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Executive Q&A: Building Back Better: The Future of Digital Curriculum

September 24, 2021 3 min read
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Edmentum’s Chief Strategy Officer Amanda Kocon and Chief Product Officer Todd Mahler discuss the future of digital curriculum.

The massive shift to remote learning during the pandemic accelerated the adoption and integration of technology into instruction and learning. New technology has created unparalleled opportunities for teachers and students and generated meaningful conversations around equity, access, and flexibility of learning models. Digital curriculum is one aspect of transformation in K–12 education. In this Q&A, two executives from Edmentum, a global leader in education technology, explore the possibilities.

Q: How do you see the future of digital curriculum?

Amanda Kocon: Over the last 18 months, the accelerants of the pandemic and the implementation of additional technology have changed the trajectory of digital curriculum. Now, we are considering what is possible for teachers and schools and how we should think differently about what is possible for teaching and learning. Districts can now provide broader opportunities to students by giving them access to opportunities they might not otherwise have had access to.

What kinds of expectations will students and families have for equity and access in which digital curriculum can play a role? And what kind of synchronous/asynchronous learning model is best for students?

Todd Mahler: We recognize that school is not one-size-fits-all; digital curriculum provides the flexibility to support students in whatever environment works best for their learning—whether it be in the home, at school, or a hybrid. It also creates more opportunities for equity and personalization, enabling educators to more effectively meet students where they are with instruction that is just right for them. We’re excited for how the future of digital curriculum will empower teachers in ways that make personalized learning something that is fully achievable.

Q: What kinds of support does Edmentum offer schools in making the transition to digital curriculum?

AK: We work with our district and school partners to help them see what is possible through digital curriculum and then understand how to take meaningful steps to make the transition actionable. Edmentum has been leaning in to support teachers so that they feel confident in teaching in a new way. That’s what we mean when we say, “Educators first.” It’s not just about providing new tools; it’s about providing teachers with the training and support they need to be successful. We want to help our partners “build back better.’ There are certain things we did better during the pandemic, and the access and flexibility to meet learning where it needed to happen is one of them. We want to take our learnings of what went well and what didn’t during the pandemic and apply them to mentoring and professional development so that we can help districts make an effective transition to digital curriculum.

TM: Clarity around goals combined with a plan that builds over time is a large part of making a transition successful. We focus heavily on upfront planning with our district partners to ensure we align our programs with their specific needs. During that process our professional services team works with educators to help them create more capacity and flexibility, often starting with a subset of students and expanding from there. Making a transition can often feel daunting or overwhelming, especially with something like standing up a virtual school for the first time, but Edmentum has the experience and training expertise to make those goals achievable.

Q: How does the addition of Apex Learning impact Edmentum’s ability to meet district goals?

AK: First of all, there will be no change for our district partners. This academic year, we will continue to support both sets of partners and make sure that there is absolutely no disruption. The acquisition of Apex Learning enriches Edmentum’s depth in middle and high school in particular and strengthens the company’s commitment to high-quality, research-based, online learning. We now have the opportunity to support more K–12 educators and students with high-quality virtual and hybrid learning curricula, tools, and mentoring.

TM: The pandemic has only amplified the challenges that districts face, including classrooms full of students at different readiness levels. They need help diagnosing where students are at and quickly accelerating them. The addition of Apex expands Edmentum’s assessment, curriculum and adaptive learning solutions and further strengthens our ability to help educators meet the needs of all their students.

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