Find Out What Teachers Actually Use—and Why
Moving from a few tech-infused classrooms to a blended learning school or district is a plan, and the first step in the planning process is to find out what’s going on. That’s not too hard in a small school, but for a dozen schools, you’re talking about hundreds of interviews—a costly and timely endeavor.
As recently noted, Six Red Marbles launched Curriculum Insight, an easy-to-use online instructional material audit. It compiles a list of what teachers are using—and not using—as well as allows teachers to anonymously rate resources for ease of use, effectiveness, and ability to instigate student engagement.
In a time when the number of open resources and online tools is exploding, students are learning from more than just the traditional district textbook, so it’s important that districts are aware of the best and most used resources in their schools. Reports from Curriculum Insight provide information that can help district administrators shape purchasing decisions and appropriate budgets more effectively.
“The data from Curriculum Insight helped us look at how we can better allocate our budget for instructional materials and make better-informed decisions,” said Jill Lachenmayr of Andover Public Schools in Kansas.
In April, new federal privacy guidelines suggested that districts should approve classroom resources, but as first noted in theSmart Series Guide to EdTech Procurement, it’s important to know what your schools are already using. Curriculum Insight has helped districts save a lot of money by taking an inventory of what teachers are using and finding resourceful.
At Henry County Schools in Georgia, some of the purchasing is done at the school level, and with 50 schools, one can only imagine the amount of materials being purchased. There were even schools within the district using different LMSs, which caused the district to take steps toward choosing a single LMS for all schools. To do so, they found it necessary to track curriculum usage to find similarities as well as increase district knowledge of the materials that were the most effective and being used in their most successful schools.
Donald Warren, Director of Learning & Leadership Services for Henry County Schools, said Curriculum Insight “was extremely user-friendly, and it took teachers only five minutes to complete the survey. The CI team was quick to gather and deliver the data to us.”
Rhode Island’s size and leadership has facilitated a number of productive partnerships, most recently including The Learning Accelerator (TLA). In fact, Rhode Island has adopted statewide use of Curriculum Insight and recently became the nation’s first fully blended learning state in the nation. Rhode Island has shown that the right way to start the transition to blended learning is with a quick and efficient curriculum audit, and Curriculum Insight is a great way to begin.
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