As we approach the end of the 2020-2021 school year, resuming in-person learning during the pandemic remains a significant barrier for many district administrators. Whether it’s creating a safe learning environment or bridging the digital equity gap, teachers continue to face the pressures and demands of adapting to virtual learning environments. Embracing human-to-human interaction in a digital classroom is not easy, but it is far from impossible.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, tech administrators at East Noble School Corporation began adopting a forward-thinking approach to virtual learning. The district was well-prepared for the unthinkable, from integrating new digital tools to turning snow days into e-learning days.
“We were already doing virtual learning before Covid hit, which gave us a leg up. Our teachers had a lot less stress in terms of preparation for instructing from home than the majority of other people across the nation” – Joanna Cook, Chief Technology Officer.
As part of their forward-thinking approach, East Noble partnered with Promethean to integrate edtech that supports face-to-face and remote learning environments.
A Simplified Technology Adoption
East Noble tech administrators arrived at a crossroads with projector-based technology, realizing that the technology couldn’t support their future-forward goals. Before the district signed off on its next major purchase, administrators specifically sought out teachers to have a strong voice at every tech integration phase.
“We like to let our teachers have a say and decide what we use because they’re the ones using it. They thought the best technology for the classroom was the Promethean board. ” – Josh Walters, 1:1 Manager.
Armed with acquired knowledge capital from its ‘Nerdy Thursday’ professional development sessions, technology coaches such as Laura Sibert at East Noble Middle School spearheaded the integration process with Promethean ActivPanel. “I watched bite-sized [Promethean] video clips and would add cool things that I saw. If I thought my whole staff needed it, I would create a task card and do a brief training,” said Sibert.
The district prioritized a plan to ensure teachers and students felt comfortable with the panel features while knowing how to use them with existing technology such as 1:1 devices.
Keeping Kids Engaged – Even from Home
East Noble teachers have incorporated more ActivPanel features to customize their collaborative classroom, helping mitigate the influx of students working remotely in quarantine. Using ActivPanel with Chromebook™ devices, students engaged live with the panel in small groups. Real-time annotations and extensive interaction with PowerPoint™ and Google Slides™ materials have provided a seamless segue to drive student participation.
“It was a mindset shift of ‘this isn’t just your laptop being shown on a screen.’ The panel can do virtually everything you need it to do,” said Walters.
By optimizing Google Meet™ chat features and encouraging kids to share presentations and work on the panel, tangible interaction has become the norm for all students. For teachers at East Noble, adopting the ActivPanel has helped them share lessons from school to home and provide engaging experiences for their students.
According to Sibert, “The panel is such a big part of their day. It makes it easier for our teachers to record classes so that kids can see and interact live with the presentation from anywhere.”
Creating Your Digital Future
Taking advantage of technology will help you create a more engaging experience for you and the students. Need a quick brain boost during a prep period? Check out our video library for one-minute tips on how to adapt tools that spark innovation. If you’d like to share your vision for tech integration, contact us for a live demo here.