Several years ago, Kent ISD developed the “IT Tool” and worked with a group of local educators to develop 16 courses that focused on core curriculum. These 16 courses were largely designed to be used as “in-class” resources and assessments that lived within this new tool.
Fast forward to today, the IT Tool is now Kickstand System’s Edify, a learning management system with over 53 pre-built K-12 courses to be used by a teacher and their students. The most recent initiative is to take the existing courses and adapt them so that they can be delivered as an online learning experience.
Online courses still require a certified teacher and must follow the Michigan Curriculum Framework. The online teacher is able to communicate and provide feedback through messaging, and students will need to have additional information that allows for asynchronous pacing and learning.
This will be achieved by adding learning targets, essential questions, directions, expectations, and an opportunity for the student to demonstrate mastery in multiple ways. The Kent ISD team will also follow common formatting to ensure each course has a similar look and feel, making it easier for students to follow when taking multiple courses.
In some cases, such as the 9-12 Science courses, much of the content has to be restructured, added, and deleted to align with the new Michigan Science curriculum.
Each online courses will go through a second modification, so that they can be offered to the independent learners. Because there is no “online teacher” for these classes, the modifications will include making assignments auto-graded, adding parent notes, and replacing forums with child-parent interactions. This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen the Kent ISD’s relationship with a population of students who may wish to further their own learning.
The work on ELA-9 and the Life Science/Biology (9th grade) courses is expected to be completed by January 31st. Four more courses should be completed by the end of the March. We are currently working on plans to pilot these secondary courses as part of summer programs and in the home school environment.
As we receive feedback on both student growth and user-friendliness, we will make adjustments to the curriculum so that we can deliver the best online learning experience in the county.
When the course is deemed appropriate or ready, it will be made available to our Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and can be used as their own 21F Course, online learning opportunity, or summer school program.
This blog post was written by Marc Schulz for Kent ISD and edited by Amanda Walma, Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.