Since the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has become a staple for schools. But not everyone is computer literate.
Now, a new software program has been introduced to North Dakota’s school districts to help make online learning a little bit easier for everyone.
From remembering passwords to learning new software, it is a difficult task for anyone, especially teachers, students and parents.
Now that we live in a world of online learning, students and teachers are expected to remember multiple different passcodes and computer programs. This not only makes it difficult for the students to keep up with their learning, but it’s difficult for teachers to keep up too.
“There’s all the different technology they have to bring home, and there’s the different programs that they use or resources that they have to be able to access online,” explained John Gieser, who works in K-12 IT Strategy with North Dakota Information Technology.
“All of that increases that technology burden on classroom teachers and it takes time out of the day to manage that,” said Gieser.
Monday, State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced that online learning will now be made easier and more affordable for schools in North Dakota.
To help with these changes, the ClassLink Project is a partnership with the Department of Public Instruction and EduTech to help make virtual education easier for students and teachers.
“ClassLink is a way to try and address and solve some of those problems so that if there’s a teacher that needs to be able to give students access to resources, why can’t we just have it be one click away,” said Gieser.
ClassLink provides students a way to access everything from applications, file storage options and their homework and grades all at once.
“It’s very important. Education is such a numbers-driven business. ACT, SAT, college-bound, but you don’t know what’s being used and if it is being used. If it is being used, if it’s benefitting the kids of the district,” explained Lyle Dadian, director of Instructional Technology with ClassLink.
“It benefits everybody on the technology side. Behind the curtains, it makes the magic work. It matches up the tools that the students need to what they see on their computer,” said Dadian.
With one simple click, you can sign on and see all the applications and tools that are required for the student and teachers can see who is doing what.
“This makes sure that the student is able to stay in focus and the teachers talking about what I want you to do and the student can follow along instead of juggling passwords like a ring with a hundred keys on it. It lets the student stay engaged,” Gieser said.
Some North Dakota school districts, such as Williston and Dickinson, already use ClassLink.
The Department of Public Instruction is providing $90,000 in grant money to NDIT to implement the project using federal COVID-19 response funds. That means school districts will be able to acquire the ClassLink software at no cost.