Learning in new spaces and places
Continuous Learning is a rallying cry for those who believe that:
- Learning can happen any time and anywhere
- Students deserve to continue learning despite disruptions and building closures
- Learning happens best when the tools teachers use work in all teaching spaces and modalities
When COVID-19 disrupted our classroom spaces and sent students home (some with tablets or laptops, others without), we saw teachers rise to the challenge and create pathways for connecting with students. Teachers have always been deliberate about making learning happen in classrooms–but they have adapted to take advantage of other places and opportunities in students’ lives where learning can happen. This is continuous learning.
Challenges to remote learning
Truthfully, not everything worked when we were taken by surprise with sudden building closures. Some students didn’t have what they needed to continue learning outside of school. We had to quickly discover new ways to engage our students and promote learning. This lost instructional time meant that students—some of whom were already struggling—experienced far lower gains. Analysis of student data found that underserved groups suffered the most. These issues are serious and require attention.
Other issues became apparent, too. As educators scrambled to discover tools that could be used in remote or hybrid teaching, they adopted a wide range of edtech programs. Some teachers found themselves using upward of 30 different apps and tools. As a result, there was often a lack of consistency and alignment across a growing number of digital applications, causing frustration for teachers, students, and families.
Nonetheless, we persevered and realized that the tools we used and skills we developed will still be needed for some time to come. We can continue to extend classroom learning more broadly into students’ lives, even with students in classrooms full time.
Best practices for ensuring continuous learning
Tried and true methodologies that work in the classroom can also work when applied to remote learning environments—albeit with a few tweaks. These best practices include:
- Know where your students are—and what they’re ready to learn
- Accelerate their learning by giving them the grade-level instruction they deserve, while giving them the practice that is personalized to their specific instructional needs now
- Use data and insights to examine outcomes at the student, school, and district levels
- Address inequities revealed in your data and continually measure and monitor your efforts
When teachers bookend instruction and practice with a deep look at where students are and what they’re ready to learn—when we collect meaningful data to plan instruction and then later reflect on its effects—students grow. Assessment-driven and insights-informed instruction and practice are central to continuous learning.
The push for online learning, high-dosage tutoring, and making up lost instructional time
While the recent disruptions accelerated a push toward online learning, the need was already there and the trend was already well underway. While we learned ways to change our practices, these changes actually build on priorities we have had for a very long time.
Educators were already supportive of educational technologies that give them line-of-sight into how students are engaging and how effectively they’re performing. Students appreciate technology that adapts to their needs, especially when it provides a sense of agency and insight into where they’re growing.
Being able to begin a lesson in the classroom (or synchronously) and continue it outside the classroom (or asynchronously) is critical to ensuring that learning continues. If educators are using tools that support this practice, then responding to sudden changes in schooling doesn’t require any change in tools or basic pedagogy. Students are accustomed to working with these tools, so the shift is less likely to slow students down. Learning continues, even though the places and times for that learning may be different.
Teachers are now discovering that some of the apps can be used both for initial whole class instruction, as well as for adaptive, tailored, or supplemental practice for students who need it. This supplies a perfect solution for two needs: the need to teach on grade level for all students, and the need to provide high-dosage and individualized tutoring for some. The ability to use those tools for both classroom and online learning provide even more flexibility for teachers and students.
These two approaches—working with our students face-to-face and finding ways for them to work at other times and places—aren’t likely to go away. For one, educators don’t want to be caught by surprise if disruptions shut down schools and send everyone home. With solutions in place to support remote learning, we can ensure the educational process continues when facing other crises that close physical school buildings, such as natural disasters, facility maintenance, or weather events.
But more importantly, educators have discovered that these tools can more effectively accomplish their teaching and learning goals and outcomes, with less friction, new insight, and more student agency.
How to ensure continuous learning
Get clear strategies for promoting greater access and equity, whether you’re teaching students in-person, remotely, or in a blended/hybrid environment.Watch now
How Renaissance can help
Using tools that were designed for both synchronous and asynchronous (or remote) teaching and learning can help ensure that educators can adopt a highly flexible—or “hyflex”—teaching style that can adapt to whatever disruptions may occur.
Support for educators and students no matter where learning takes place is a central part of what Renaissance offers in the pre-K through grade 12 learning space. Learn more about this by clicking the buttons below.
Deliver high quality learning with tools that work any time, anywhere, and with any curriculum
Teaching and learning are no longer confined to brick-and-mortar classrooms and face-to-face interactions. Instead, technology allows teachers and students to connect from everywhere—and helps teachers to provide personalized, engaging experiences for learners at all grade levels, both in and out of the classroom.
Apply assessment results to help guide and evaluate instruction
Knowing where your students are and what they’re ready to learn is key to accelerating learning. With the right assessment, you can validate very quickly where your students are on the learning progression to guide next steps and actively support greater growth.
- Use Focus Skills™ to prioritize instruction of critical skills essential to future growth.
- Map the path forward for all students with results from Star Assessments tied to standards-based learning progressions.
- Administer Star Assessments that best fit your needs and purpose—computer-adaptive tests for reading, math, and early literacy in English and Spanish; skill-specific Star Custom probes; or one-minute Star CBM measures for math and reading in the elementary grades.
Provide instruction and practice that supports students’ needs
Providing students with the right instruction and practice is key to accelerating growth. With the push to ensure students are being taught at grade level, educators need tools that can support whole class practice at grade level but can also meet and adapt to where students are and what they’re ready to learn.
- Provide anytime, anywhere access to thousands of myON digital books that match student interests and reading levels.
- Encourage and track adaptive and targeted practice at home and in school with Freckle activities that lead to greater growth.
- Personalize Accelerated Reader goals around comprehension, engaged reading time, and students’ reading levels to keep them on the path to success.
- Build foundational literacy at school and at home by offering students personalized, standards-aligned practice with Lalilo.
Use insights to track trends and outcomes to ensure greater equity
Once you’ve done the hard part, it’s important to zoom out and see the outcomes—not only at the student level, but also at the class-, school-, and district-levels. Look for trends that reveal successes as well as inadequacies, or worse, inequities. Schoolzilla provides important insights at the right level for school and district leaders to make informed choices about pedagogy and policy.
- Measure performance across metrics to ensure the right students get the right support at the right time.
- Sort and view your data by subgroup such as gender, primary ethnicity, grade level, school level, SPED status, and more to see which populations of students could benefit from additional support.
- Prioritize actions as you move toward equitable solutions by viewing data changes over time for various subgroups.
- Spot trends and track the impact of any adjustments or reforms with longitudinal views of student data.
Support for families, educators, and students in the classroom and at home.
How Renaissance can help
Renaissance products for this solution
Instruction and practice
Data and connections
Continuous Learning All Product digital catalog
Today’s classroom is rapidly evolving. Learning is taking place in new ways. Educational tools should serve (not replace) the teacher— inside and outside of the classroom. No matter how you’re teaching, our tools help you to accelerate learning for every studentDownload