Right Tools for the Right Job
Technology has allowed learning to flourish in an online environment, but the options can be overwhelming for school districts. Teachers may find it challenging to learn how to use new tools, while administrators may struggle to decide which software is the best investment.
Kemnitzer says his district focuses on ensuring the technology they purchase empowers students to own their learning through tools that foster collaboration and engagement. “We don’t want every classroom to look like one another. We want teachers to have buy-in, we want teachers to leverage what makes sense for them and their students, and everything is authentic.”
Authentic learning is taking on new meaning amidst school closures. Education is no longer confined to the classroom or the bell schedule, so teachers are harnessing technology to keep students engaged through online project-based learning experiences. Instead of learning content just for the sake of knowing it for a test, students develop real-world problem-solving and collaborative skills that they may not have in a traditional school setting.
Quizzes were a staple of the classroom environment pre-pandemic, but teachers are now relying more on technology to assess students in real time. Dr. Richard Hughes, Superintendent of Frontier Central School District in New York, has experienced this shift in his district, and says educators are beginning to grasp how digital forms of assessment can enhance the learning experience. “Any tool that’s out there that lets you provide immediate feedback that’s positive, shows where they can grow, helps them set their own goals, you’re going to keep that engagement. Those are the kinds of things that we need to keep our kids involved in.” When students have access to tools that give them information about how they’re performing, they’re better equipped to take ownership of their learning.