How to make the most of your district’s technology investments

School districts invest millions of dollars in technology, from hardware like tablets and Chromebooks to software like single sign-on applications (SSO) and learning management systems (LMS). How can administrators ensure they’re making the the most of the technology they’ve invested in?

Numerous studies have shown that technology can be a powerful aid in increasing student learning.  But it’s not enough to simply purchase the latest high-priced software or hardware. Administrators need to make certain their teachers and students can make the most of these investments.

Work with, not against, technology

Learning Management Systems like Canvas, D2L Brightspace, and Schoology are great examples of technology investments that can make an administrator’s job more efficient. Though an LMS can help a district distribute approved instructional materials to their teachers more effectively, an LMS is only truly as effective in impacting classroom instruction as the instructional content that fills it. For an adopted LMS to make an impact, administrators need to make sure that their teachers are equipped with high-quality, standards-aligned materials aligned to district instructional goals from day one.

LearnZillion’s LTI integration streamlines the process of adding high-quality instructional materials into an LMS. Common Cartridges allow for easy  uploading of an entire school year’s math or ELA curriculum, and Content-Item Messaging allows your teachers to search LearnZillion’s content bank by topic or standard to find exactly the materials they need.

Filling your LMS with digital curricula isn’t without potential pitfalls. Often, instructional content claims to be digital, but ends up being difficult to fully access digitally. PDFs and other rigid content formats are essentially unusable in most digital settings.

When evaluating curricular materials, the key is choosing materials that work with your technology, not against it. LearnZillion’s curricular materials were built to be digital; they’re easily accessed and used across devices and classroom settings, allowing teachers and students to engage with the same lesson in a variety of ways.

Preparing your students for end-of-year assessments

Accessing quality content isn’t the only consideration when it comes to making the most of your technology.

End-of-year assessments now rely on technology-enhanced items (TEI) that students may not otherwise have exposure to during the course of a regular school year.

By incorporating digital assessments that rely on TEIs into your district’s curriculum, teachers can ensure students have regular access to the question types they’ll face on end-of-year assessments. LearnZillion’s bank of standards-aligned digital assessments rely on a variety of TEIs to cover topics across K-12. By embedding high-quality digital assessments directly into your instructional materials, your district can make certain that students are familiar with TEIs well before testing time.

Technology as a tool

At the end of the day, technology isn’t meant to drive our actions. Instead, it represents an opportunity for districts to be more strategic and more streamlined in their instructional approach, and in the end have more impact on student learning.

Making the most of that opportunity is where the challenge comes in. But with the right supporting materials, administrators can use their technological investments to take charge of the learning process like never before and truly set their teachers and students up for success.

Casey Manning is the Marketing Communications Manager at LearnZillion. She can recommend a great spot to grab a bite in any city, even the ones she’s never been to.

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