One of the biggest struggles in the classroom for educators is finding the right balance between getting everyone in the classroom to follow the curriculum and pace of the course while also giving personalized time to every student.

To break down strategies educators can use to find this balance, host Daniel Litwin spoke to Sandy Smith, Differentiation Leader and Early Reading CSPO at Istation.

On this episode of the MarketScale EdTech Podcast, Smith discusses strategies educators can use that will benefit each student and create a ripple effect for personalized education in the classroom.

For Smith, the place educators should start looking for answers is data.

“I think the main thing to start with is always data. I hate to break down students into data but data really can inform instruction,” Smith said. “…You have to know where to start. You can’t give anybody extra support unless you know what they need.”

After assessing the data about your classroom and students, Smith and Istation recommend providing small, flexible group instruction that will allow your students to learn in different ways.

“Within your groups, you’re trying to remove the obstacles that a student might have to learning, whatever the concept is,” Smith explains. “So if a student is struggling with decoding text and you’re trying to teach the main idea, remove the obstacle. Read the text aloud to them and see if they can grasp the concept without having to use their cognitive ability [for decoding].”

Smith also mentioned the importance of personalizing the solutions to your specific classroom setup as well as your group of students.

“Whatever your resources and whatever your setup is at your particular campus to integrate the technology into that setup, it’s not going to go the other way around,” Smith said. “You have to find a way that works for your schedule and your physical layout in the classroom.” She continues, “so taking all these variables into consideration before you hit the ground running can be very helpful in planning and logistically making it all work.”

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