How to best support educators to implement and integrate digital resources.
GUEST COLUMN | by Renée Cartier
As a former public school administrator in Pennsylvania and now as Senior Director of Statewide and Strategic Partnerships at a leading edtech company, I have experienced shifts in how best to support educators to implement and effectively integrate digital resources into classroom instruction. However, the shifts driven by the challenges of learning in the post-Covid environment are among the most challenging I’ve seen to date. Leveraging supplemental digital content and tools in learning environments where educators are addressing learning recovery and working to re-engage students in the classroom requires several best practices and approaches for technology integration.
‘Leveraging supplemental digital content and tools in learning environments where educators are addressing learning recovery and working to re-engage students in the classroom requires several best practices and approaches for technology integration.’
A Pathway to Get Started
First, educators need digital resources and tools that provide a quick and easy pathway to get started. Many districts have reduced the number of professional learning opportunities for educators to learn how to access, navigate and create with new digital resources. Built-in educator supports, tutorials, and micro-learnings about how to leverage digital tools and resources for all learners are a necessity. These supports ensure that educators quickly feel confident and capable of implementing resources that impact learning and accelerate student engagement.
Accelerating student engagement starts with digital resources that provide timely, relevant, and inspirational content that provokes wonderings, questions and curiosity by students as well as educators. In our post-Covid K-12 learning world, recognizing that student engagement is the foundation and launch pad for learning is more critical than ever as students continue to assimilate back into the school community. Selecting and implementing digital resources that promote a spark to learn more about a topic, question or content area is a best practice approach to energize students to re-engage in the learning process.
Focus on Instructional Purpose
A third best practice to effectively integrate digital resources post-Covid is for educators to continually maintain a focus on their instructional purpose. Energizing students with relevant resources and content that support the instructional purpose for a lesson or activity moves learning to a deeper level. Reflecting on the why when selecting a digital resource and understanding how the resource aligns to the learning objective ensures that educators are keeping the instructional purpose front and center in the learning cycle.
Strengthening student engagement by integrating dynamic digital resources throughout the learning cycle requires ongoing educator support. While many districts have cut back on the number of professional learning days, innovative approaches to building educator capacity are needed in our post-Covid environment. Including a focus on effective digital integration practices in professional learning communities, educator planning times, lunch and learns, after school coffee chats, and during faculty meetings provide opportunities for educators to share how they leverage digital resources to impact student success. Identifying innovative ways for educators to learn from trusted colleagues about what works to make a difference in the classroom is a key best practice for building educator confidence to implement impactful digital resources.
‘Identifying innovative ways for educators to learn from trusted colleagues about what works to make a difference in the classroom is a key best practice for building educator confidence…’
Understanding the Why and How
Finally, helping parents, guardians and families understand the why and how behind implementing digital resources in their child’s classroom is more important than ever. Providing opportunities for parents and guardians to experience their child’s digital learning at home, in the classroom, and by sharing multiple representations of learning through student projects, artifacts and student reflections on their digital experiences strengthens the home-school connection. Keeping parents and guardians informed on how digital resources are enhancing their child’s school experience and contributing to a successful learning journey is an important best practice in our post-Covid education landscape.
Successfully implementing and skillfully integrating digital resources that promote student engagement, enhance instruction, and strengthen learning in our post-Covid environment requires thoughtful planning, teacher-to-teacher collaboration and ongoing communication with parents and guardians. All students deserve innovative approaches and best practices in educational technology integration and educators are ready to lead this journey.
Renée Cartier is the Senior Director of Statewide and Strategic Partnerships, Discovery Education. Prior to joining Discovery Education, Renee was a K-12 administrator Pennsylvania’s public school system. Connect on LinkedIn.