Curb the 'Summer Learning Slide' with Digital Learning Resources

Posted by Zack Blois on May 16, 2013 3:34:00 PM
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We all love our students’ presence everyday in class, but we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge our watchful eye on the fast-approaching last school day of the year. If you’re an educator, give yourself a brief second to let out a well-deserved, but subdued squeal of excitement...

Now hold on tight to that little smirk, because the following stat is a bit of sobering news. According to a study completed by Harris Cooper of the University of Missouri, students can lose up to two months of Math learning during their Summer vacation. That’s almost 25 percent of the school year’s content! This “Summer Slide” of math learning takes a little bit of fun away from looking forward to the months of June, July, and August. 

How to Stop the Math Knowledge ‘Slide’ During the Summer Months

stopping summer knowledge lossHere’s the deal though: a lot of the “Summer Slide” math statistics are based on an era when digital learning tools were not readily accessible to students. Gaming, texting, instagramming, etc. are now all part of digital natives’ day-to-day lives. Because of students’ affinity to nearly anything digital, it is almost certain that they can and will learn/retain knowledge over the summer if given fun and effective digital materials.

To optimize learning and retention over the summer (whether you're searching for new Summer School math content or fun, take-home games and tools to send home with your students for the summer,) make sure your students’ digital learning experience meets the following criteria.

What to look for in a “Summer Slide” Busting Digital Learning Resource

1) Make sure your Content is “Device Agnostic”

First off, what does “Device Agnostic” mean? More or less, it’s a hip terminology that means the digital content is Cloud-based and functions on all types of devices (desktop computers, laptops, tablets, mobile, etc) and all types of browsers/operating systems (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, etc). Nothing could be worse than to offer a student awesome resources for the summer that he or she cannot use because of technology limitations.

2) Seek State/School Learning Standards-aligned Content

Much of our schools’ success rate (and funding) is tied to State and School Learning Standards these days, so if you want kids to gain or retain learning of the summer, the content must be tied to what they need to learn. For instance, if your school/district is following the Common Core’s direction of adding “deeper dive” thought to math instruction, and your digital content is just “skill and drill” interactions, you could be setting your students back even further than they would have been with the typical “Summer Slide.”

3) Demand Real-time Visibility and Curriculum Customization

Many of today’s digital learning tools offer the ability to view and alter a student’s progress, status, and learning path at the click of a button. This means educators have the ability to know how much the resource was used, how effective it was, and ensure that the student is learning what they need to stop the summer knowledge slide. These features are especially important for Summer School programs, because of requirement for recovery/enrichment progress.

4) Most Importantly, your Summer Resources Must be FUN!

You may be saying, “Yeah, right. Good luck getting kids to play a game or get online and learn during the summertime!” That may have been true a few years ago, but the digital age has changed things. At Wowzers, we consistently see kids logged in and active on the weekend or in the evening, even when they don’t have to! The key is finding products that are both academically enriching and appealing from an engagement and technology standpoint. Trust me, they exist and if you offer today’s kids the chance at some exclusive, awesome learning technology, they will jump at it!

Want to learn more about implementing Blended Learning in your classroom? Download a copy of our "Finding the Blended Learning model that's Right for Your School" eBooklet.

More Blended Learning Articles:

The Ultimate Guide to Blended Learning Models

Four Awesome Game-based Learning Websites and Blogs

Balancing the Offline and Online Aspects of Blended Learning

A Blended Learning Success Story - Wowzers All-Stars

Topics: Blended Learning

Wowzers is a comprehensive online math program covering all Common Core State Standards for grades K-8. The research-based program adapts to each learner and allows for an individualized path through the curriculum. Content is presented in multiple ways, and appeals to tactile, auditory, and visual learners. Assessments mirror those found on high-stakes achievement tests and provide teachers and administrators with the information that they need to personalize learning for each student.

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