On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath invites back Sean Coffron, Instructional Technology Training Specialist, back to talk about digital citizenship, classroom management, and closing the digital divide. Sean shares his predictions about the upcoming school year and the future of digital education.
Listen to Episode 31:
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Don’t have time to listen to the episode? Here’s a peek at what’s inside…
Focus Areas for the Fall Semester
Sean Coffron joined us on the Tackling Tech podcast for the second time to talk about what has changed since going back to school remotely and what focus areas are top of mind for his team and for teachers at his school district. He shared that this is a really exciting time because we are starting to see the fruits of our labor with remote learning come to fruition. Sean is seeing a lot of different types of learning taking place and more innovation entering the classroom than ever before.
One thing Sean’s team heavily focused on during the Spring was engaging students, and now they are seeing that students are eager to learn remotely and are engaged in the learning. It’s nice to see that their prediction came true.
A few of the main areas of focus this year are professional development, finding new resources, social-emotional learning, digital citizenship, and classroom management.
Digital Citizenship with Remote Learning
Sean explained that although these other areas are top of mind, nothing is more important to his school right now than digital citizenship. Digital citizenship has always been a concern for K-12 educators, but now more than ever it is of the utmost importance.
“Students have access to different resources during class now that they are remote, and there are many different ways that they can become disengaged with materials. Students have to manage this and teachers have to be able to provide additional or different structures to help students stay engaged with the lesson,” explained Sean Coffron.
Incorporating SEL Strategies
A big focus for Manassas City Public Schools has also been to focus more heavily on Social-Emotional Learning. Sean Coffron shared some SEL strategies that have been working well for them.
1. Mindfulness – Sean Coffron explained that being mindful of students’ emotional growth is crucial to effective social-emotional learning. Work on developing and integrating mindfulness activities into every lesson. Build relationships and engagement with the material as part of the process of learning.
2. SEL Resources – There are so many resources out there to help support social-emotional learning that Manassas City Public Schools has leaned into. Some of these resources include Common Sense Media and Mindfulness.org. Sean expressed that the industry has really stepped up with creating an abundance of SEL resources.
3. Office Hours – One tactic that has worked well for Sean’s teachers is deploying office hours for the last period of the day. This started as a way for students to get additional help after class from their teachers, but Sean is finding more and more that students are using this time to establish relationships with their teachers. Students are checking in with teachers and showing them things that they are working on outside of just that class.
What can we expect from the rest of the year?
The closing question for the episode was a big one, and Sean had some great perspective on what to expect from the rest of this school year. Sean explained that “in the last three years, there has been a huge push for social-emotional learning, so it’s so important that we promote digital citizenship and give students the tools they need to be responsible and effective digital citizens.”
Sean also went on to explain that we can expect more PD opportunities and resources for teachers and students. When students come back, there will be a transition period where students will need to learn how to do school all over again. He shared, “we’ve been in remote learning for so long that students now have more digital expertise and we need to give both teachers and students the tools to make in-class learning effective.”