The most visible symbol of the Empowered Learners initiative at the District of Columbia Public Schools is the hardware: the device that every K–12 student gets to take home.
Less obvious — but just as important — is the software built into the system for the Microsoft Surface Go laptops that the district’s 50,000 students use to access their lessons and interact with their peers and teachers.
DCPS IT leaders recently outlined some of the key applications that have enhanced the technology experience for students, parents and teachers — especially when classes went fully remote during the pandemic — to keep learning on track and keep everyone electronically safe in the process.
Canvas: Students work in this learning management system, using digitized curriculum modules called “Canvas Course Companion” to see their class materials, schedules and assignments from teachers. Their login to Canvas counts as attendance for the day.
Microsoft Teams: Students use Teams to interact with their classrooms remotely.
SMART Learning Suite: This cloud-based workspace helps teachers make learning interactive through games, quick checks for understanding, and collaborative workspaces.
Microsoft OneNote: Especially helpful in elementary grades, the OneNote digital note-taking app lets students make notes and annotate texts, and also see teacher feedback.
PlayPosit: Teachers use the interactive video platform to create lessons that students can work on independently, with stopping points for opportunities to answer questions, get feedback or complete a related activity.