Know Thy Learner / by Tyler Wood

It might seem clear that I am supportive of implementing new technology into the classroom by now, but I don't mean to say that we should just throw technology at the classroom blindly. We should, like anything, figure out what technology will work the best. 

One way to help figure this out is to understand the learners you are teaching. I used a learning style survey to help me figure out what kind of learners I am teaching in class. The numbers are in percentages based on the survey results. Click below for the results in my class of 4th graders.

Tyler's 4th Grade Learning Survey Results

If you would like to do your own quiz with your class or for yourself, just click the button below.

So what does it all mean? My class breakdown is pretty evenly distributed. I have 5 students that have multiple strong learning styles, and many more that have a few different fairly strong styles. The biggest group is 6 students that are in the 'musical' category. So what can we do?

Diversity of learning techniques is usually an essential way to organize a class, and my class is a perfect example of just why that is. I don't have a real dominant learning style represented in my class, so I will need to really try and take that into consideration as I teach. Here is a run-down of the types and some potential technology that can be utilized in class for these learners.

Linguistic - For the students that were high on the linguistic score, they will want to use the language. This group will probably stay engaged with writing assignments, perhaps story writing or writing a journal. We can use story making apps, like Storybird to help make a storyboard and interact with the story they create.

Logical - mathematical - These students will want to solve problems, experiment, or otherwise think critically and scientifically to figure things out. We can utilize fun quiz games from Sporcle to engage the minds of this group. 

Visual - Spacial - This group is the 'artist' group. They want to see things represented like graphs in math or pictures in science. This group can be engaged with fun videos from BrainPOP, youtube, or make their own on Animoto.  

Interpersonal - This group prefers to understand others' motivations and emotions. They would prefer to work in groups with other students. Working on an Animoto video or putting together a Dipidy timeline as a group would be a way to introduce technology into the learning style of these learners.

Intrapersonal - This group are the 'internalizers'. They take information and use it alone, study alone, or like to read. This group would probably enjoy a flipped classroom the most because they would be able to work out problems at their own speed and on their own terms. Khan Acadamy or utilizing BrainPOP videos and activities at home would be an effective way to use technology for these learners. 

Musical - This group loves music, of course! Trying to incorporate musical activities would be  great for these learners. Youtube offers many educational songs that could be used to teach concepts like The Water Cycle and The Solar System, or you could have the children create their own music on Nat Geo's Music Mixer or Classics for Kids' create your own music game. 

Naturalistic - These learners want to understand the living world around them. They prefer to observe and record what they see. Maybe they could create a living system. Perhaps using some software like Cyber Science 3D where you can view the living things in many different ways and interact with it would be useful for these learners.

Bodily-Kinesthetic - These learners want to move. They want to incorporate their learning into movement. You could put on a play and film it for Animoto, or they can act out stories written on Storybird by the linguistic learners. Also, use of touchscreen technology might be helpful for these students so they can get their hands on something. 

The future continues to change and we should be trying to catch up. One day we might even be making our own supplies and sharing physical objects with the world. The possibilities are endless, so let's start looking for a way to adapt to better serve our students' learning styles rather than serving the convenience of those that remain in the past and don't want to change.  For more info watch the following video.


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