February was quite a social month for Smart Sparrow, as our CEO Dror Ben-Naim was invited to host two Twitter chats, held by EdSurge (@EdSurge) and the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (@WCET_info) – each on the topic of Adaptive Learning. Both chats provided opportunities to engage the education community in a discussion around this topic. Students, faculty, authors, experts, and other AL thought leaders chimed in to ask questions, share their ideas and connect with one another on the use of adaptive learning, and its role in the future of higher education.

Following the launch of EdSurge’s special report on Adaptive Learning, the team held a Twitter chat, #EdSurgeAL for a deeper dive discussion on all things related to adaptive learning. We were very pleased with the turnout, and the 60-minute discussion that ensued.

A special shoutout to @AdamdFried – we agree that these conversations are critical to building a common language and deeper understanding of what the available #AL tools are and what they can do – then, users can choose!

The chat format was in a Q&A style. 10 questions were asked.

1. Adaptive Learning – transformative technology or just another buzzword? Why?

Most of us agree that Adaptive Learning is both powerful and transformative. However, there seemed to be different views as to whether it should empower students, teachers or both.

2. If you think a tool is truly adaptive, what would it do well?

This is a misconception we’ve been seeing over and over again. Tools aren’t adaptive. Learning experiences are. So we actually need to reframe the question: If you think a learning experience is truly adaptive, what would it do well?

3. How comfortable are you with software making instructional decisions for students?

This was a very controversial question. As we know, the AL landscape is quite diverse. Some tools are a black box algorithms putting teachers in the back seat, while others empower them to be in control. The general sentiment was “transparency is the key”.

4. What roles should teachers/admins play when it comes to using the tools effectively?

“Teachers must be in charge” was the unanimous answer to question number four. Sigh. Although there is great demand for more support for teachers.

5. Will students become more active or passive learners as a result of adaptive learning technology? Why?

6. Do you think in 10 years adaptive technology will be the standard in our classrooms? Terrified? Exciting?

A summary of the #WCETAdaptive chat can be found here.