An app to measure and promote adaptive teaching

Project management: Prof. Dr. Hanna Dumont

Project team: Florian Amon, Simon Ohl

Duration: 01/2016–12/2023

Funding: Jacobs Stiftung, University of Potsdam

Adaptive teaching aims to adapt teaching to the individual learning needs of each student. While the concept has been around for many decades, there is little empirical knowledge about what adaptive teaching looks like and how it can succeed in school practice. In the empirical study of adaptive teaching, the first question is: How can the degree of adaptivity in teaching be measured?  To this end, we developed the tablet-based app called “adappt” together with Semicolon Berlin. The app asks students about their subjective experiences of difficulty and other aspects of the teaching-learning situation after the end of each lesson. The app operates offline, and the administration is done independently by the teachers, meaning that the timepoint when the survey is conducted can be individually determined to suit the lesson. The app was piloted in five 7th and 8th grade classes from a school in Berlin and optimized in collaboration with teachers and students.  It was then used in the Ada*Q project in 22 classes of 3rd and 4th grade students.

In addition to its use for research purposes, the app was further developed to promote adaptive teaching.  To do so, the results of the app surveys were visualized for the teachers so that they could receive feedback on how their students experience the lessons and can adapt and develop their teaching accordingly. This use of the app is currently being tested with four Berlin schools as part of a teacher training in the context of the ZeLB graduate program DiCTaT—Digital Competencies for Teachers and Trainers. In this program, experiences emerging from practice and research are linked to identify the conditions for the app’s successful use as well as its limits.