If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught K–12 schools anything, it’s that circumstances can change quickly — and that technology can play a big role in adjusting.
But pandemics recede, and schools continue to teach students. What lessons will K–12 districts learn from the past two years? If they’re like The Lincoln Academy, a new K–12 public charter school in Beloit, Wis., they learn to prepare for the future — not necessarily for the next health emergency, but for anything that could affect how they deliver quality education: curriculum changes, larger class sizes, student tastes, innovative pedagogies, new technologies, you name it.
Learn how The Lincoln Academy built an IT infrastructure that meets its current and future needs.
If you stumble across a group of K–12 school students outside using laptops to track soil levels and search for monarch eggs or observing birdhouses with video cameras, you may have discovered an outdoor learning space.
From informal hammock gardens to high-tech tents, outdoor learning spaces have become markedly more popular over the past few years because of the pandemic. Educators say these spaces give students a chance to breathe fresh air, experience a change of scenery, and, most importantly, gain opportunities for increased learning engagement.
With 55 percent of educators ready to leave the profession earlier than planned, according to a recent survey from the National Education Association, school leaders are struggling to recruit and retain them. The most common reasons stated for leaving were burnout, limited staffing, and, of course, the pandemic.
Could upgrading the technology teachers use every day in their classrooms help make their work easier — and stem the tide of educators leaving school districts? According to some educational technology experts, it certainly can’t hurt.
Read more about what experts say regarding upgrading technology and its contribution to job satisfaction.
In the 21st century, it can feel like advanced technology is changing the K–12 classroom in ways we’ve never seen before. But the truth is, technology and education have a long history of evolving together to dramatically change how students learn.
With more innovations surely headed our way, why not look back at how we got to where we are today while looking forward to how educators can continue to integrate new technologies into their learning?
Read more about the challenges of integrating tech in a modern learning environment.
Armed with more educational technology and the professional development to meaningfully use it, more educators in K–12 are considering the flipped-classroom approach.
At the onset of the pandemic, schools found ways to make virtual learning work. They rolled out one-to-one device programs and made investments in educational technology. Educators learned to use new tools and found new ways of bringing content to students.
With the technology barrier broken down, some educators took the opportunity to shift their methodology to a flipped-classroom approach. Others, who already employed this model, found that it made the transition to and from remote learning easier on students.
Read more about how technology and teaching techniques brought about by the pandemic pave a natural path to flipped classrooms in school districts.
Learn how mobile labs boost curiosity and STEM literacy in Rebecca Torchia’s article featured in EdTechFocus on K–12. From robotics to 3D printing and augmented reality, this article explores an array of mobile lab technologies and how they function.
this article from EdTechFocus on
K–12, Jason Trinh, an award-winning educator from Toronto, writes how
giving students the opportunity to learn online is not enough—he challenges
schools to provide devices, internet access, and an understanding of how to use
Editors Note: This blog was originally published on the VSTE blog and the Teaching4Tomorrow blog and has been reposted with permission. Get alerted about the next Teaching4Tomorrow blog post.
In many pursuits in life and learning, there are easy ways that cut corners and harder, but more rewarding, avenues to get to your desired destination. The world of edtech is no different, especially with the incredible pace at which technology evolves. I passionately recommend not moving away from a technology just because there is a new one available or without fully exploring the tool. Many times, the magic of edtech tools rest beneath the surface and are only discovered after users have had adequate time to explore, fail, learn, grow, discover, make connections, and collaborate. Simply because a technology isn’t the latest one released doesn’t mean it isn’t the best or just as capable as another. Likewise, if you have not given enough time for a tool to be explored completely, you may not know what is truly possible or the effect it could have on teaching, learning, or leading.
In the Land of G Suite
One area of prominent examples of the magic beneath the surface of edtech is within G Suite. Nearly every one of the apps that make up G Suite have an incredible amount of uses that you would never discover if the tool is only examined at the surface value. The power of the tools becomes apparent when you begin to peel back the outer layers. Two great examples are Google Chrome and Google Slides.
Google Chrome is, at its surface, just an internet browser. Like Microsoft Edge, Safari, or Firefox it will connect you to the vast amount of information and resources the internet holds. It will allow you to bookmark pages and even autofill forms and passwords for you. However, the magic beneath the surface is infinitely more powerful.
The first example of this is the ability to quickly change between Chrome users. This allows one to switch between work and personal accounts in seconds, each complete with their own separate bookmarks, saved autofill information, Google Drive, and more. Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning explains the greatness of this feature quite well.
The second example of Chrome magic is found in the power of extensions installed via the Chrome Web Store. This store holds many free extensions that save time and enhance a user’s experience with Chrome. Countless added features and benefits can be found by adding in carefully selected and managed extensions (they do take system resources so choose wisely and manage with something like Extensity). Check out these blog posts all about Chrome Extensions and the magic they add to Chrome (Post 1, Periodic Table of Extensions, For Struggling Students).
Whether you are teaching in person, virtually, or implementing blended learning, integrating photography in the classroom is accessible and adaptable for multiple subjects and grade levels. Based on our work with educators, below are five ways to use photography to effectively nurture empathy, challenge perspectives, and foster connection in students’ lives.
The Deep End of G Suite Magic Beneath the Surface Thinking the above just isn’t enough Google awesomeness? I agree! Check out these additional resources to take an amazing look into the deep end of G Suite magic beneath the surface:
Written by Patrick B. Hausammann. Patrick is an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher in Clarke County Public Schools and was the recipient of a VSTE Tech Coach of the Year award at the 2018 Conference in Virginia Beach. Patrick describes himself as a perpetual optimist and believer in the power of a #growthmindset to #failfoward. He is the founder of UnisonEDU; Cofounder of #EdcampNSV; and a Google Certified Innovator, Trainer, Admin, and Educator 1 and 2. He can be found online at his website and as @PHausEDU on Twitter.View a recorded session on this topic.This VSTE blog has been reposted with permission.