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Interactive digital curriculum starts with the right content

By Jennifer Roland
October 7, 2015
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When you’re trying to engage students and provide differentiated instruction that helps students of all levels succeed, you need the right tools. You want an interactive digital curriculum that includes a robust selection of text-based materials, videos and simulations that provide deeper insight into abstract concepts and interactive activities that further learning objectives. Without these key elements, students won’t receive the benefits of digital curriculum — they’ll just be stuck using a paper textbook that’s been ported to their tablet.

You also need a strong learning management system that lets teachers see how students are progressing through the interactive digital curriculum while enabling control of devices as needed to return students to task or ask them to pay attention to the teacher.

Interactivity matters

Teachers have known for many years that students enjoy a discovery learning model where they can learn by doing. They also know that they must guide the discovery so that students — especially the younger ones — don’t get too focused on one element of the curriculum or develop logical fallacies that will hinder further learning. Interactive activities within a solid digital curriculum provide guided hands-on experiences that offer discovery plus teacher guidance. They also play into students’ experience using interactive technologies outside of the classroom to keep them engaged in classroom subjects.

When searching for a digital curriculum, look for a blend of activity types to ensure that students of all learning styles have access to materials that resonate with them. And look for a system that assesses student progress and provides additional activities to enhance learning of a challenging topic — and further work for students who need more of a challenge.

A good management system is easy to use

Overall, you need the system to be easy for teachers to use. According to Karen Limbacher, editorial director at McGraw-Hill Education, teachers can be apprehensive about moving into a 1:1 computing environment because they’re worried the kids might know more about the technology than they do.

She also explained that these fears can be overcome in a few ways. The first is using a system that offers the control they need to manage their students and access feedback telling them how well each student is progressing and who might need extra help on each topic. This technology should also allow teachers to add outside resources they enjoy using and are comfortable with. Finally, when assessing a tool, make sure the dashboard is visually appealing and uses language and icons a teacher will easily recognize for the important functions.

A good digital curriculum will allow teachers to feel comfortable using a set of classroom tablets or computers with students right away. It will also provide teachers with the support and tools they need to move from a stand-and-deliver model of teaching to being a guide for every student.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Samsung Business Insights blog. Visit the blog to read about the latest trends in educational technology, including The Benefits of Integrating Wearable Technology in Education and How to Design Effective Technology Training for Teachers.

Jennifer Roland is a freelance writer focusing on education, technology, lifestyle and marketing content. Her work has appeared in Learning & Leading with Technology, ED Tech: Focus on K-12, Mind-Shift and edCetera. Her first book, The Best of Learning & Leading with Technology, was published by ISTE in July 2009. Roland blogs at Follow her on Twitter @jenroland.  Untitled Document

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