Since March 2020, we have seen widespread adoption of technology by adult educators. Throughout this process, we have seen a gradual shift from “emergency response teaching” — throwing whatever tech tool or platform we could at learners in an effort to keep learning going — to the realization that in order for edtech to be effective and sustainable, there must be strategic rationale behind edtech use.
To support this more strategic approach to edtech integration, as well as recognition of the need to be developing the digital skills of both learners and instructors, the EdTech Center (ETC) is excited to “soft launch” the EdTech Integration Strategy Toolkit. The Toolkit — currently in mobile-app format only — draws inspiration, content, and expertise from a variety of recent and ongoing ETC projects; these include the mLearning initiative (which has been supported in part through finding from the Barbara Bush Foundation’s Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition), the CrowdED Learning Initiative (funded by the WES Mariam Assefa Fund), the monthly Distance Education Strategy Sessions, and the Spring 2021 EdTech Maker Space Digital Skills Library project.
What is the toolkit?
The EdTech Integration Strategy Toolkit is a resource to help educators explore sustainable edtech routines — general, repeatable edtech activities that can be leveraged regularly regardless of context or content and provide predictable experiences for learners— and understand the underlying evidence-based strategies behind their use. It also provides guidance on how to develop learners’ digital literacy when implementing these routines by providing sample questions teachers can ask that support direct instruction of digital skills. These questions are designed to help make connections between the tasks learners perform by way of the routine to the underlying digital skills being developed.
To do this, the Toolkit is organized so educators can explore by three points of entry:
- BY ROUTINE: This tab allows educators to explore different edtech routines, organized into 5 categories based on what learners are doing within the routine:
- Engage & Question (e.g. exploring, connecting prior knowledge, forming inquiries)
- Build knowledge (e.g., researching, gathering and analyzing data)
- Process & Practice (e.g. mapping, visualizing, trying, questioning, wondering)
- Respond & Create (e.g. reporting, demonstrating, presenting)
- Assess & Reflect (e.g., defining criteria, monitoring, self-assessing, evaluating progress, reflecting)
- BY EDTECH TOOL: This tab allows you to explore various edtech tools, categorized into how they are used, and see if there are currently routines within the toolkit that leverage that tool. (Note: This is the least “complete” of the sections and is something for which we will be actively working to crowdsource content from practitioners in the coming year.)
- BY SKILL: This tab allows you to explore based on skills as defined by the Seattle Digital Equity Initiative’s Digital Skills Framework. Each skill includes learning resources you can use with your learners to help develop that skill, as well as “I can” statements that help establish relevance with learners.
The routines are based on work the EdTech Center’s CrowdED Learning initiative completed in November 2020 developing a curriculum-specific Technology Integration Toolkit as part of an update to Women Employed’s Career Foundation curriculum. They also draw from submissions included in EdTech Center’s mLearning Resource Hub as well as strategies shared during ETCs monthly Distance Education Strategy Sessions. There will be ongoing additions to the toolkit developed by instructors who complete the IDEAL 103 Building an EdTech Strategy Toolkit (BEST) course.
The “Anatomy” of EdTech Routines
Each routine includes activity details – the What, the Why, and the How of implementing the routine with your learners. Included in the Why are relevant evidence-based strategies described in the linked Digital Promise’s Adult Learner Variability Navigator site. (See this March 2021 lightning talk from Digital Promise’s Medha Tare and Sarah Caciccio to learn more about the Navigator.)
Some routines also include “View” and/or “Copy” links that allow you to see and make a copy of a template you can use to implement the routine with learners, such as this progress monitoring tool built in Google Sheets, which is used for the routine shown in the image.
At the bottom of each routine are details regarding the connected digital skills. This section provides context for explaining the digital skills learners develop as they engage in the routine, including direct questioning prompts you can use to invite discussion around the underlying digital skills.
The Digital Skills Library
The “Skills” section/library is currently the most robust of the three sections, and it builds off of the work of our Spring 2021 EdTech Maker Space project, in which nearly 60 educators aligned over 1,200 activities to the 75 skills of the Seattle Digital Equity Initiative’s (SDEI) Digital Skill Framework.
The activities within the library draw from GCFLearnFree.org (Goodwill Community Foundation), DigitalLearn.org (Public Library Association), Learn My Way (Good Things Foundation), and Basic Computer Skills MOOC (WISC-Online). Between now and our “official” launch November 12, we will also be adding in projects from Google Applied Digital Skills.
Within the skills library, you can navigate to a specific skill and see which activities align. For each activity, details are provided such as learning modality, source, and mobile-friendliness. You can launch each resource from the app, or copy the URL of a resource so you can share with learners by text, email, or other mode of communication.
Over time, we intend to have a student-facing version of the Digital Skills Library. It will also be integrated into our Spring 2022 update of SkillBlox.
This is just a starting point….and your ideas are needed!
At the moment, you will notice some inconsistencies within the app. That’s because this app is a work in progress….and we need your input to make sure we build off of this starting point in ways that make it as useful as possible to adult educators.
Because of this, you will notice that all screens within the app have a “provide feedback” button. This button will launch a form that you can use to provide feedback on anything: ideas for improvement, missing/erroneous links, suggestions for skill alignment updates, etc. Over the course of the next month, you will see lots of changes in real-time…including new activities, updated navigation, and updated images and icons.
Once we’ve incorporated your feedback, there will be plenty of opportunities to help us add to the toolkit. These include future EdTech Maker Space projects starting in early 2022 as part of our Digital Resilience for the American Workforce (DRAW) initiative, co-creation events, open calls for activity submissions, and more!
How to Access the Toolkit!
The Toolkit app was developed using Glide Apps, the same free, no-code app building tool we have used to develop our Marshall Leveled Reading Program and the Video Math Prep for the GED apps. Because it is a browser-based app, you first will open it within a browser and then need to add the site to your homescreen. Note: You can use the app both on your computer and your phone.
Follow these steps to add the app to your mobile device:
- Go to https://etctechtoolkit.glideapp.io/ on your mobile device.
- Once loaded on your device’s browser, you will be prompted to add the app to your homescreen. This process is different whether you are on an iOS or Android divide, so Glide offers this nifty video to walk you through the process.
- Once you’ve added it to your homescreen, it will appear as an icon just like any other app. All you have to do is tap to launch!
View the discussion from the November 12th Distance Education Strategy Session!
Watch an overview of what’s in the toolkit and how to use it, as well as a summary of practitioner feedback we’ve gathered in the lightning talk below.