Fast-forward to 2025—how will we look back at 2020 and 2021 from an education perspective? Will the efforts to address multiple challenges around continuity of learning be considered successful? Will aspects of “post-pandemic” education recovery be realized? Will the social and emotional learning needs of students be addressed?
We all read the headlines and see the data pointing to widespread absenteeism, lack of engagement, learning loss, isolation, and the increase in suicide, violence, and drug use, as well as social and emotional learning challenges. In addition to all of that, schools are grappling with bringing their students back into their classrooms safely and effectively. It is a lot to overcome and get right. When we look back and reflect on this extremely difficult time, I believe we will be proud of the way educators leveraged technology to focus on the student—each student—by being aware and mindful of the digital signals they gave us every day.
What is meant by digital signals? Our students live in an online world, and the transition to remote learning has significantly grown students’ online presence—as much as 12 or more hours per day on their devices. As students engage with online tools and resources, they are creating a digital profile that provides insight into their patterns of learning or disengagement. More importantly, these digital signals can reveal harmful behaviors they are inflicting upon themselves or others. Even in a traditional class setting, educators cannot always determine engagement or identify who is struggling academically or emotionally. With the right tools, educators can get insight into the digital signals students leave, providing awareness and data that educators need to fully support students in any learning modality.
Without tools like CatchOn, an expansive data analytics tool, and Gaggle, a student safety solution, it is impossible for educators and school districts to know what apps are being used on district devices, which students are disengaged, or which students are exhibiting harmful behavior. Student engagement and safety are fundamental to the successful education recovery efforts as we move forward.