In March of 2020, our school environment changed. My students went from playing four square outdoors with each other to only seeing themselves on screen 45 minutes a day. My collegues and I thought we would be back to school by at least the beginning of April. Then April came and went. Then May and finally June. We had a very different end of the school year. As the rest of the world was figuring out what to do in lockdown. In the summer of 2020, teachers in our school district began to plan for the academic school year of 2020-2021. We took classes on different educational platforms. We designed lessons on how to pinpoint certain aspects fo our grade level standards. We didn't know if we were going to be teaching virtually or in-person. Then the decision was made, we would begin the school year all virtual with synchronous and asynchronous learning.
As stated, the format of teaching changed in March 2020, when educators were asked to change their teaching instruction from in person teaching to virtual learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of providing differentiation instruction of small groups in a physical classroom, educators had to design synchronous and asynchronous lessons while using digital media tools. Through research it is proven that many children from the ages of seven to eight years old are very familiar with the internet. Through synchronous virtual learning, it became apparent to the researcher that educators needed to teach educational technology skills to second graders to facilitate the grade-level curriculum standards. The question is: can students achieve deeper learning in the new wave of digital learning? The researcher addressed this question through action research that included reviewing students' completion of Seesaw assignments and analyzing how the learning through Seesaw transfers to Star reading testing. The researcher observed second-grade students’ online synchronous interactions with digital media tools. The researcher provided lessons that facilitated online learning through digital media tools. The researcher used a Seesaw English Language Arts rubric to determine deeper level thinking with the second-grade students. The results of the summative English Language Arts assessment (STAR) were reviewed and analyzed. It was determined that students were able to move up the reading scale in the STAR assessment.