How To Use Educational Technology Humanely Post-Pandemic
To borrow from Dickens, last year has been the best and worst of educational technology. Surprisingly, schools have been able to continue teaching even when they are closed for face-to-face teaching, and many families have realized that there are a lot of online resources for their children that can offer interesting and engaging lessons. adapted directly to them.
At the same time, children (and their parents) get tired of looking at screens. There is a human connection at the heart of education, and many people needed months of distance learning to realize it.
As schools return to normal, an important question arises: how can we make the most of educational technology and use it to improve face-to-face schooling? I would like to offer three potential models.
The Prenda model
Prenda micro-schools take advantage of technology to deliver academic content quickly, efficiently and effectively. This frees up more time for collaborative project-based work.
A typical day at a Prenda school is divided into three parts: Conquer, Collaborate and Create. During the Conquer period, students work with Chromebooks using educational software that provides basic math, reading, and language arts content. For many schools, this lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. During the rest of the day, students are in their Create module, doing art projects, or in the Collaborate module, working on projects related to social sciences, sciences and other subjects.
This strikes me as a good balance between personalized learning and project-based collaborative work. Instead of relying solely on one modality or the other, Prenda schools do a bit of both, getting the best out of computer-based instruction (self-paced, finding students where they are, allowing different students to do the same). class learn at the same time). different levels, etc.) and using their efficiency to create a space for exciting, satisfying, engaging, and substantive collaborative work.
The hybrid model of home schooling
If Prenda’s part-time model doesn’t work, another potential model would have whole days dedicated to one mode of learning or another. There are many hybrid home schools across the country that have students attend face-to-face classes for two or three days a week and work from home two or three days a week. Now, many of these schools do not have students working through personalized home-based learning programs — they are doing traditional homework — but that doesn’t mean we can’t get something out of their schedule.
A model like this could get students to work 2-3 days a week with custom learning software and then spend the other 2-3 days in school discussing, doing projects, doing sports, putting on plays, and doing all of them. the other things you need. is done in person. According to our survey at EdChoice, there seems to be a great appetite for this school model. There are also serious opportunities for schools to use facilities, faculty and staff more efficiently. This could reduce the cost of education and at the same time provide a richer and more effective school experience.
The Lumen True model
Last summer, I taught an enrichment class on the American K-12 education system to a group of college students. We had to do the class mostly based on distance discussions, which wasn’t ideal, but it allowed me to surprise them a bit. As a kind of community building activity, I encouraged them to watch the movie Miss Virginia at the same time one night and then used it as a starting point for the discussion the next day about the choice of school. What they didn’t know was that when the discussion started, I admitted Virginia Walden-Ford, Miss Virginia herself, to the video chat. He held court and answered questions for an hour. He killed.
That’s why I was so interested in seeing a new Catholic school in Boston using guest teachers and instructors for video conferencing. While the video conferencing class has many ways in which it is inferior, the ability to channel genuine experts and fascinating guest speakers is not one of them. Boston School’s Lumen Verum will limit daily screen time and have a rich set of face-to-face experiences for students, but the fact that they can bring passionate and knowledgeable international experts to talk about topics will provide students with a unique experience.
As my old friend Rick Hess likes to say, technology is a tool. Its job is not to replace educators or burden the entire education of children. Instead, it is something that educators can use to expand their reach, to help students access things that they would not otherwise be able to do in the traditional classroom, to personalize and personalize the offerings available to students. and to get over things faster than traditional ones. pedagogical methods. Great educators and great schools will use these tools and the time they free up to make education more humane, not less. They have the opportunity to create more time for collaborative and group projects, for the arts and sports, and for in-depth discussions with knowledgeable people.
It seems like there is a spring of hope in K-12 education. We avoid a winter of despair by appreciating the lessons we have learned this past year and using technology in a humane way to improve schooling.