Personalized Learning

Ed Tech Companies Examine Impact of Digital Content in Personalized Learning

An education technology accelerator is working with an ed tech company to collaborate on a project to understand how teachers and students interact with digital content and whether that personalization makes a difference on student engagement. Jefferson Education announced the deal with Fishtree, which includes a financial investment.

Jefferson Ed was created by the foundation that supports the University of Virginia Curry School of Education with the intention of identifying and helping to scale promising education innovations. The accelerator provides mentoring, analysis, networking opportunities, access to financing and evaluation of products and services to companies in the education sector at the "growth" stage. Support also includes connections with researchers embarking on relevant education research projects.

Fishtree has developed a platform for adaptive learning that includes analytics, content recommendations and personalization software. The Fishtree platform helps teachers to prepare digital instruction that uses lessons from multiple resources, including open educational resources and paid publishers. Those materials are integrated into interactive lesson plans that have been customized for each student based on performance, learning style and interests.

The online software also includes a "social stream" for collaboration between teacher and students, peer-to-peer messaging streams that put students in touch with each other and features for managing lessons, assignments and assessments. The company said the program integrates with major student information systems, learning management systems and gradebook software.

Terry Nealon, CEO of Fishtree, said the new partnership was "critical" to help the company build upon its research, generate "efficacy data" and "refine our implementation process in an effort to help improve the educational outcomes of all students."

Fishtree already has a "global presence" in K-12 and higher ed, added Bart Epstein, CEO of Jefferson Education. "Fishtree has achieved a degree of scale that presents us with a unique opportunity to further our understanding of how school districts and colleges introduce digital content to deliver on the promise of personalized learning," he noted in a prepared statement. The company's "unique focus on content discovery and curation is solving a perennial challenge for teachers and faculty alike."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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