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What did educators talk about, pre-pandemic?

Here’s a look at what our TechTips experts had to say in 2020, before the pandemic changed the course of schooling.

4 min read


What did educators talk about, pre-pandemic?


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While 2020 will forever be known as the year of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly when it comes to education, there were a few months of the year that do not fall into that category. As the editor of Tuesday’s TechTips feature, I thought I’d look back at what our educators had to say about the state of their field in the two and a half months before the pandemic swept in. 

Come back next Tuesday for a roundup of the best TechTips posts following the pandemic’s onset. 

Here’s a look at what we were talking about in education before the coronavirus overtook all the headlines:


Preparing students to think about the future, today by Dana Jackson

Originally published on Jan. 7, 2020

Themes: Exploration, interactive learning, ownership and self reflection


“Encouraging students, from a young age, to think about their interests, dreams and goals lets them see possibilities for the future. As students listen to their thoughts and put those thoughts into action, they take ownership of their academic and social-emotional growth and become architects of their own success.”

Trends in K-12 instructional materials purchasing by Kathy Mickey

(Based on the 2019 National Instructional Materials Adoption Scorecard and 2020 Outlook)

Originally published on March 3, 2020

Themes: Shifts to digital texts, hands-on science


“There are three main drivers behind the purchasing of instructional materials by schools: enrollment, standards/policy changes, and funding. Beyond that, in states that held statewide adoptions of instructional materials in 2019, additional buying trends emerged.”


Replace timed tests with math fluency by Catherine Castillo

Originally published on Feb. 4, 2020

Themes: Creative problem solving, math intervention, autonomy and confidence in math


“Educators have been at a disadvantage for decades, operating under a belief system that was modeled for us in our own educational experiences: the idea that being fast at math means you are good at math. It is an idea that is ingrained in our society and culture, and is one that can have devastating effects on student learning and self-image.”


Educational first impressions by Robert Dillon

Originally published on Jan. 14, 2020

Themes: School physical design, digital communication, office spaces and athletic facilities


“First impressions are a natural part of human judgment, and it only makes sense that we design for them so that their impact can be a positive one to build on as opposed to a negative one that needs to be reworked. This holds true for how we design all aspects of the school environment as well.”


Getting the whole picture by Leigh Anne Scherer

Originally published on Jan. 28, 2020

Themes: Student achievement, achievement gaps, centralized data and intervention


“Identifying achievement gaps, patterns in student behavior and engagement, and chronic absenteeism gives us a clearer picture of the potential root causes of academic performance by student groups as well as individual students. Once we analyze the data, we can strategize logical ways to improve entire grade levels, specific groups of students, or individual students in specific areas, as well as the ability to recognize students at risk before they fall behind.”

Katie Parsons edits SmartBrief newsletters on EdTech and Math Education. She has a background in news media, working at the Orlando Sentinel and Chicago Tribune as a researcher and reporter. She is the creator of the parenting blog Mumbling Mommy and her writing has appeared in 150+ online and in-print publications, including the Huffington Post, USA Today, GalTime, and Florida Today. She is the co-author of The Five Year Journal, available on Amazon. Contact Katie at [email protected].


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