by Beatriz Arnillas
Senior Educational Advisor
A primary benefit of integrating technology into the K-12 curriculum is that it facilitates data-driven decision making. Educators can now use student performance data to personalize learning and improve academic outcomes. Used thoughtfully, technology can be viewed as the great equalizer in education. Benefits of digital learning include increased student engagement and the ability to personalize learning and intervention for struggling students.
However, there are obstacles that educators must consider when deciding to implement a digital ecosystem in order to offer all students the same opportunity to succeed.
Here are 3 questions all districts should ask before building a digital learning environment to ensure educational equity in the classroom:
- What kinds of data can help us make decisions to improve learning outcomes?
Before committing to any technology or platform, K-12 educators should reflect on the kinds of data that would make teaching more effective and improve learning outcomes. Depending on your school’s needs and goals, different types of data may be more beneficial in understanding how different students are progressing and making sure that all students’ needs are being met.
- Which programs can help us collect valid data and manage it safely?
Today, much of the data that districts collect is unusable as it can’t easily be integrated with other data systems. Having dependable data transfer and data interoperability functions are key to using data to impact instruction. With the itslearning management system, advanced reporting for teachers and administrators can serve as a roadmap for school, district, and student progress. The reports help teachers and school leaders provide support to ensure that all students get excellent instruction, and the time and resources to close the gap between current and desired levels of achievement.
- How and where can the digital platform be accessed?
It’s important to consider your goals in using a digital ecosystem and be aware of how access may affect different students. For example, if you want to make online assignments readily available to students from home, determine whether students will have equal access to internet connectivity and devices at home to complete the work. If not, consider the possibility of loaning school devices––including the option to check out personal wifi––or reevaluate your use of a digital workspace to ensure you don’t hinder the ability for all students to succeed. In some districts, a selection of schools stay open an extra hour and students are welcome to stay and make use of the connections and staff support.
Making sure you’re implementing your digital ecosystem in an equitable way from the start will guarantee all students an equal opportunity to succeed. To learn more about promoting educational equity in a digital learning environment, check out the Technology + Curriculum = Educational Equity White Paper.