’s wonderful.
Playlists to Personalize Pacing
An added benefit to using Planner is that I can also personalize the number of assignments I share with a student at any given time.
Some students (like adults) thrive on knowing what’s coming and what assignments or tasks they must complete. Others may feel overwhelmed when they have too many things to do and don’t know where to start. With Planner, I have the option to store groups of related assignments in a playlist. With playlists, I can quickly assign a complete set of assignments and resources or share individual assignments from the playlists, depending on how much I know that student can take on.
In a self-paced class, having a tool that allows you to match the pace of every student’s workflow is revolutionary.
Ready for Remediation
Sometimes, you don’t have time to reinvent the wheel. With Planner, I can also access Kiddom’s Library of resources, including quizzes, lessons, videos, and more from Khan Academy, CK-12, ClassHook, and Newsela.
As I mentioned previously, my curriculum is designed over years of testing and adjusting, so I know which assignments work to support learning for most students. However, as teachers we know all students are unique and some may need less or additional support. Recently, I’ve been supplementing each unit in my Planner with differentiated and remediated playlists. I take advantage of the relevant content available in Library so I don’t have to make an entire new lesson myself. Sometimes students benefit from hearing the same idea via a different means of communication or from repetition. I keep these additional learning materials available to intervene as soon as students demonstrate a misconception.
Create remediation assignments in advance as a playlist, then assign based on student need.
Possibly the best thing about Planner is that curriculum development won’t have to start from scratch next year. The curriculum I designed is accessible in every class I make in Kiddom. So next year, I already have all of my lessons and learning activities in one place for the next cohort of learners. I’m looking forward to using this strong foundation to find even more ways to meet student needs and develop projects that allow them to explore their interests.