Unsurprisingly, given their history as innovators of education, charter schools are often at the forefront of digital initiatives, including the adoption of digital curriculum.
What’s driving the decision to adopt digital curriculum? In a recent survey we conducted on the state of curriculum, over 440 educators (ranging in title from teacher, to school leader, to superintendent) responded, revealing three main drivers:
- Ensuring students have the skills needed for college and beyond
- The need to more easily see and close achievement gaps
- The desire to more easily navigate curriculum, and adapt it to support students.
Reason 1: Preparing Students for College and the Workforce
“Kids are growing up with the internet,” says Wideline Desarmes, principal of ECO Charter School in Camden, NJ. ECO went digital with their math and ELA curriculum in the fall of 2019. “The internet is our competitor. If we can use that in school, then we know our students are going to be engaged.”
Digital curriculum meets students where they are and utilizes the devices and the apps they’ll use both in higher education and in their careers. Additionally, digital technology often comes with student portals, which provides learners the opportunity to take ownership over their learning, with clear indicators of where they stand in their learning journeys, what they need to work on to hit their goals, and meet their potential.
For students, becoming comfortable with technology, self-managing, and learning to advocate for their needs, is part of being ready for the future—regardless of what line of work they are in.
Reason 2: Seeing and Closing Achievement Gaps
For many administrators, there is year-round pressure to demonstrate value and achieve success. Teachers and leaders want to understand in real-time and consistently how students are performing against curriculum (a major financial investment!).
22% of survey respondents stated that enabling “data-driven instruction” drove their decision to go digital. Knowing what’s working, what’s not, and where intervention is needed has become a necessity and crucial information to operate a successful school.
Typically, print curriculum lives in isolation from day-to-day instruction, and doesn’t provide an easy way to measure the efficacy of curriculum until testing season. Further, with traditional print materials, instruction is often paused for an all hands on deck “Data Day” to gain insight into performance.
On the flip side, with the implementation of digital curriculum, educators can – for the first time – connect curriculum to instruction, and view the resulting data, in one place. Administrators and teachers can more easily see:
- The fidelity of the implementation, including curriculum usage data
- Student achievement data with the click of a button, including standards-based reports
- Achievement gaps and how to help close them
24% of respondents to our survey said they adopted digital curriculum because it was part of a blended learning initiative to enhance personalized learning. With the right digital curriculum in place, a tight connection between curriculum and instruction, and real-time views of student data, educators have the tools to improve student learning outcomes. Through data-driven decision making and more personalized approaches, educators are equipped with tools to guide students to mastery of content and to provide targeted support for students who need remediation.
In fact, Kiddom and Open Up Resources have partnered to perfect the personalization trifecta. 1) Open Up Resources curriculum comes with lesson-level resources for students who need additional support to meet grade-level standards, as well as for students ready for more advanced work, 2) additional supplemental resources for remediation are available in Kiddom’s vast K-12 library of 70,000 standards-aligned resources, and 3) best-in-class technology from Kiddom makes it easy to create individualized learning paths.
Reason 3: Ease of Navigation and Flexibility to Adapt Curriculum
When instructional materials are available on paper alone, it is very time consuming to plan lessons, assess how students are mastering content, and tinker with instructional strategies to improve learning. On top of the lack of centralization and the time it takes to sift through the variety of paper materials such as binders and documents, an even bigger loss for students results from the fact that much of this review takes place after the school year – when it’s too late.
According to our survey, 23% of educators were looking to collaborate and share curriculum more easily. Whether creating their own materials, or purchasing digital content, a centralized digital reserve makes it easy to locate, assess, and modify curriculum regularly. Navigating across every level – from courses to units, all the way down to lesson plans – becomes painless, and schools gain the ability to supplement existing resources with more engaging and culturally-relevant substitutes.
Between constant innovation, accountability reporting, and responsive teaching, charter schools need more flexibility than print materials alone can provide. Digital curriculum and tools give charter schools the autonomy they need to improve student outcomes, retain talented teachers, and continue to be centers of innovation in their communities.
At a typical Kiddom school, hands are in the air, there’s a buzz in the room, and teachers and students are energized. Kiddom was designed to help improve teacher retention and increase student performance and graduation rates.
For the first time, the most important parts of teaching and learning are connected and simplified in Kiddom. Curriculum lives in one place and is easily measured and refined, instruction is personalized to meet the needs of each student, and data serves as a powerful system of support for every member of the learning community to keep students on track.
Ready to bring digital curriculum to your school or district?
Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available content, and how a digital tool can support your learning community.
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