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Can technology boost summer learning?

3 min read


In many school districts, standardized testing is wrapping up and the school year is winding down, with summer vacation just around the corner. However, with the long lazy days of summer come concerns about summer learning loss among students, and time and resources for professional development among educators. With these issues in mind, SmartBrief on EdTech last week polled readers about how technology is being used by both groups as a tool to enhance learning during the summer.

About half of respondents to our poll reported that tech-based summer learning is offered in their school or district for students, educators or both, while one-fourth reported that such options are not offered through the district but are recommended or suggested. Another 25% reported that online learning during the summer is neither offered nor suggested.

For students, online learning during the summer is reportedly used most for credit recovery, according to about 45% of respondents, while 25.81% said students are using Web-based apps and other tools for skill development. Another 22.58% of respondents said students are employing tech-based learning for these uses as well as for enrichment.

For educators, nearly one-third of respondents say online learning during the summer is being used for professional development related to the Common Core State Standards, while subject-area knowledge and instructional strategies are also popular goals. Just over 18% of respondents report that tech-based learning is being used by educators seeking advanced degrees.

These findings are not surprising in that they point to technology being used to meet what could be considered currently the most pressing needs of students and educators — namely credit recovery and common core implementation. But they do suggest that online learning and Web-based resources are being underused by both groups as a tool for enrichment, skill development and advancement.

Is technology being incorporated into summer learning in your school or district? And, if so, how?

How does your school or district integrate technology into summer learning?

No tech-based learning is offered or suggested


No tech-based learning is offered, but students and educators are encouraged to pursue it on their own


Tech-based learning is offered for students and educators


Tech-based learning is offered for educators


Tech-based learning is offered for students


In your school or district, what type of tech-based learning is most used by students during the summer?

Online courses for credit recovery


Web-based tools or apps for skill development


All of the above


Online courses such as electives for enrichment


In your school or district, how is technology most used by educators during the summer?

Online professional development on Common Core State Standards


Online professional development in subject areas


Online professional development on general instructional strategies


Online courses toward advanced degrees


Katharine Haber is an associate editor for SmartBrief, writing and editing content about a variety of topics in education.