Good teachers have always sought to personalize their teaching to the needs, motivations and strengths of their students. The iZone works with teachers to identify and provide innovative new tools, resources and professional development needed to personalize learning more effectively. This includes helping schools develop schedules that provide more time for collaborative planning, review of student work and reflection on outcomes and practice.

Want to know what this looks like? Find out directly from those innovating in classrooms every day: the teachers.

Sam Sherwood
Before Sam Sherwood introduced technology into her classroom, the 6th and 7th grade science teacher saw that not only were her students bored and lacked enthusiasm, but like her, they were frustrated.

Ms. Sherwood’s students could learn facts easily but struggled to retain and apply that knowledge outside of the classroom. “[Students] were a little robotic, and that was not the classroom I wanted,” she remembers. So how does a teacher change not only how students learn but also increase their interest in learning? For Ms. Sherwood, it was all about creating a blended learning environment, a place that mixes technology and face-to-face instruction.

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Anna Goldman
Anna Goldman has been teaching for ten years in New York City but it's only recently that she's been able to differentiate her instruction and personalize learning for each student.

"Asking me to differentiate a classroom in the past with no tools to do so was very, very challenging. I can now do my job better; there's no question about that," she said. "So when I give a unit assessment on perimeter and I see three groups of children – those who definitely have it, those who have some misconceptions and those who aren't there at all, though the online vendor Compass Learning, I can make groups and assign appropriate work to each. There's no way I could create those kinds of lessons on daily basis with just pencil and paper."
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Sam McElroy
This year Sam McElroy, a special education teacher and leader of his high school’s iLearnNYC program, integrated blended learning into his special education classes. The result has been his most satisfying year as a teacher. His students took more ownership of their work, improved their organizational skills, became better readers and writers and stayed engaged in the work. Sam wrote to Gotham Schools to reflect further on his year of blended learning in special education classrooms.

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