By Issie Lapowsky, originally published in Wired.com on 8/25/15
Personalizing education can change a kid’s life. It can keep the advanced ones from getting bored and the struggling ones from falling behind, because every kid, no matter their level of proficiency, is encouraged to move at his or her own pace.
But for the teachers tasked with implementing this increasingly popular pedagogy, it pretty much sucks. Personalizing a lesson means creating even more work than already time-strapped, under-resourced teachers can handle. It means drafting more lesson plans, digging up more reading materials, and creating more assessments than they would have to if they stuck to the old-fashioned, if imperfect, method of teaching to the middle. The sheer amount of work that personalized education requires of the educator is one reason why so few large and needy public schools haven’t adopted personalized models at the same rate as their better-funded private school counterparts.
It’s also one reason why Jose Ferreira and his company, Knewton, have spent the last seven years working on a way to fix that problem with technology. Today, they’re launching the results of that work: a new, free tool that aims to automate personalized instruction for teachers.
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