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Proven digital tools aid remote, in-person instruction

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The coronavirus pandemic has forced significant and swift changes in education. As educators, we’ve been forced to adjust the way we deliver content and interact with students seemingly overnight. Even with schools doing their best to be in-person, we are certainly not back to "normal" -- and maybe never will be.

With stress and burnout among educators at an all-time high, teachers don’t need a pat on the back or a catchy motto that says we’re all in this together. What we really need is help. We need research-based instructional strategies that promote student ownership of learning. We need ready-to-use activities that pair quality content with proven strategies. We need a simple, efficient way to collect evidence of student learning. And we need all of this at our fingertips.

For me, that help best comes in the form of reputable and easy-to-use digital resources. Two of my most recent favorite resources are from Scholastic and Discovery Education. But don’t just take it from me: these two tools just won Tech & Learning's new Awards of Excellence program for the best tools for back-to-school. Not only do they help me integrate amazing content aligned to standards, it’s all divided by grade levels to make it even easier as a teacher to know where to go.

Tool for primary students

Scholastic Literacy Pro is an independent, instructional reading program that provides access to more than 2,500 ebooks. These ebooks take students on learning adventures and empower them to set and monitor their own literacy goals. Plus, educators get information in real-time about activities, comprehension, and progress. It’s a real win as a teacher to see how my students are learning and to see their literacy skills increase in front of my eyes!

Tool for secondary students

Discovery Education recently announced pretty cool platform updates include free, ready-to-use digital lessons.  Many of the ready-to-use activities — which are updated monthly — present content to students, then have students answer questions about their learning. These embedded questions provide a quick assessment of student understanding, making the tool a one-stop-shop-stop shop. Plus, the  ready-to-use activities integrate with Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Brightspace, and Clever, which should make using this tool and these systems even easier.

In a time of rapid changes and ever-mounting stress, these are the things teachers really need.  It’s reassuring to know that I have ready access to reliable resources that support teachers like me in very real, very meaningful ways. 

Laura Mitchley is an instructional coach in Lancaster County, Pa. 

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