Over the past few weeks, the COVID-19 crisis has caused 124,000 schools to close, affecting at least 55 million students nationwide. A seismic shift in the way we think about digital learning tools is the result of several key changes:
- Administrators rapidly created plans for remote learning, including distribution of internet-connected devices in an attempt to address the growing equity gap for vulnerable students
- Teachers set up accounts in Google Classroom, adapted their lesson plans, coached parents on schedules for learning at home and strategized new ways to keep students engaged
- Parents searched for high-quality, easy to use resources to support their children’s learning, consulting different lists and sources with a wide variety of suggestions
- EdTech providers unlocked free product subscriptions, created new remote learning materials and offered webinars and other critical support to teachers, parents and students
As EdTech veterans and as parents of school-aged children, we recognize the urgency of identifying helpful tools. We hope to use our experience to make it easier for parents and teachers to find resources that have been shown to engage, to educate, to offer a safe and healthy learning environment and to provide user-friendly support for parents and teachers.
Today, we are launching a beta version of the new Games and Learning platform to help support the millions of children who are now primarily learning at home. This work builds on research funded through our 2019 National Science Foundation grant.
Here, parents and teachers can find hand-picked resources that are easy to use and great for kids, then save them to a playlist for quick access. Resources are organized across the top of the screen according to type of collection, subjects covered and relevant grade ranges. To find resources with a Spanish component, select Collections, then Available in Spanish.
All of the resources we highlight are web-based, to ensure maximum compatibility across different devices. To help parents and teachers quickly determine which resources meet their needs, descriptions include details on the resource’s unique value along with product screenshots and embedded product videos. Individual resource pages also provide direct links to account sign up pages. All resources are currently available for free or as a free trial.
If you decide a resource will be helpful, you can add it to your playlist. Playlists create a record of everything you save during one browsing session, eliminating the need to cut and paste web addresses. To view your playlist when you return to the site, simply create an account with your email address and password.
By selecting Remote Learning in the top navigation bar, you will find resources specific to setting up learning at home successfully and talking to kids about the COVID-19 crisis. You may also access sample at home learning schedules. These provide suggestions for which resources support common units for different grades.
New resources and features are being added to the site daily, so please check back often. Whether you are a teacher, a parent or a content provider, we would love to hear your thoughts on the platform and how we can help support your work.