over a month ago, I posted a blog
on tools. Since then I’ve been
talking to teachers, superintendents, district leaders, and others in the field
who have told me they want to know more about what’s available.
Over the last few years, it’s been exciting to
see an increasing array of flexible, instructional tools available in the
digital marketplace. Millions of teachers and school leaders are increasingly
finding instructional tools online, outside of traditional textbook adoption
processes. Many digital and content tool providers have succeeded in building
large user bases with minimal marketing using “freemium” models. This shows how
eager teachers are for good Common Core-aligned tools and resources. For
example, the EngageNY open educational resource (OER) curricula,
available nationally, has been accessed more than 22 million times.
As you know, the foundation has been talking
to teachers about what they tools they need and reporting what we learn in a
Know Best. Last April, we released a report, Teacher
Know Best: What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools which aggregated
and amplified the voices of teachers and students to help strengthen digital
content and tools. It surfaced valuable insights about the instructional
purposes for which teachers use digital tools and identified gaps in the
availability, usage, and perceived effectiveness of products across subjects
and grade levels. Since its release, the market for K-12 digital content and
tools has evolved significantly.
Next month the foundation will
release the next Teachers Know Best report, which updates the availability of
Common Core-aligned digital instructional tools by grade and subject. Early findings show that a higher
percentage of teachers believe that digital resources are available and
sufficient to help students met college- and career-ready standards.
The report strengthens our understanding
about how teachers perceive and use digital tools. By sharing this information,
we hope to enable product developers to be responsive to the needs of teachers
so they can create instructional tools that lead to improved student outcomes. After all nobody knows teaching like
aren’t the only ones asking for tools.
District and school leaders are reaching out to their colleagues across
the country and asking where they can find tools that tell them how well their
school is doing on implementing the Common Core State Standards, conducting
good observations of teacher practice, redesigning professional learning to
better meet teacher needs, figuring out how to arrange time for teachers to
collaborate or focusing district resources in ways that have greater
impact. To this end, attached is a
list of tools
and resources* arranged in some of these
categories. This is not an exhaustive
list – there are likely great things out there that we don’t know about. Nor is
this an endorsement. Rather it’s a means of sharing knowledge and information.
And we hope you will reciprocate. Let us know what tools you are seeing out
there that’s working for students and teachers, districts and schools. As Mo Rocca would say, “The Mo’ we know!”
* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided support
for some of these tools.