We all love our students presence everyday in class, but wed be kidding ourselves if we didnt acknowledge our watchful eye on the fast-approaching last school day of the year. If youre 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. Thats almost 25 percent of the school years 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
Heres 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, its 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 Cores 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 todays digital learning tools offer the ability to view and alter a students 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 dont 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 todays kids the chance at some exclusive, awesome learning technology, they will jump at it!