iLearnNH Brings New Teaching and Learning Opportunities to New Hampshire Schools
The New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) partnered with the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) in July to create iLearnNH. The new program supports the work of teachers and aims to ensure learning continuity for K-12 students in schools across the Granite State.
The program is available at no cost to all public, private and charter K-12 schools and provides educators and students with options for in-person, hybrid and remote learning. It’s marked by a commitment to delivering high-quality instruction and enhanced learning experiences for students, regardless of their learning style or needs.
Participating school districts receive access to the Canvas Learning Management Platform to manage online course learning materials, Kaltura for hosting media and Zoom for video conferencing. USNH Enterprise Technology & Services provides technical support and training for each of the tools.
The six-member iLearnNH team — assembled over the summer — is part of ET&S and is made up of a mix of teachers, technologists, professional development enthusiasts and program managers, all committed to supporting education and educators.
Director Andrew Kelley brings 23 years of experience as an educator and administrator to the table. The three-year, grant-funded initiative goes beyond providing an emergency plan for schools in the face of COVID-19, he said.
“The short-term goal is to stand up the learning management system to help schools during COVID and to onboard as many school districts as possible,” Kelley said. “But moving ahead, our goal going into year two is having a professional learning community established through teachers across districts.”
Kelley’s team hopes to recruit 75 school districts in the first year. In November, iLearnNH had 47 members.
Rachel Sopko is a former English teacher who now works as an educational technologist for iLearnNH. She sees a huge opportunity for school districts and teachers to “reimagine the classroom” through the program.
While students will eventually return to brick-and-mortar schools, the learning management system provides much-needed options, she said. “By taking the strengths of online learning — like tracking student progress, organization of materials, and accessibility options — and combining it with the power of an in-person classroom, New Hampshire students will be more prepared for the 21st century than ever before,” Sopko said.
Removing barriers to expand opportunities for students and teachers alike is a big part of iLearnNH’s mission. For example, Canvas will potentially allow students to take courses offered by different school districts online. While the iLearnNH team recognizes that throwing technology at a problem isn’t always the best solution, in this case it opens up many possibilities.
“(These technology) tools aren’t going away, and they’re not replacing the magic and tireless efforts involved in teaching,” Spoko said. “Instead, remote learning tools and strategies are building on the good and expanding opportunities for New Hampshire teachers and students.”
For more information on iLearnNH go to www.ilearnnh.org/.