5 Technology Tips for K-12 Hybrid Learning
Nearly a year into an ongoing pandemic, school districts across the United States have been forced to pivot back and forth between remote and in-person learning and, in some cases, hybrid models with elements of each. With COVID-19 cases on the rise yet again, districts across the nation are moving back to remote learning and working tirelessly to make the shift as seamless as possible.
Providing efficient tools for students and teachers is critical to ongoing learning.
To address these ongoing challenges and ensure students can learn in and out of the classroom, here are five recommendations for K-12 schools to consider as they think about the future:
1. Ensure interactive tools support learning
Creative use of IT tools to ensure students are still able to actively communicate, create, and collaborate through display solutions, strategic digital resources, and gamification will keep students engaged even when they can’t interact with peers face to face.
HyFlex environments take into account truly blended learning models—wherein a number of students may be in the classroom, while the rest are continuing to learn remotely. School districts must consider what these evolving hybrid classrooms will look like. Perhaps they involve large format displays with cameras that track instructors as they speak. They might also include interactive microphones that allow students to communicate with one another, from the classroom or their kitchen table.
2. Strengthen Professional Learning for educators, students, and families
Teachers are seeking to engage students with new instructional tools while working to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of all students. Leaders are not only addressing new and varied needs on a daily basis but are also building a shared vision for what learning will look like post-pandemic. Therefore, learning opportunities that include leadership consulting, curriculum and instruction development, classroom and virtual coaching, and training on specific technology systems need to be implemented to meet the varying needs of educators.
3. Ensure staff has access to updated equipment and IT support
On top of these new challenges, we have also seen a rapid transition to a 1×1 learning model amid the pandemic.
Adding complicated technology to that mix is just another challenge to overcome, but luckily one that district IT leaders can help alleviate. It’s important to incorporate a support package when purchasing new equipment and consider what leased IT solutions are available to provide access to the latest equipment. When the device becomes the primary tool for learning the model for making sure that every student has a device 24/7 becomes an important part of the investment in technology.
4. Establish a security checklist
According to CoSN’s 2020 EdTech Leadership report, cybersecurity remains the #1 IT priority. For educators, security can seem overwhelming, but it’s critical and can be tackled in a manageable way.
5. Unify the technological infrastructure used for instruction — regardless of where the learning occurs
School systems should plan for a future that includes blended environments and strategically invest in the IT infrastructure required to support this environment.
Education leaders are an essential part of the leadership team that will ensure the remote learning decisions align with the technology strategy. With excellent collaboration and trust between IT and teaching and learning leaders, we will be able to shift to blended learning environments and utilize technology to enable innovation, adjusting learning models to meet all learners’ needs.
Source: District Administration | 5 Technology Tips for K-12 Hybrid Learning, https://districtadministration.com/5-technology-tips-for-k-12-hybrid-learning | © 2021. District Administration
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