Online learning is no longer a tool used as an alternative, but more of a necessity, and strategic funding is critical to ensure that effective instruction takes place.
In the spring of 2020, when many schools struggled to implement remote learning, Hāpara schools were able to seamlessly transition to remote and hybrid settings. Hāpara was created more than 10 years ago to address remote access to instructional materials, teacher-student collaboration, access to student work and student organization for learning– whether in school, remotely or both.
In response to the urgent need for remote and hybrid learning, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This bill sets aside $30 billion for education stabilization funds, $3 billion of which will be dedicated for emergency support to local education that the state educational agency identifies as having been most impacted by coronavirus. Another $13.5 billion of the education stabilization funds will be dedicated for K-12.
Section 18003 of the CARES Act outlines several allowable edtech-related uses of those K-12 dollars:
- Purchasing educational technology that aids in regular and substantive interaction between students and educators.
- Planning and coordinating long-term closures, including providing technology for online learning.
- Planning and implementing online learning during the summer months.
- Supporting provisions found in major education laws, including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Title IV-A of ESSA and Part D of IDEA permits federal funds toward professional learning in effective edtech use.
There is also federal funding available to non-public schools that enroll a significant number of learners from low-income families and are most affected by COVID.
With such a wide range of allowable uses, ISTE.org recommends and “encourages states and districts to consider a multi-pronged approach — involving prioritized investments into infrastructure, content and professional learning — when planning how to best leverage funds levied under the CARES Act.”
Hāpara is a mission-critical tool in delivering learning no matter where instruction takes place and supports many of the tenets of funding requirements.
1. Support the technical infrastructure necessary for online learning.
ISTE recommends: “States and districts must ensure that students and families first have equitable access to devices (including assistive and adaptive technologies) and connectivity conducive to online learning for an extended period of time. For example, see programs that provide students and families with access to devices and the internet, compiled by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) eLearning Coalition.”
Hāpara provides: Tools that can be used at home or at school, seamlessly, without losing a moment of learning:
Access and view learner work: Teachers are able to assess, manage and view learner work online without cumbersome permissions. With Hāpara, teachers can provide formative feedback even when the students are learning remotely.
Source, assign and deliver learning: Teachers create differentiated, personalized learning through access to a collection of more than 30,000 lessons, activities, units and projects that can be copied and edited to meet local standards and student needs.
Manage screens and support students during learning at school or remotely: Teachers are able (during instructional time) to guide student learning with students in class and remotely simultaneously. Teachers can support students in groups or individually to keep up and stay organized while web browsing, researching and studying.
Enable students to organize their learning, receive alerts from teachers, access their assignments, digital textbooks and study materials directly from their own mobile and desktop Dashboard. Whether exclusively Hāpara or Hāpara with Google Classroom , students have one organization tool for their studies. Parent views of the assignments help remote learners to stay on track.
2. Support the curation and delivery of content that promotes active learning.
ISTE recommends: “In parallel to providing devices and at-home connectivity, states and districts must continuously curate and deliver content that promotes active student engagement with the material. Content should not simply be pre-recorded videos and readings that students will passively click through. State and local leaders should also ensure that the content is accessible by different student populations..”
Hāpara provides: Hāpara Workspace provides teachers with a place to build differentiated, personalized learning, and a free access bank of more than 30,000 lessons, activities, units and projects that they can copy and edit to meet local standards and student needs. Many are already aligned to local curriculums. Districts can create their own collection (shared or private) of content easily accessible to teachers and students. Students can access collections through Student Dashboard Digital Backpack–a single dashboard with everything they need for digital learning.
3. Support educator capacity necessary for effective online learning.
ISTE recommends: “Starting immediately and continuing over the long-term, states and districts must provide educators with ongoing training that develops their skills to design and deliver effective online learning opportunities to all students, including vulnerable populations, such as students with disabilities and English learners. Specifically, state and local leaders can support effective pedagogical uses of technology, such as those informed by the ISTE Standards, which can be sustained not only in fully online settings, but also in blended and face-to-face environments after the public health crisis subsides.”
“There are many resources that states and districts can consider in order to determine areas of support. For example, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology issued a Dear Colleague Letter in 2017, clarifying what various Title funds in ESSA and IDEA may be used for — including professional development, student resources, educator communication and collaboration and devices. All of these uses are allowable under the CARES Act. ISTE also published a 2020 update to the “Using ESSA to Fund Edtech” guide, which suggests how technology can support many of the allowable uses of ESSA Title IV-A funds.
“It is imperative that education leaders provide equitable online learning opportunities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic through strategic investments, so that when schools are permitted to reopen, students from vulnerable populations have not fallen significantly behind their peers.”
Hāpara provides: Free and affordable professional learning focused on transitioning to modern learning settings as well as global, regional and district-level teacher online communities where they are able to learn, share and support each other.
- Getting started–PL playbook: A complete train-the-trainer staged transition planning system for quickly providing teachers with the skills and tools to design and deliver online as well as hybrid setting learning for all students differentiated to needs and circumstances.
- Teacher onboarding courses: Online course content so teachers can fast track their ability to use Hāpara for their instructional management needs.
- Hāpara video tutorials: 48 abbreviated as well as long-version walkthroughs of Hāpara features, tools and included services.
- Hāpara Community: Thousands of educators participate in the Hāpara Community to find answers, share best practices and support each other.
- Webinars: Regular pedagogical and tool training webinars are offered to support, assist and stretch teachers and school leaders pedagogically as well as technically.
- Infographics and training resources: These resources are regularly shared and updated with teachers and administrators to inspire and strengthen modern learning skills in the teacher and student populations.
- Hāpara Certification Program: A three-tier certification program that has graduated thousands of teachers as Hāpara Certified Educators, Hāpara Scholars and Hāpara Trainers.
- Face-to-face training (at a cost): Face-to-face training can be purchased.