Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Flexi-Tech and a New School Year

Whew!  It's been a while!  Gotta love that back to school chaos!  That is one thing I can always count on being consistent with the start of every school year.  The unending days of preparation for back to school, especially in the Tech department, are always exhausting!

At any rate, things are moving full speed ahead into what I hope to be a remarkable school year.

One reason I'm hoping things are remarkable is because of a rather unexpected COVID gift.

When COVID hit, every district scrambled to launch a one-to-one program for all grades.  My school was a lucky one - we restructured the iPads and Chromebooks we had in the building and were able to provide iPads for each of our Kindergarten through second grade students, and Chromebooks to each of our third and fourth grade students.  This, combined with our decade old one-to-one program in fifth through eighth grade, and every single K-8 student was ready to roll should we have had to shift to remote.

But now life is back in person, so you might be wondering, where are you going with this?  And by the way, what is flexi-tech?

Flexi-tech is a term I'm coining right now that means using tech during flexible learning time to support students.  Flexible learning time in my school is the time between arrival and the start of school.  There is a 20 minute window where students are being dropped off before the official start of school.

In the past, our upper grades (5-8) have always been able to arrive early and hang out in their learning community, but this is new for our Kinder - 4th grade students, and is a great opportunity to utilize the newly continued one-to-one technology.

Because now, there are roughly 20 minutes every day that a child can grab their device and get customized practice, enrichment, review, or whatever it is they need.  Whether a teacher pushes out a Seesaw activity, a Google Classroom task, or any variety of tool, now that students have their own devices, that time becomes bonus learning time.  Since so many schools went one-to-one, why not utilize the tools teachers now have at their fingertips fill gaps that may or may not have been caused by COVID?

So often we have the tools, but not the time.  If we can rethink using one-to-one tech for those pockets of learning time that are sprinkled throughout the days, if we can look at the assessments we're already doing, and use the one-to-one tech to provide personalized practice.... the sky is the limit!


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