Da Vinci Recommends: the Best Learning Technologies for Remote Teachers

In March 2020, most of us, myself included, thought remote learning was just a temporary solution for a short-term problem. Now, in February 2021, it is clear that remote learning, at least in part, is here to stay. Although some teachers were able to transition back to traditional in-person learning in the fall, a majority of teachers are still in blended or fully remote environments. Also, even for those teachers who are working with students in-person, remote back-up plans are now in the back of their minds in case quarantine is necessary. 

Remote learning pros vs cons

Although remote learning does have its drawbacks, the wider access to technology and engaging lessons for all students is definitely something to celebrate. Many of my students I meet during Assistive Technology Consultations are so much more confident using their devices since their peers all use technology, too. Also, when I speak with students during our Assistive Technology Evaluations about what technology they use in class, it brings me so much joy to hear that their whole class collectively uses their devices on a daily basis. This equity is something that would likely have taken years to happen organically, and I feel honored to support our students and teachers in this time of great transition! 

Even though remote learning seemed nearly impossible at the beginning of this pandemic, our district partners across Long Island have proven to be resilient, adaptable, and focused on how to keep students engaged in their new environment. Since then, technology has been developed and refined to help teachers with this task. 

Make remote work easier with these 4 useful technologies 

Our team at DaVinci has compiled a list of some of our favorite remote learning resources, so that you can focus on the most important thing: your students. Before diving in, we recommend that you first take a look into which technology subscriptions your school district has access to, and use those resources first. You will likely come across some great new additions that are already available!

1. Google Jamboard

If you are a part of a Google school district, then this resource is already available to you as part of the G-Suite of applications. Jamboard is a fantastic tool to use with students in a Google Meet or as a separate assignment. This versatile virtual whiteboard can become a graphic organizer, an icebreaker activity, or even virtual manipulatives for math. The only limiting factor is your imagination! 

2. Nearpod and Pear Deck

Online interactive lesson platforms like Nearpod and Pear Deck provide a variety of ways to design lessons specifically for remote learning. Embedded check-in questions, videos, and assessment tools make these lessons interesting for students and help teachers identify students who may need additional support.

3. SMART Learning Suite

Even if you are teaching from home, you most likely have access to a variety of online tools and customizable games if you normally utilize a SMART board in the classroom. Simply log into the SMART Learning Suite and explore! Our favorite feature of this platform is the online games you can create using premade templates that are sent to your students. 

4. Book Widgets

The Book Widgets platform is a fantastic resource for creating and implementing online quizzes and tests with your students. When you send out an assignment through Book Widgets, not only can you see if a student has completed the activity, but you can even view their progress in real-time and provide feedback quickly. You also can create games and integrate this tool with a learning management system to put all assignments in one place! 

Da Vinci is here to help bridge the technology gap with you

Although Da Vinci still offers our traditional in-person services with the necessary safety protocols put in place, we are also happy to support our teachers and students remotely. Through consultations and evaluations, I have the opportunity to meet with students, teachers, and parents to ensure all parties are not only comfortable, but thriving using the available assistive technology tools. 

Our team at Da Vinci also offers Professional Development for teachers on a variety of different remote strategies. Through collaboration and research, we have even developed a Multisensory Tools of the Trade Professional Development to support teachers delivering multisensory reading instruction remotely in both synchronous and asynchronous models. If teachers need actionable steps to apply what they have learned from a professional development session, our consultants are always here to help! 

If you or your teachers would benefit from additional support in developing resources and delivering engaging lessons in their current remote setting, please reach out to us to learn more about our programs. We would love to work together to help both teachers and students succeed! 

Written by Christina Maragioglio, MS, Director of Technology and Learning

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