Without a complete understanding of the changes in education too many administrators lead into the digital age with making teacher requirements, without understanding the ramifications. Most building administrators have the foresight to know that each and every teacher needs to have a digital presence. But without leadership and guidance this can become a train wreck – very quickly.
At one school a mandate goes out to all staff that they must establish a digital presence and use digital resources in their classroom. What and how they do so, is up to the individual teacher. Teachers scramble to find how they will do this. Some go off and make a website. One might use Weebly, or Google Sites, another learns WordPress and purchases a domain. Others find apps like Remind or Pocket. Those strong in literacy might buy into Blogger or Edublogs. Those looking for quick digital assessments key in on Quia, Socractive or Kahoot. Some go looking for games to practice skills, from which there are a many to choose from. Others want play list and resources like PowerMyLearning, Khan Academy, CK-12, or LearnZillion. Still others grasp at platforms like Edmodo, Schoology, or Canvas learning management system.
Shortly everyone is doing their own thing, with different key codes, logins, and just trying to figure it all out. Though it is difficult, individual teachers are working with typically a single platform – of their choice. When teachers are not provided professional development, they may not see the connections between platform such as embedding Quia or CK-12 into a learning management system to create an ecosystem for digital learning – rather creating an octopus affect, with multiple codes and locations for students to access content.
In an elementary school, this might place out fine – but image the poor secondary students, with six different teachers, who are bombarded with multiple different places to access digital content, trying to just keep up with the where to go when and what login information or code to use. Frustration abounds! Both on the students and the poor teacher who is trying to do the “best” that they can.
Without a school-wide digital learning plan the environment becomes messy very quickly. Teachers are left to flounder. Students have to play catch-up. When this could have all been avoided when a strong leader has the foresight and proper planning. Focus can be provided by selecting a few digital applications. This will guide teacher professional development, their deeper knowledge of usage, creating a network of support within the staff and increases long-term sustainability.
And let’s not forget out clients, the student! Within a focused school-wide digital plan and proper support, we reduce students’ cognitive load. School is hard enough without adding in where to look, having the right key code, and remembering multiple logins.
If you’re not sure where to start, let our 15 years in the industry help you establish a focused school-wide digital plan with a proper support system, built with the student in mind.