4 predictions for 2022: Communications, edtech and data will drive student success

With more in-depth data, educators can be more informed about their students
By: | December 16, 2021
Russ Davis

Russ Davis

During the COVID pandemic, technology served as a lifeline for educators and students across the U.S., as schools closed their buildings and classes were conducted virtually. Educators rose to the challenge and built their skills and knowledge in using digital platforms, creating digital lesson plans and assessments, and communicating with students and families virtually to keep students engaged and learning.

As a result, we have seen technology integrated into K12 classrooms at a level that educators couldn’t have predicted prior to the COVID disruptions. Edtech tools have evolved towards data collection, equitable parent-teacher communication, and day-to-day operations.

Now, districts are using tools to understand students on a much deeper level than their GPA. With more in-depth data, educators can be more informed about their students and communicate successes and concerns with parents. Technology has opened the door to more insight, more action, and more success on all fronts.

As we head into the new year, we will continue to see the many ways that technology will impact student success, including the following:

1. COVID caused an uptick in parent engagement; this will be the new norm: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw that communication between parents and educators soared as teachers and administrators rushed to establish contact and stability with parents and provide continuity in instruction. But as students begin to settle back into an in-person routine, we must not lose the momentum caused by the groundswell in engagement.

NOW is the time for schools to establish communication processes, frequency, and consistency—while parents are still very comfortable with increased engagement and information. As such, over the next year, we will see this momentum continue, as more schools realize the benefits of more meaningful communication between school and home and implement solutions to enable this.

2. School districts will need to leverage data to identify and support at-risk students: In the wake of COVID’s disruptions, many students continue to face widening achievement gaps and social-emotional and economic challenges. Students with language and learning barriers and those experiencing poverty are some of the most severely impacted.

It will be imperative that districts prioritize data and school-home communication to support their most at-risk students. Comprehensive data on the student, classroom, and school will be critical to understanding the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic and addressing the resulting inequities systemwide.

Having a holistic picture of each student—including academic, behavioral, social-emotional learning, attendance, and disciplinary data—will be essential to targeting interventions and resources to the students who need them most. Most importantly, sharing this data with families through ongoing, meaningful school-home communication will become paramount.

3. New technologies will support equity in K-12 parent communication: Reaching parents, in general, is more challenging than ever. Busy work schedules and language or culture barriers can hamper communication with student families. Many school-home communication solutions also require parents to own a smartphone or computer or have reliable wifi.

Schools need to prioritize removing these barriers to parent engagement to create an environment where all kids can succeed. Equity in K12 parent communication is about reaching out in ways that are direct and convenient for parents.

In 2022, we will see growing demand for K12 technologies and platforms that support more equitable parent communication and collaboration. Platforms that fuse data and communications, and offer multiple modes of communications and translation capabilities can help enable expanded educator understanding of student home life. Using these platforms can also result in increased professional and productive communication between teachers and parents, and shared parent understanding of curriculum and course goals.

4. Social-emotional learning will be a critical area of focus in K-12: Social-emotional learning has grown in importance among schools. We learned in 2021 that to successfully monitor SEL, it takes a lot of two-way communication between the school and parents to stay abreast of and address any issues.

To meet these needs, schools are implementing communications platforms with expanded capabilities that enable schools and classroom educators to have more in-depth, meaningful discussions with parents, and use tools such as one-to-one phone calls and video calls more often. Schools are also tracking metrics such as sports and activities involvement, chronic absenteeism, and disciplinary infractions to capture, track and monitor the social-emotional health of their students. In 2022, there will be an increased focus on social-emotional learning, along with finding ways to track and address any issues.

Russ Davis is the founder and CEO of SchoolStatus.

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