Thursday, March 31, 2011

LabSim Helps Instructors Meet Students’ Needs

A new survey sponsored by MetLife, “Survey of the American Teacher: Preparing Students for College and Careers,” shows that K-20 educators feel one of their greatest challenges is differentiating instruction for students’ diverse needs. The survey looks at student differences and how teachers are addressing them.

According to the survey, educators consider the ability to differentiate instruction for their students as essential for students’ success. Educators surveyed say that their ability to personalize instruction and help diverse learners succeed could be helped by:
  • greater collaboration with other educators
  • better technology resources
  • tools for understanding students’ areas of need

As I read what educators said they need to help them personalize their instruction to reach the needs of students with different backgrounds and levels of understanding, I thought of the many instructors using TestOut’s LabSim who have told me how the training helps in each of these ways.

Collaboration with Other Educators
For example, the video instruction in LabSim courses, taught by industry experts, works in collaboration with classroom instructors. Bill Wittman, IT director and instructor at National College, said, “When students watch a video in LabSim, they get another professional’s perspectives, and it teaches them to keep an open mind. Change is constant in IT, and my lectures aren’t gospel. LabSim is another resource for sharing ideas.”

Technology Resources
TestOut’s LabSim is a resource that helps instructors reach all their students, no matter how the students learn best. Ginger Ring, instructor at Southern Hills Career and Technical Center, said that LabSim appeals to students’ different learning styles because each course includes instructional videos, hands-on labs, written lessons, section quizzes, and a final exam. “Some students learn better listening to audio; some like more hands-on learning or more variety. LabSim helps address that. My students don’t like to read—across the board—so the different teaching methods in LabSim reinforce what I require the students to read in a textbook,” Ring said.

LabSim is a technology resource that can be completed individually and at each student’s own pace. Jag Gossai, instructor at Durham Business & Computer College, said, “I can’t be everywhere at the same time, but if one student’s doing A+, another Network+, and another CCNA, it’s okay. With LabSim, they can continue working on their courses while I help students one at a time.”

Tools for Understanding Students’ Needs
The reporting tools in TestOut’s LabSim track each student’s understanding of the course material, and reports are viewable by instructors so they can evaluate exactly where students need help. Carol Chapman, director of New Jersey Career Center, said, “LabSim gives all of the information we need to know about every student to evaluate whether they’re really ‘getting it.’”

If you have used TestOut’s LabSim instruction in your classroom, how has LabSim helped you differentiate your instruction for diverse students’ needs?

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