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Teacher Experience with Personalized Learning: Training, Program Elements, and Teacher Role at Two Low SES Schools


Teachers are the foundation for effectively implementing personalized learning environments. This comparative case study investigated 16 teacher’s experiences with a personalized learning program by focusing on users of the Pinnacle Learning program at two, low-income school sites in southern California. This research’s conceptual framework is based upon Venkatesh and Davis’ (2000) determinants of perceived usefulness and Venkatesh and Bala’s (2008) determinants of perceived ease of use. Ultimately, this study reveals that in general teachers perceive personalized learning as relatively advantageous to their role in the classroom due to its fairly high level of ease and high level of usefulness, thus making teachers more likely to continue acceptance of this technology at their school sites.

During this study’s exploration of teacher beliefs about the Pinnacle Learning program, four specific areas were explored: training, use of program elements, classroom roles of teachers using a personalized learning program, and site implementation issues. By understanding teacher beliefs and attitudes on their use of and experience with personalized learning technology, this study was able to identify areas of concern that can be addressed and areas of strength that are beneficial to continue at each school site. Teacher input on the adoption of a personalized learning platform provides the often missing teacher voice from the research available on personalized learning. Input about how the role of teacher is changing may inform preparation programs and ongoing professional developments for teachers. Additionally, data from this research may help low SES schools who are considering the adoption of an online personalized learning platform as there have been limited studies which solely focus on this student demographic.

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