March will mark two years since schools had to switch to remote learning, district leaders frantically bought education tech products and teachers scrambled to make them work with their lesson plans. Today, as the Omicron variant spreads across the U.S., many schools have returned to online instruction, at least temporarily.

The result of this infusion of education technology is that it is now a permanent part of the K-12 instructional landscape, not only virtually but in the physical classroom. Some young learners, like the second- and third-graders I teach, have never known school to be anything other than tech-centered. Whether they’re at home or in an actual building, they turn on a laptop or tablet, log in to a content management system and start exploring instructional games, puzzles or videos. Every time I walk into a classroom, I’m reminded that COVID-19 has turned a generation of kids into full-fledged consumers of ed tech content.

Now they’re ready for the next step: creating that content themselves.

Today, students can make their own movies, design their own graphics and power their own robots. At Newtown Elementary School in Virginia Beach, kids have used Wixie to create language arts presentations, Dash robots to learn coding and BrainPOP to create their own animations about weather. Not only do children love using these types of tools, but research shows that active, hands-on learning can lead to higher retention rates and increased academic performance. Technology that gives students control over their education also has the potential to promote agency, the process where students begin to lead their own learning, adapt when things get tough and believe they can succeed.

Here are three tips for transforming young ed-tech consumers into content creators:

  1. Make students the teachers
  2. Don’t rescue students when they’re floundering
  3. Balance technology with other forms of learning

Read the full article about education technology creators by Kevin Rickard at The 74.