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Share how you individualize/personalize your curriculum for your adult learners

Hello Integrating Technology Colleagues,

Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a free, web-based video lesson site that some teachers use to assign personalized and individually-paced lessons for their adult learners, wrote in a recent USA Today blog article, "Teachers have always known that meeting the individual needs of each student accelerates learning, but this was very hard to do in practice — until now. It’s time to empower our educators and learners with the same advances that are changing the rest of the society to develop generations of creative, entrepreneurial, adaptable citizens and leaders armed with the mastery of writing, math, science and computing."

Is this now true for you? Is your adult basic skills program, and are you, individualizing/personalizing your curriculum so that you can customize lessons for each learner? If so, please share with us what technology you use to do that, and how you use it:  course management systems; content management systems; learning management systems such as Edmodo, or Schoology that allow you to upload your own content or OER content; online tools such as HyperDocs; free OER collections, such as OERCommons; free online databases that allow searches for proprietary and OER learning resources such as CrowdEd Learning's Skillblox; or proprietary online curricula and courses, of which there are many.

Describe your students -- subject or topics you are teaching them, levels, and their learning goal(s). What technology are you using, and how are you using it? How does it help you to personalize/individualize the learning?

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group


ashly winkle's picture

This is always a challenge, but definitely easier with technology. In the last few months, I have been challenged with varying levels and focus in my HSE class. I feel this way every year around graduation time. Students want to focus and target the HSE/GED subjects they have not yet passed, and I cannot teach them everything in two class sessions a week that only last three hours each. Additionally, I have some students that just recently joined and are starting fresh, while others are trying to depart and need to be progress-tested. With little to no help with testing, I have to juggle a variety of tasks all the while meeting the needs of all my students.

This is where HyperDocs has saved me. The other night, for example, I had HyperDoc lessons available for every HSE/GED subject, in addition to a few math Formative lessons, which is another wonderful digital lesson tool. While some worked on the lessons, others were taking practice tests for me. Everyone was engaged, learning, and grateful. 

As a teacher who uses a lot of tech and works hard to differentiate lessons whether it be by assigning different lessons or by assigning different levels of the same assignment, there is one thing I constantly worry about: am I doing enough as the facilitator? I spend a great deal of time creating engaging lessons, but sometimes I worry that I am not spending enough time modeling and guiding them along the way. Let's face it, a lot of my lessons, especially HyperDoc lessons, are designed to be done individually, in pairs, or together. My students have become so self-sufficient that I often worry that I am a little more than their cheer leader and facilitator and not modeling or involved enough in their learning. I wonder if others ever feel this way.

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Thanks Ashly.

You wrote, "This is where HyperDocs has saved me. The other night, for example, I had HyperDoc lessons available for every HSE/GED subject, in addition to a few math Formative lessons, which is another wonderful digital lesson tool. While some worked on the lessons, others were taking practice tests for me. Everyone was engaged, learning, and grateful."

I know that you make many of your Hyperdocs lessons available to others. Could you remind us of the (I think Padlet) URL where other HSE/GED teachers can see these? Could you also describe in detail how you use these HyperDocs that you and others have made? For example, do you start with an instructional need or problem that you, as a teacher, are trying to solve? If so, can you give us some examples of these? Then what's the next step? Do you go directly from the problem to your collection of HyperDocs? Do you then assign particular HyperDocs to particular learners who you think need them? If so, how do you know who needs what HyperDoc? Do you have a learning plan for each student, or a spreadsheet or other tool that allows you to keep track of each student's learning progress, and what they need next? If you also use other OERs, are these referenced in each student's learning plan or other instructional management tool? Do proprietary instructional materials play a part in your individualized assignments? As a teacher, how do you make all of this manageable?

I realize this is a lot to ask. Perhaps you have already written something for other teachers, a guide, or an article that addresses some or all of these questions. If not, I hope you will, and that you might share it with us in the Integrating Technology group.

For those who are new to HyperDocs, this discussion held with Ashly  in the Integrated Technology group in June 2018 may be helpful.

Everyone: please share with us here how you use technology to help individualize or personalize learning for your students.

David J.Rosen, Moderator

LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group

ashly winkle's picture

This is a website that I created that has a collection of adult ed HyperDocs on it. The majority I created, but I add others as they share with me:

This is the HyperDocs Adult Ed Padlet where others can share and I will add them to the website:

Not sure I have the answer to all of the questions, but I will give it a shot: 

  • I use HyperDocs for almost any subject including, but not limited to social studies, rla, math, science, college and career, goal-setting, soft skills training, student orientations, etc. Most recently, however, I have started creating them based on the latest standards. I find HyperDocs tend to meet the needs of our new standards quite easily. Example:

  • I often start with an instructional need or problem. I find that the exploration HyperDocs offers, enhances and deepens students’ understanding of a subject-matter. Also, it gives them a resource for which to refer back. Example: Math is such a struggle for me to teach as the biggest need of my class is reading, so covering enough math for students to pass HSE tests is close to impossible because we are more focused on reading. So, I utilize Hyperdocs to help fill the gap. Here is an example of one introducing them to equations:

  • I know who needs which HyperDoc because I know my students. I have built relationships and understand their needs and skill-levels. I also familiarize myself with their skill level through formal assessment tactics as well as summative assessment tests.

  • I do not have an organized learning plan, and I wish I had the time create one, but I do not. I do utilize goal-setting tools, but no exact learning plan. I do, however, have various versions of a goal-setting HyperDoc that I need to update again, but has been useful for our program:

  • If I am understanding the term “proprietary materials” correctly, I might include them in individualized assignments used specifically for my class or program. For the most part, I utilize OER resources.

  • Making it all manageable is tough. Because I have built so many lessons, I already have so many at my fingertips. So when I see a need, I can simply assign individualized lessons to students through Google Classroom. Google Classroom keeps me organized and allows me to view and assess student work within a matter of moments as opposed to the hours it would take me using the traditional paper-based assignments.

David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Hi Ashly, and others,

Thanks, Ashly!

The HyperDocs for Adult Educators site is very useful. A tip for those who may be going there for the first time. Above "HyperDocs for Adult Educators" is this horizontal menu in small, light print:

          Home  HyperDoc Templates  HSE Subjects  Adult ED Content  Resources  About HyperDocs  Contact Information

I love your goal-setting HyperDoc

By "proprietary" I meant education materials from commercial publishers.

Everyone: It would also be great to hear from others who use technology to help them individualize or personalize their curriculum for individual students.

David J. Rosen, Moderator

LINCS Cop Integrating Technology group