We are starting off 2022 with amazing news – we are proud to announce that FOUR of our solutions won Best of 2021 from Tech&Learning. The purpose of the awards was to recognize educational technology that exceptionally supported teachers and students in 2021, no matter what the learning environment. A panel of educators evaluated nominations based on a set of criteria such as the product’s ability to support different learning environments and student needs, versatility, and ease of use. Which Boxlight solutions were recognized by this well-respected organization?
The mission of Clayton County Public Schools (Jonesboro, GA) is “to empower scholars to achieve academic, professional, and personal goals by providing equitable access and experiences.” These experiences include consistent use of technology that will help them “build skills in literacy, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.”
The Phoenix Union High School District (Phoenix, AZ) mission is “Preparing every student for success in college, career, and life.” To ensure focus on this mission, teachers and staff are trained and supported to meet student needs and celebrate accomplishments as they work to prepare and inspire their students. There are challenges including the impact of the pandemic on student learning and teacher practice. Boxlight-EOS Education, the professional development division of Boxlight, has established a strong relationship with PXU (in its ninth year) so when remote learning became necessary, EOS designed training and support to help teachers and staff.
Boxlight-EOS Education is now a Google for Education Service Partner with the Google Cloud Partner Advantage Program. What does this mean? This upgrade in designation means that Boxlight-EOS Education is recognized as a Google Cloud Partner with Education Partner Expertise, enabling Boxlight-EOS to offer customized professional development and support specific to Google Workspace for Education and Google Cloud functions. This also means that Boxlight-EOS can offer professional development to organizations outside of the United States.
Krista Walker, Professional Development Program Manager with Boxlight-EOS Education, recently spoke with Larry Jacobs from Equity and Access Pre K-12 (ace-ed.org) about how school closures and the move to remote or hybrid learning due to COVID-19 changed professional development and support. Walker has 25 years of experience in education, including working with education technology, promoting accessibility and inclusive practices, helping educators include social and emotional learning into classroom instruction, encouraging community engagement, and advancing 21st-century enrichment.
There is countless research that says an engaging learning environment supports student achievement and success. As a former classroom teacher, my favorite memories are of seeing my students totally into a project, hearing them talk with their classmates about what they were doing, and celebrating their successes when they understood a concept or completed a project they worked so hard on. A classroom should be a place for conversation and collaboration, combined with critical thinking and creativity.
Now more than ever, school and parent/family connection is integral when it comes to supporting students as everyone is working to maneuver learning in various environments and situations. In response to school closures and a move to remote learning, there were districts that provided training to help the adults at home understand how online learning platforms, software programs, and video conferencing tools would be used. Parents and caregivers needed to know the what, when, why, and how of educational technology and how to best support learning at home.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework that helps teachers create flexible learning environments that can accommodate students’ unique learning needs. Research shows that when teachers incorporate UDL, they are better able to meet the comprehensive needs of their students, including students with learning disabilities. The goal of UDL is to implement a variety of methods to engage students, represent information, and encourage students to actively participate and express themselves. Essentially, the application of UDL eliminates barriers to learning.
This last year has shown, more than any other, that educators need to be prepared for any eventuality that could occur. It is critical that teachers learn how to plan their lessons so that they can easily be modified depending on the situation, whether for the whole school, lasts a few days, or for one student.