For Teachers

Elementary Schools in New York Creating Digital Curriculum

By The Room 241 Team November 26, 2012

Online learning has been part of adult education for a long time, and distance education has also proved to be a great tool for high school students. For younger children, however, the concept is just starting to get off the ground. As part of their efforts to meet Common Core Standards in elementary schools, New York State has embraced the digital curriculum.

What a digital curriculum means for Common Core Standards

Like many states, New York has embraced Common Core State Standards to help students succeed. The goals behind these standards is to learn the course material in the classroom and to prepare for college and the workplace. Since digital media is clearly a major part of the future, it’s natural to incorporate it into¬†New York elementary school lesson plans.

In order to meet these standards, it is important that children are as engaged in their lessons as possible. The younger a child is, the more he will be able to absorb information. When adopting a digital curriculum in elementary schools, New York begins in grades four and five, then expands digital learning at the middle school level.

At one New York school that has a high percentage of low-income students, adopting a digital curriculum from Time to Know, a digital teaching platform, was a real asset in the classroom. The lessons became more interactive, and lesson planning and recording student progress became more streamlined. Using the program made meeting many Common Core Standards easier in a school where students were statistically likely to struggle.

Potential benefits of a digital curriculum

One of the key things to note with a digital curriculum for elementary schools in New York is that it works best when followed in conjunction with a more traditional curriculum model, rather than as a replacement. When you place a laptop on a student’s desk, especially an elementary student, there is bound to be some initial excitement. Initially, having such a powerful tool at their disposal can do a lot to excite a child about learning.

In many ways, a digital curriculum can individualize the instruction of elementary school students in New York. Recording metrics are often built into the curriculum model, making for easier grading for teachers. Just as having a new and different way to learn can excite students, being presented with innovative methods and a new level of support can also strengthen a teacher’s interest and help them notice opportunities for students to improve.

Digital curriculum: important points for teachers

While the development and increased availability of digital curriculum is a powerful tool, it is also a resource that requires a certain level of responsibility in order to be used successfully. Running a digital curriculum needs to involve much more than sitting kids down in front of a computer to work their lessons. Building communication skills with teachers and peers remains  very important for students as they learn.

While a laptop at a student’s desk is initially exciting, the “wow factor” tends to diminish. Teaching students to remember what they learned, not just how they learned it, is important.

One way to help assure digital learning is as effective as it can be is to start early. Even kindergartners can benefit from the interactive nature of this learning method, and the complete metrics can help nip any academic issues children may have in the bud. Also, when computers are a regular part of the classroom, students accept it as a core part of their learning experience and not as a novelty.

Regular use of digital lessons also keeps this method of teaching familiar to teachers. When they don’t need to spend as much time learning how to use technology, they can spend time catching up with students and assuring that they have every opportunity to be as successful as they can.

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