Playlists in the Classroom: A Pathway to Personalized Learning

How to use Playlists to differentiate instruction and help students become the leaders of their learning.

Playlists in the Classroom: A Pathway to Personalized Learning
Photo by Mert Kahveci / Unsplash

While I was attending a conference recently, I attended a session where a science and math teacher was using playlists as a structure for their class. He (Nichol Woverton) used a Ski Slope analogy, where students progress from the Green Level to the Blue Level, and then to the Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond levels.

In many ways structuring a classroom like this seems like a lot of work, however, using playlists as a classroom structure has many positives. Here are some of them.

Benefits of Using Playlists

  1. Students have more choice over the pace of learning.
  2. Students who are ready for greater challenges have a pathway for this in the classroom.
  3. Playlists add an element of fun and creativity to the classroom.
  4. They are a great avenue for differentiation.
  5. Assessment and feedback happen in real-time and become a consistent part of each class.
  6. Students are required to build their self-directed learning skills to navigate the levels.
  7. There is less teacher talk and more student collaboration.
  8. Students have increased agency in their learning.

My Initial Playlist Set-Up

I have always been a fan of the original Karate Kid so I decided to use the idea of science Dojo to be the foundation of my playlist structure using the following levels: White Belt, Blue Belt, Black Belt, Miyagi Level (this is the ultimate level in honor of Mr. Miyagi). The last level won’t make much sense unless you have watched the movie.

I’m using a combination of Google Classroom and Canva tools to house the playlist.

Here are some resources I’ve found to be useful.

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