As part of its initiative to move toward digital delivery of instructional content, the Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) district in Maryland has partnered with itslearning (www.itslearning.net) to provide a learning platform to expand personalized learning for more than 37,800 students in the district.
“Teaching is different in a digital world,” said HCPS Coordinator of Instructional Technology Martha Barwick. “With itslearning, we have an ‘all-in-one’ learning and teaching management solution. Using a single sign-on, we can manage our digital curriculum with differentiated learning that engages students. Plus, it supports assessment for learning, giving teachers an option to use real-time evidence of student learning to adapt and personalize instruction according to each student’s needs.”
The platform facilitates collaboration and self-reflection through blogs, individualized learning plans, communities and ePortfolios. itslearning also fosters student content creation and peer analysis, extending the role of the student beyond that of a traditional “consumer.”
In addition to seeking a platform that would enable the use of a digital classroom, HCPS selected itslearning to reduce the total cost of ownership and provide a single access point for teaching resources, collaboration, communication, and professional development. The district also wanted to help parents gain a deeper understanding of their children’s educational experience by providing access to information on behavior and academic progress, as well as details about upcoming assignments and tests. HCPS educators are also contemplating using it as the basis for a future 1:1 initiative or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program.
“From my perspective, itslearning gives our district the opportunity to combine disparate systems under one umbrella,” said HCPS Director of Technology Andrew (Drew) Moore. “That’s a big plus financially, plus it gives us simpler access and ease of use.”
The learning platform’s integration with existing school and district systems gives teachers a way to share instructional resources, assignments and activities, and assessments with students and parents via personalized dashboards. A proprietary ‘standards mastery and recommendation engine’ facilitates remediation, acceleration and review by automating the recommendation of resources and activities based upon standards mastery assessments. The recommendations are also tailored specifically to the individual learning styles of each student – regardless of age, ability level, interests or special requirements.