Sifting Through the Digital Learning Options:
The Most Powerful Personalized Learning Edtech Tools Curated by LEAP
In response to the sudden closure of schools across the country due to COVID-19, a multitude of organizations have stepped up with tools and resources to help facilitate powerful remote learning experiences for students. There are a lot of choices available to teachers and students right now, and a lot of information to digest about each one. Sifting through it all can be overwhelming, even when there is no time crunch, but even in a situation like the present, due diligence is essential—context is everything in education, and a tool that works with one group of students is not guaranteed to work with another. Edtech offers enormous potential to help teachers and students, but tapping into its power requires educators to be purposeful in what they use and how they use it.
As part of our collaborative work with Chicago schools to help personalize learning for students, we conduct a regular comprehensive Curation Process. Edtech tools have to pass it to be eligible for use with our partner educators, and doing so is not easy: of the 186 different edtech tools that have gone through Curation, only 59 (32%) have passed, and only 30 (16%) have been chosen by teachers. National panels of experts—including researchers, experts in learning science and psychology, practicing math and ELA teachers, and LEAP staff members—evaluate each tool, examining its promise in terms of both curriculum design and user experience.
At LEAP, our definition of personalized learning lies within the construct of the LEAP Learning Framework’s four core components: Personalized learning is FOCUSED on, LED with and DEMONSTRATED by the learner and is CONNECTED to career-relevant, real-world skills and opportunities. We believe all learning experiences, regardless of setting or context, should work toward these North Stars, and the Curation Process ultimately centers around assessing how well each tool aligns with and amplifies them.
Panelists consider, among other things, the extent to which tools are able to adapt across cultural contexts, promote students' voices, and foster self-directed learning. The impetus behind this process is about setting up real teachers and students for practical success. We believe these considerations are only more relevant in today's situation, and we hope the work we've done can help educators across the country make the most informed, student-centered decisions on the tools that work best for them.
Here are LEAP's currently curated edtech tools. As always, we're inspired and moved by the commitment and creativity of our educators—in Chicago and beyond.