With distance learning, is all learning now homework?

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We're changing with the times.

For 15+ years, we've been all about homework. Making it more effective, the misuse of it, the question of banning it. But, since going into quarantine over 5 months ago, things have changed. 

Sure, we still believe that homework can be a learning opportunity - after all, homework is formative assessment. More simply, it’s independent practice for students.

But how relevant is homework really when all learning is now being done... at home? The ongoing health crisis has forced us all (educators, administrators, policymakers, edtech developers like us) to reconsider the new realities of today’s learning environments and how they can best serve student learning.

Some students and teachers will be back in classrooms this fall. Others will continue remote instruction and some will even do both. Many will cope with learning loss, and all are struck with a new perspective on the needs of modern schools and classrooms.

With this in mind, and the beliefs in both (1) high quality learning resources that are free and (2) flexible edtech that keeps teachers in the driver’s seat of their instruction, we have spent the summer understanding what it looks like to change with the times and how to continue living in to our beliefs. 

So what does change look like at ASSISTments? It means:

  • Assign Online is the name of the game. These are the new words splashed across our homepage and social media. But more importantly, it’s the solution we offer teachers. We enhance instructional practice by allowing teachers to assign their curricula online, giving students immediate feedback, and putting data in the hands of teachers to help identify where to focus instructional time.
  • Make Homework (scratch that - Assignments) More Effective. Whether your assignments are homework, classwork, test prep, or other independent practice, we’re here to help make assignments really count. This means supporting all teachers assess student progress by remaining flexible to what’s working in their unique learning environments.
  • Teacher professional learning is key. We’re overwhelmed (in the best way) by the response that we’ve seen to our webinar series and have really ramped up the virtual supports this fall. We run sessions each week on topics for both new and experienced users. Teachers can replay recordings from our Webinar Library, find lots of new on-demand resources in our Help Center, and join Professional Learning Communities to exchange ideas with other teachers.
  • Taking a backseat, so teachers can stay in the driver seat. If we really mean we’re here to enhance what works, that means giving a greater platform to what works and the voices of teacher leaders in our community. Our new website includes a Teacher Corner showcasing teacher-produced content - downloadable artifacts, classroom demo videos, and blog perspectives. We have designed brand new programming to Get Involved and love to see the ongoing teacher-to-teacher sharing in our Facebook User Community.
  • Free is more important than ever. Access to internet, technology, and learning resources are not a nice-to-have when students and teachers must move to distance learning environments. This year has shown us that these are, in fact, must-haves, and yet so many students across the country and world lack access to these commodities. If we’re proud of one thing at ASSISTments it is that we will always be free for students and teachers and that our work will support expanding access to the high quality resources and technologies that are required of today’s classrooms.

Back to School this year may look a little different, and we’re all coming back from the summer probably feeling a little different too. Here at ASSISTments, our focus has been on how we can help teachers get the best start to the school year with students and families… whether that be in class or from a distance, whether that’s assigning homework or classwork, and whether all learning is now homework. We’re changing with the times.

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