To keep learning on track during the first days of the pandemic, school districts raced to get devices into the hands of students so they could learn from home.
While many schools had digital curriculum in place, families struggled with unfamiliar technology, technical issues, and spotty internet access (or no internet access at all), all of which led districts to reevaluate and reconfigure their 1:1 computing initiatives once the dust settled.
As they acknowledged and overcame the challenges of 2020, as well as embraced smart digital learning platforms, teachers, administrators and families alike recognized the benefits of online learning. According to EdWeek, 73 percent of educators say greater access to 1:1 computing makes high-quality teaching easier. In addition, 87 percent expected their districts to invest in new devices for the 2021-2022 school year.
Although the goal of a 1:1 program is to provide all students with equitable access to technology, it’s also a catalyst for transforming learning into a personalized experience that meets the individual needs of each student. To elevate your program, here are four considerations to keep in mind moving forward.
- Support your teachers at every step. New tools and platforms require a steep learning curve, and during the pandemic, many educators were left to navigate them on their own. To help their students thrive, districts need to invest in professional development that not only trains teachers on new technology, but guides them as they shift their instructional approach to a dual learning environment.
Educators who’ve been in the trenches say that training led by experienced colleagues who have real-world experience with an application has been one of the most effective ways to hit the ground running with new technology.
- Do your due diligence before diving in. Snazzy features paired with savvy marketing can push a device to the top of your must-have list. But as Dewayne McClary of Digital Promise explained to EdWeek, don’t snap up the latest tool or application “unless it aligns with your curriculum and it meets the outcomes that you want for your students.”
Schools need to work closely with their digital curriculum partners and teachers to assess user needs and define the standards a device must meet to be considered.
- Ensure 1:1 is truly 1:1. The ability to tailor digital learning to each child is the most vital–yet, often overlooked–benefit of today’s technology. With a device in hand and access to engaging digital platforms, students have the ability to be more creative, learn at their own pace, and journey further into a topic they are passionate about.
In addition, as USA Today reported, through data-driven applications, teachers can better gauge where each student is in their learning. These real-time insights allow educators to provide interventions for those who are struggling and guide students who have mastered content to new tools that will continue to challenge them.
- Consider your students’ social-emotional learning (SEL). Digital learning brings the classroom home to the student, helping them build on what they’re studying at school. But this connection can have unintended consequences on a child’s well-being by coming into their comfort zone. According to McClary, schools should ensure they’re not forcing students to follow inequitable rules. For instance, a child may be embarrassed by their living environment and hesitant to turn on their camera. Treating every child with empathy and understanding can enhance their SEL skills every time they head online.
Maximize your investment in 1:1 technology
This school year, take your technology to new heights with Apex Learning. Our Digital Learning Toolkit offers resources and insights from education leaders that can help you do everything from simplifying your ed tech ecosystem this year to providing teachers the right tools to help their students excel. In addition, our experts are available to answer any questions you have. Learn more at https://www.apexlearning.com/maximize-your-investment-in-digital-learning.