SCRInsider: Boosting Technology Confidence Through Summer Learning


Some of the very first articles I read as schools shut down almost a year ago were about the digital divide between lower- and higher- income families. Districts scrambled to distribute devices and hotspots on a massive scale, yet access and high-speed Internet were only a part of the problem. Knowing how to use the technology you have – and having the time and space to practice, learn, and grow – proved challenging for many kids and families. Now, a year later, we have data suggesting that remote learning in some form is here to stay, with many districts reporting they are likely to continue remote offerings over the long-term.

That’s why SCRI was so thrilled to discover an unanticipated yet wholly positive impact of participating in BellXcel Remote in Summer 2020. Scholars, families, and staff reported their summer experience:

Today we’re releasing Boosting Technology Confidence Through Summer Learning, a new report that distills these findings and makes recommendations for educators and youth development professionals hoping to provide a positive virtual learning experience.

Additionally, last month we released a new RAND study on the power of summer professional development for teachers. This month, we dive deeper into the study with lead authors Elizabeth Steiner and Laura Stelitano to discuss the implications for the broader K-12 field. Check out our Q&A here.

We think increased confidence in technology and improved teacher practice are two strong reasons to prioritize summer learning in 2021.

About SCRI

The Sperling Center for Research and Innovation (SCRI) is part of BellXcel, a national nonprofit with nearly 30 years’ experience innovating educational solutions rooted in evidence. Drawing on decades of firsthand implementation experience and a culture of continuous improvement, SCRI bridges the research to practice to policy gap, to help partners strengthen goals, implement high-quality practices, expand to reach more young people, and advocate for improved policies.

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Related Resources

Boosting Technology Confidence Through Summer Learning

SCRI uncovered an unexpected effect of participating in a summer program: Families, staff, and youth reported that participating in the 2020 BellXcel Remote summer program increased confidence in remote learning and technology, improving preparedness for potential shifts and uncertainties in the school year, and in some cases repairing negative perceptions of remote learning from the spring of 2020. This brief explores this theme and looks to uncover why the experience of BellXcel Remote resulted in these findings.

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SCRI Asks: Q&A with Elizabeth Steiner and Laura Stelitano

In 2019, BellXcel partnered with RAND on a first-of-its-kind study on summer teacher professional development, The Promise of Summer as a Time for Teacher Professional Learning. SCRI talked with the study’s lead researchers Elizabeth Steiner and Laura Stelitano to distill the findings for the broader K-12 field.

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