How to Use Digital Databases to Support Learning Recovery
Pandemic-related disruptions to learning have affected student growth in all areas, especially for younger learners. While educators are still assessing the effects of the pandemic on learning, one analysis conducted last fall suggests that on average, students might have lost the equivalent of five to nine months of instruction by the end of the 2020-21 school year.
To catch up, some students will need opportunities to accelerate their learning. A digital database containing engaging, age-appropriate learning activities that students can explore independently both in school and at home can help.
For learning recovery to occur, students must spend additional time reading and learning beyond what they get during normal class instruction. With a digital database of learning activities, students can continue learning on their own when they’re finished with other required learning tasks during school hours—and they can easily learn outside of school as well.
A high-quality digital database can extend students’ learning in ways that accelerate their academic growth. But not all instructional tools are the same. Here are four key characteristics to look for in a digital solution that can aid in learning recovery:
For students to learn on their own, whether they’re in school or at home, the content must be highly engaging. It should consist of interactive, multimedia-based lessons, games, and activities that challenge students at an appropriate level.
The activities should be built around topics that children are naturally curious about—such as fascinating animals, famous people, scientific phenomena, and pivotal events from history. What’s more, students should be able to choose what topics they’d like to learn more about, so their learning is interest-driven.
To meet each child where they are and support differentiated instruction, activities should be scaffolded with appropriate learning supports. For instance, text that is accompanied by read-aloud audio capabilities can help increase students’ understanding of important topics regardless of their reading ability, while also helping them build essential literacy skills.
Simple, consistent navigation
To foster independent learning, the digital database should be user-friendly–so even the youngest learners can navigate it by themselves. The interface should be consistent and simple to understand. If the content is engaging enough and students can easily find what they’re looking for, then they’re more likely to use it for extending their learning beyond class.
Extended learning opportunities
The best way to accelerate students’ learning is by helping them find topics that excite them, then leveraging their interest by giving them plenty of opportunities to explore those topics in detail. A digital database that includes numerous options for students to take their learning deeper makes this possible.
PebbleGo meets these needs
PebbleGo by Capstone meets these criteria. It’s a digital research tool packed with more than 1,500 articles that students can explore across five high-interest topics:
- Social Studies
Each article includes scaffolding to support differentiated instruction, engaging multimedia to maximize comprehension, and interactive lessons, activities, and games to reinforce learning.
Teachers can encourage independent learning by creating incentives for students to research and report on topics they’d like to learn more about on their own, such as developing class challenges or assigning extra credit. Students can dive deeper on topics that intrigue them with optional add-on modules and eBook collections linked to popular subject areas.
“If you want a resource that engages all students in independent learning and has them saying how much they love using it at home and at school, there is no better option out there for K-3,” says Jennifer Sturge, a Technology Integration Teacher Specialist at Calvert County Public Schools in Maryland.