Morning Talk Show: Why Digital, Why Now?
In the last weekend of January, educators and proponents of digital curriculum gathered to discuss its impact on schools. The day was filled with courses on how to make the most of digital curriculum. There were also sessions to help attendees research options for their classrooms.
Our new curriculum partners, Fishtank Learning and Kendall Hunt, joined us to talk about their curricula offerings. This forum gave them a chance to explore how a digital option would extend their reach to students. Concurrently, real educators using Kiddom showed the audience how to do amazing things, like collaborate with teachers on curriculum planning, contextualize curriculum for personalized learning, and use data to provide targeted support to every learner.
In case you missed it, check out the top five takeaways and the presentations with the links below.
Top 5 Takeaways from ‘Digital Curriculum is Here to Stay.
1.There’s a new stomping ground in teaching and learning—where both autonomy AND structure can reside.
In a session led by instructional coach Elizabeth Anderson, attendees of ‘Digital Curriculum is Here to Stay’ found out how teachers in Rutherford County, TN were using Kiddom to collaborate on curriculum planning. Anderson showed the audience how curriculum planning used to look: a siloed Excel spreadsheet that pointed to an arsenal of paper artifacts that teachers would have to juggle. This was a Herculean feat during ‘normal’ learning circumstances, and a huge inconvenience for nimble distance learning.
At first it may come from the teacher’s recommendation but when consistently used in a non-punitive way, students can begin to advocate for themselves and utilize the calming corner on their own. In addition, allowing students to co-create this space by decorating or adding encouraging quotes gives them a sense of ownership and belonging. Start the beginning of the year with a space that has relaxing and self-regulating items and ask students how you can make it more impactful for them.
With the curriculum built out in Kiddom, teachers at Rutherford County, TN can now easily assign homework and assessments to students from the same tool they use to keep an eye on the pace of curriculum and instruction. Interventionists can view the standards attached to each lesson and unit, and explore the assignments that assess each standard. And with the ‘Edit’ curriculum button in Kiddom, teachers can make tweaks to suit the needs of their learners without affecting the master copy of curriculum that was distributed to their team. Digital curriculum provides teachers with the structure of a paper-bound collection of teaching materials, with the ability to edit on the go.
Morning Talk Show: Why Digital, Why Now?
How to Collaborate with Teachers in Kiddom
2. Digital curriculum allows teachers to meet every learner at their level.
For years, buzzwords in the education industry like ‘differentiation’ and ‘personalized instruction’ have worn out teachers who weren’t looking for another way to say ‘good teaching.’ This year was no different, as the shift to distance learning further illuminated the ways in which our learners differ from one another, by allowing students to move at their own pace.
But when standards-aligned digital curriculum is housed in the same place as data and assessment, these buzzwords gain depth. Not only does differentiated instruction become possible with the click of a button, you can also see where intervention took place with a timeline of data that measures the growth of each student in every standard.
Kiddom provides in-depth standards mastery data as well as an overview of which assignments were tied to each standard. Teachers can easily find out which standards students are struggling with and, with the help of the Kiddom Content Library, assign targeted support before reaching the end-of-unit assessments. Differentiated instruction takes on a new meaning when teachers and students are backed by a capable platform that is attuned to the needs of every learner.
How to Leverage Data to Personalize Instruction
3. Flexibility is the name of the game.
Most digital curricula are considered open educational resources (OER), meaning that they are either in the public domain or openly licensed. This allows educators to engage in the 5R activities with OER curriculum: retaining, remixing, revising, reusing, and redistributing, which spells out more flexibility in the classroom.
When teachers can modify and adapt OER curriculum, it opens up opportunities to personalize learning and increase cultural relevance for students. The ability to edit also makes for a smoother transition to hybrid and remote instructional models, as teachers can edit questions that call for students to discuss something in groups, says OER researcher Jennifer Wolfe.
In the Kiddom platform, these modifications are possible but not always necessary. With the group chat feature, students can discuss a topic in groups where the teacher has visibility over all communication within the group. That leads to our next point:
How to Edit Curriculum in Kiddom
4. Online learning can create more connection points with students, not less.
One of the most prominent grievances against distance learning is that it removes the face-to-face interactions between students and teachers and among students alone. But when leveraged to its full potential, a digital tool like Kiddom can create more opportunities for students to interact with the material and explain how they interpret it.
Kiddom allows teachers to set different response types for a question: multiple choice, open-ended, short answer, as well as video and audio responses. Using these last two options, teachers can challenge students to explain their thought process on a math question, or allow them to answer a discussion question without an audience. Not only does this create more entry points for students to engage with instructional materials, it also strengthens digital literacy skills while allowing students to move at their own pace.
5. There are positive stories about students going digital—we need to hear more of them.
The overnight shift to online instruction was far from ideal, as it left teachers feeling unsupported, administrators under pressure, and families feeling overwhelmed. If you were to go based off of the news alone, it would seem that the bright teachers and students of our nation never got beyond that initial shock.
Since last March, we have been inundated with negative press about distance learning. But where digital curriculum is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury, we need to elevate the stories of students thriving on digital platforms rather than highlighting the initial missteps in connectivity and video chat.
To ignore the progress and discoveries made by students and teachers on virtual learning would be like writing off the past year entirely. But there are spaces, such as the Kiddom event ‘Digital Curriculum is Here to Stay,’ that welcome these stories of success. “By far and large, I would actually say that the students hit a home run with virtual this year. I was pleased, they were pleased—they knew what was expected of them,” says Dr. Amy Whitener, a 5th grade ELA teacher in Chattanooga, TN. Digital learning has opened a new arena for students to impress (and even surpass) their teachers.
EL Education K-8 Language Arts <> Kiddom
Fishtank Learning <> Kiddom
IM-Certified Digital Curriculum through Kendall Hunt
These times have demanded a lot out of teachers and school leaders. All in all, the event program made one thing clear: there is no time like the present to consider a high quality, digital curriculum. We know that our ability to adapt to the crises of today will impact the leaders of tomorrow. So what better way to prepare students for the world being left to them than by encouraging autonomy and strengthening digital skills? All that, and more, is possible with Kiddom.
We hope you enjoy this free professional learning content. Should any questions arise as you are viewing this playlist, feel free to reach out to us using the button below.
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 one place. 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.
Ready to bring digital curriculum to your school or district?
Connect with us in a 15-minute meeting to learn more about available pre-packaged curriculum, and how the Kiddom education platform can support your learning community.