The Digital Backpack. Your Resource for Online Learning
Tips and Tools
Lauren Graham

Using Piktochart in the Classroom

Some of my students were struggling with specific aspects of taking a course online, as well as certain assignments. They would send me emails that

illustration of graduation cap and diploma
Summer Learning
Lisa Rohde

Top 10 reasons students choose online summer credit recovery

When a student fails a class — or perhaps multiple classes — they may come to the realization that taking classes over the summer is the only way they can graduate on time with the rest of their peers. For students facing this situation, taking summer courses online can be a great way to recover the credits needed for graduation without missing out on their existing summer plans.

Educating AP Students Across Locales

In 2016, Michigan Virtual, in conjunction with partner schools in the Virtual School Leadership Alliance, published a report on educating students across locales. This report

Lauren Nalepa's Welcome Graphic
Tips and Tools
Lauren Nalepa

Using Google Slides to showcase student art and create an inviting online classroom

As an online teacher, Google Slides been the answer to all my hopes and dreams. Using it is like making a collage, but my fingers don’t get sticky! Pretty much everything I post in my online courses is created in Slides. One of my favorite ways to use Slides is for a Class Gallery, a place where students can showcase their artwork.

screenshot of the seesaw app on iPad
Tips and Tools
Erin Mastin

Using SeeSaw to help students set, achieve, and reflect on their goals

Young students often have a hard time thinking about actions, consequences, and, generally, anything that takes place in the future, so setting goals is not an easy task for them. In this article, Erin walks you through how to use the iPad App, SeeSaw, to help students set and achieve goals.

Screen capture of one of the videos Dan Spencer shares with his students
Tips and Tools
Dan Spencer

Using videos to spend more meaningful time with students

It’s my dream is to have a classroom that feels like a Starbucks with students spread all over the room, engaging in a variety of activities, working in a group on a lab, or working solo on an assignment.But how do you make this type of independent learning a reality? For me, the answer was the camera on my phone. I know, nothing fancy, no bells or whistles, just my camera. Thanks to the work shared by Ben Rimes, the power of the camera allows me to be in multiple places at once.

Blended Learning
The Digital Backpack

Podcast: Student Agency and Google Classroom

Welcome to Digital Backpack! In our first Digital Backpack cast, we chat with Traci Smith, a high school English teacher at De La Salle. She

Photo of Alanna and Kim
Tips and Tools
Kim Garvison & Alanna Prieditis

Using Calendly for scheduling student meetings

One of the biggest challenges as online Spanish teachers? Regularly scheduling time to connect with each student in our course to listen to and assess their language development. We needed to find a tool that would eliminate the need for several back-and-forth communications to simply set up an appointment for each short assessment. We not only wanted a tool to help share available time slots for appointments, but also one that would sync with our calendar. That’s when we discovered Calendly.

Powtoon logo
Tips and Tools
Jaclyn Hartman

Using PowToon to explain challenging concepts to students

One of my challenges as an online teacher is this: I teach in an asynchronous program, so my students are not necessarily online at the same time as I am. One tech tool that has helped me to bridge this divide is PowToon, the video-making software that allows teachers to create engaging, animated clips to help explain challenging content to students.

Sarah's classroom
Tips and Tools
Sarah Bedford

Using choice boards to promote student agency

Choice boards have helped improve student learning in my class by empowering students to develop confidence based on their individual needs and choices. I also believe when they are engaged in the learning and know the expected outcomes, they are more reflective and able to self-assess their own learning.

innovation in education concept illustration
Leadership
Michigan Virtual

How online learning helps schools stand out in the competitive landscape of school choice

If you’re looking to find ways to innovate your curriculum — and, yes, to compete with other schools in our current era of school choice — then providing your students with online learning options is one way you can stand out in the educational marketplace. Why? Because you’ll be providing your students with more course options, more flexibility in how and when they learn, and more opportunities to gain 21st-century learning skills.

Ashamed girl sharing her issues with others, at group therapy
Teaching
Michigan Virtual

Restorative Justice 101 — A Paradigm Shift in Education [with infographics]

Your Guide to Restorative Justice in Michigan Schools: This blog is the third in our series on Restorative Justice in Michigan Schools. We have already released articles on Michigan’s new restorative justice law and the dangers of zero-tolerance policies and will continue to release articles on strategies for implementation in schools and classrooms.

Thank you letters
Teaching
Nikki Herta

An Open Letter to the Teachers Who Changed Our Lives

We asked our staff to tell us about a teacher who changed their lives for the better. The patterns that arise in their responses are cause for inspiration. They reveal that one amazing teacher can change the course of a student’s life forever. We are all the living legacies of this truth.

Young smiling student relaxing outdoors, she is sitting on the grass and using a laptop, summer camp concept
Summer Learning
Nikki Herta

7 reasons why your high-achieving students deserve online summer learning options

For self-motivated learners, taking online summer school courses can be liberating because it allows them to make progress toward their goals while studying at their own pace in time blocks that fit their busy schedules. In some cases, online programs offer students more learning options with more flexibility than their face-to-face counterparts.

Blended Learning
The Digital Backpack

Podcast: Engagement Hoopla

In this episode, Jeff and Erin chat with Emily Sicilia about engagement in the classroom. They explore how to define classroom engagement, and chat about Hoopla, an app Emily shares that has changed their reading lives!

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