Students and educators have faced challenging times since COVID-19 closed school campuses and left many teachers to develop their own means of delivering instruction and engaging students. Forced to completely rethink their curriculum, teachers have been doing their best to provide online learning for their students.
However, as the school year ends and there remains a real possibility of COVID-19 spreading again in the Fall, schools need to take advantage of the Summer break to consider how they can equip both teachers and students with the tools for a successful digital education.
As schools seek out partners and solutions to build online-digital programs – not only to address today’s challenges, but those of the future – there are a few things they should consider:
In an online classroom, teachers face the dilemma of ensuring their students’ attention is captivated. Classwork and instruction, unfortunately, compete with media outlets like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and more. To support teachers, schools should consider partners with content that focuses on engaging the students. Elements like animation, professional acting, and interactivity through various means all go a long way for retaining student attention.
However, quality content is only part of the equation when delivering digital education. Teachers understand that maintaining student attention goes beyond the type of activity they will complete – a fun video or learning game can only go so far. When students are working above or below their learning level, their engagement plummets. Courseware that supports accurate progress monitoring allows teachers to easily follow along and provide immediate support or feedback. Teachers are constantly evaluating their lessons and fine-tuning in a traditional classroom; they should be able to do the same in a digital setting.
If your school does not have much experience with online education, chances are they will have several questions along the way. Therefore, it is essential to consider what kind of support your learning management system or courseware providers offer. Do they provide onboarding processes for new users that empowers them to feel confident in using their digital tools on day one? What support of training materials and professional development do they have? Consider all of these things when looking at partners.
As with any technology, your teachers, administrators, and students are bound to come across bugs or errors. These interruptions can have a significant impact on learning. Your technology partner should have established pathways and procedures already in place for users to submit and resolve their technical problems efficiently. With proper technical support, your digital solutions should maximize the time teachers spend teaching and students are learning.
Long Term Potential
If you have spent a considerable amount of time and energy launching an online program for your school during COVID-19 closures, what will happen afterwards? The digital tools you use today can be valuable no matter the circumstances. Moving forward, consider how technology fits into your school and community. Can you continue an online program for those interested? Would a hybrid or blended model serve your students well? Finding a partner that is able to align themselves squarely behind your mission and vision will encourage a long-term relationship that can help answer these questions and continue to help students achieve.
Chances are that, somewhere in your shared visions, will be a commitment to the ongoing success of students. Your digital learning solutions partner should look to constantly improve and develop products to serve schools. Understanding how your tech partner leverages insights from data and user feedback to deliver a better learning experience is key to driving better outcomes over time – not just amid school closures.
Although school leaders are turning to digital platforms out of necessity, they should strive to set their schools up for success no matter the circumstances. From this dire situation, there is an opportunity for schools to develop innovative models that can reach and accommodate students in new ways. Digital learning does not have to be a temporary solution but can enrich your student’s education for years to come.
ABOUT VERANO LEARNING PARTNERS
Verano Learning Partners is a leader in developing innovative learning models and schools as part of a collaborative network of schools and partners. Its schools, both nationwide and international, strive to elevate learning opportunities for students with engaging and interactive digital curriculum. Using the online and digital learning space, its schools provide students with unparalleled personalized support and flexibility, empowering them to succeed.