Relive the discussion on what’s at stake for schools in the COVID-19 era, then explore some features in the Kiddom + Open Up Resources distance learning bundle that can help you in your digital or blended classroom. You can view more webinars in this series here.
The Kiddom team can only imagine how hard this spring must have been – being asked to provide high quality learning at a distance, at a moment’s notice. Plus, so many schools and districts are changing their fall back to school plans day by day, making it so challenging to plan and prepare. That’s why we’ve planned our second series of Distance Learning webinars to help educators adjust to the new normal.
This week, Kiddom co-founder and Chief Academic Officer Abbas Manjee addressed our largest audience yet on the topic of preparing for the fall semester, whether learning be in-class, remote, or blended. Check out the webinar recap below, and if you’ve missed our previous sessions, here they are:
- How to Assemble Your Distance Learning Toolkit (Webinar Recap)
- How Can Educators Deliver Equity in a Digital Environment? (Webinar Recap)
The Highlights: Preparing for the Fall Semester
The Lengths We’ll Go: Getting Pedagogically Creative
Before diving in, Abbas shared his background in education: first, as a math teacher in New York City, at an alternative high school for underserved students between the ages of 16 and 21. His students faced systemic challenges such as homelessness, incarceration, and chronic absenteeism.
As a scrappy first year teacher, Abbas knew he was in a special place and wanted to do whatever was necessary to help his students succeed. That included building his own gradebook out of Google Sheets, which you’ll see in the clip below. Even before companies began developing digital tools for educators, teachers were using whatever resources they could to help their students.
Today, at any given school, there’s an entire suite of technological tools used by teachers to do their work—supposedly in the most efficient manner. But with assessments being housed in one platform, and curriculum living in another tool, and the gradebook being in yet another, there are so many hours lost in translation in even the best of circumstances. During a pandemic especially, these fragmented processes drain teachers of what energy and time they can give to students.
Hear the discussion below:
Challenges We Face: By the Numbers
Next, we discussed the challenges that educators and students face right now: lack of devices, lower student engagement, new grading methods (or none), and more. According to EdWeek.org, 75% of teachers report that their students are less engaged in remote instruction than they were before school closures. Our in-session poll reflected the same trend; approximately ⅔ of respondents named student engagement as one of their biggest challenges.
Lack of live instruction and device access received 21% of votes each. 19% said they were not covering intended curriculum, and 10% named grading methods as a tough adjustment.
On a national scale, these issues are even more exaggerated. For example, 56% of teachers report that they are simply not giving out grades on assignments anymore, making it difficult to track how instruction is landing in a remote classroom. What may have once been the biggest joy of teaching is now a remote luxury: only 12% of teachers report having synchronous interactions with their students every day.
Find more statistics and challenges in the clip below:
How do we prepare for a semester we can’t predict?
After viewing the statistics on how COVID-19 impacted school this spring, Abbas reviewed what we’ve learned from early plans to relaunch this fall: there’s not just one playbook to go by. Even in the most affected areas of the country, there’s dissonance on how to reopen next semester. The Los Angeles Unified School District, for example, is going with completely remote instruction, while New York City Schools are opting into a hybrid model.
Of course, this has left teachers with a plethora of questions, including:
- How do we remain flexible for resurgences of the virus?
- What does hybrid even mean? Two days a week? Three?
- How do we keep the bar high while providing targeted support to students?
Then, Abbas introduced the work we’re doing at Kiddom to support teachers during this unprecedented transition. “In a world of uncertainty, we believe at Kiddom that established routines and discipline survive.” No one knows routine like an educator does. And because of that, there’s still hope for the fall semester: the routines will take place on different terrain and cadence, but they’ll still be there. Find out how in this clip:
Next, Abbas took attendees on a platform tour of Kiddom, a single education platform that connects curriculum, instruction, and assessment, “because we believe it’s a single fabric waiting to be threaded together.”
3 Ways to Stay Ready for Teaching and Learning in Any Environment
1. Ensure Continuity of Learning Through High-Quality Curriculum
The tour began in the ‘Classes’ tab in Kiddom, where teachers (and students) can see all of the classes they are responsible for. Abbas then took us to the ‘Curriculum’ tab, where Open Up Resources curricula are completely built out and waiting for teachers to use.
2. Contextualize Instruction for Any Situation
The next part of the tour showed us how to edit curriculum for a remote environment. Some assignments, for example, may call for partner work, and it’s important to be able to adjust to whatever measures your community is taking to prevent the spread of the virus.
In Kiddom, curriculum and assignments are completely customizable. You can also attach videos, voice notes, and other materials that may help to recreate the feel of a synchronous classroom.
3. Engage Students to Take Ownership of Their Own Learning
The last link of the platform tour covered creative ways to engage students in a remote environment. Sharing assignments with students is one of the building blocks of using Kiddom, but did you know you can use the Class Timeline as a message board? And attach questions to videos to create pre-work assignments?
Finally, the tour concluded with viewing reports. With rich, standards-based reports, Kiddom provides a full picture of student performance with one click. Students can also see their performance by standard, and search our Content Library to find standards-aligned resources for enrichment or remediation.
Coming Soon: New Distance Learning Tools
From our perspective, the pandemic has accelerated the need for distance learning tools – specifically tools that do not add to the already overwhelming suite of resources teachers and students are being asked to learn and use. With that in mind, Kiddom is going to be rolling out a new suite of distance learning tools that help increase connectivity between teachers and students while decreasing the burden of when, how, and where that connection happens. These new tools add robust asynchronous and synchronous communication tools to the Kiddom platform, making communication—and connectivity—seamlessly integrate with curriculum, instruction, and assessment for blended and distance learning environments.
Kiddom seamlessly connects the most critical aspects of teaching and learning on one platform.
For the first time, educators can share and manage digital curriculum, differentiate instruction, and assess student work in a centralized hub. Learners can take assessments online, see student performance data with the click of a button, and teachers have the insight and tools they need to create individual learning paths.
Are you thinking about bringing digital curriculum to your school or district?
Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum by Open Up Resources, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.
In an upcoming webinar, we'll discuss the merits of a truly digital curriculum. Below we unpack some misconceptions about going digital, before exploring what's possible in the webinar. Join our discussion (Tuesday, July 28 at 3PM EST) by registering here. In...
Announcing new distance learning webinars to help educators feel prepared for whatever comes this fall. Attend all 4 to receive a certificate of completion!
Teacher Melanie Gillingham of Bethel School District shares how she assembled her distance learning toolkit and how she plans to use it into the Fall.