school choice

5 ways technology can support educators in an environment of expanding school choice

Taking a mixed bag of opinions into consideration, here's how edtech can support educators amid school choice.

2. Data

One of the unintended consequences of school choice is increased student mobility. More choice means more students will move from their neighborhood school to a new school of their choice. This means new students often arrive in classrooms with no background information or data.

As students move from one school to another, administrators and teachers need access to student data and special needs information in order to provide appropriate services and programs. Digital data, common data formats, and interoperable technology systems allow for the seamless transfer of student information and can make student mobility less burdensome for educators, students, and families.

3. Classroom Management

Technology that helps teachers be more efficient at basic classroom management also frees teachers to provide more instruction. It has the ability to create time and space for innovation, helping teachers meet the expanding needs of school choice. Technology can streamline classroom management tasks like grouping students by academic performance levels and facilitating small group or individualized instruction.

Electronic and online gradebook systems that help track student progress can free teachers from mundane tasks and provide time for new instructional approaches. For example, Edmentum’s latest individualized learning solution Exact Path, gives teachers real-time, actionable information that can help shape their lesson plans.

4. Academic Placement

A study released in 2015 by the Georgia Governor’s Office on Student Achievement found that as student mobility increased, scores on the College and Career Ready Performance Index decreased.  Knowing that expanding school choice will increase student mobility, it is critical for educators to find ways to prevent or minimize this achievement gap.

As students change schools, especially across district boundaries, academic performance data doesn’t always follow them. In many cases, educators do not have the ability to place students at appropriate curriculum levels.

Technologies like computer-adaptive assessments can help by providing quick, efficient placement on an academic growth scale and give teachers immediate information that establishes students’ knowledge and skill levels. Adaptive assessments can facilitate the integration of new students and ease student mobility.

5. Adaptive and Personalized Learning

Another way education technology can support schools is through the automation of processes that help integrate students into new environments.

One example is adaptive learning systems. These combine assessment and instruction, automatically assign content based on that data, and track individualized progress as students demonstrate mastery of learning. Imagine a student that comes to a new school for the first time and is placed in a classroom with a teacher that has no prior knowledge of the student’s ability. Adaptive learning systems can identify that student’s individual need, provide the appropriate learning, and help accelerate academic growth while limiting the time burden for teachers.

In the long history of education and reform, charter schools and school choice are relatively new concepts. And the results are mixed. One thing is certain: While education reformers, civil rights advocates, and political leaders debate future education policies, schools and educators will adapt and rise to the challenge of educating future generations.

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