Technology Helps Students Avoid the “Summer Slide”
Published on CoSN: The Consortium for School Networking
Summer slide refers to a decrease or loss of academic skills over the summer break. As summer goes by, if students do not actively engage in learning experiences, the progress they had made throughout the school year will not only decrease, it can actually regress.
Avoiding this “summer slide” is easy if strategies are in place to help students stay fresh until the next school year. This is where digital tools and technology can step in and help students be ready for the start of the new school year.
Ways to avoid the slide
There are many digital options for helping students avoid this summer slide. With the rise of technology, students have access to diverse tools with many options for providing these learning extensions. Students have choices when given opportunities for practice and this will help them to return to school better prepared.
Regardless of the content area or level taught, teachers can recommend some great tools and apps that can easily be used by students to practice over the summer. Technology enables students to learn anytime and anywhere, so time conflicts are no longer a problem. It just requires students to set aside time to interact with these resources, and it can also be a good way to help students take ownership of their learning and even have fun in the process.
As a foreign language teacher and member of several professional committees on educational technology, I am always looking for new online platforms and strategies to stay connected with my students.
In my classes, we use Edmodo, a platform that allows teachers to share resources and connect with parents and administrators, and Celly, a platform that uses social media to help students, teachers and others connect and communicate. I can post links to resources using either of these throughout the summer, if I want to send students an activity to complete to practice the verbs or vocabulary, or if I find a new website or resource that I think they will enjoy.
Students have assignments and activities posted on Edmodo; for instance, they might be asked to complete a game of Quizizz or use Quizlet study cards, or to do something like write a blog post about their summer vacation, or to find some authentic resources and share them with the class.
My students also use the Duolingo app on their devices and can use this as a way to stay fresh and have fun learning and reviewing the language, on their own schedule and wherever they are at the time. I remind them to set aside a certain amount of time each week to review their skills.
For blogs, I use Kidblog, a platform that is secure and allows students to build their own pages and post blogs.
And when students go on vacation, I ask them to use their travels as an opportunity to engage in conversations with Spanish speakers.
Other ideas include using tools such as an LMS or a collaborative class website, and a messaging tool for communication, to help students and teachers stay connected over the summer. Digital tools can be shared and students can ask for help and have access to additional resources when needed. Maintaining a connection over the summer can keep students engaged and continue to foster those important student-teacher connections.
There are many opportunities available to help students stay involved and even build their skills over the summer. It just takes a little bit of investigating to find beneficial resources and setting aside the time to explore the many options available.
Rachelle Dene Poth teaches French and Spanish at Riverview Junior-Senior High School in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. She holds a law degree and Masters in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University.