Free, no frills programs lead the class in new federal study of remote learning
When the coronavirus pandemic first hit in March 2020, the research unit inside the U.S. Department of Education, called the Institute for Education Sciences, commissioned a report to wade through all the studies on education technology that can be used at home in order to find which ones were proven to work. The goal was to provide a quick guide for teachers and school leaders during remote instruction.
Almost a year later, in February 2021, the results are in: a mere three online learning technologies have clear evidence for improving student achievement. One helps middle schoolers with math homework. Another improves reading comprehension among older elementary school students. The third is an online algebra course for eighth graders.
All three were developed at universities and have no flashy graphics, animations or games. None uses especially sophisticated algorithms to tailor the instruction to each student, known as “adaptive” learning, but they do give instant feedback, letting students know what they’ve gotten right and wrong.
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