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How Kent ISD found time for educator training in classrooms adapting to the pandemic

With the pandemic stretching already overloaded teachers, utmost ease-of-access and course creation agility was needed

The Kent Intermediate School District provides services to twenty local public districts and to all non-public schools within its boundaries. Directly or indirectly, Kent ISD serves almost 400 schools, more than 120,000 students and 7,000 educators.


State of Michigan
Role of learner
K-12 Teachers

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▶️ Quickly rolled out hyper-specific and actionable courses to overloaded educators
▶️ Increased the amount of learner data returned to hone courses further over time
▶️ Overwhelmingly positive learner response

The challenge

Among busy learners, K-12 teachers may be among the busiest. With the pandemic abruptly moving K-12 schools to fully remote, the need for training had never been higher, and neither had the barriers to effective teacher training.

Keith Tramper, an educational technology consultant for Kent ISD, began researching ways to get just the right amount of information in front of teachers while avoiding Zoom fatigue and removing barriers to overloaded learners. Multiple areas of support including the building out of remote teaching skills as well as how to administer test remotely had identified. As the school year continued, this meant that learning designers needed a platform they could rapidly create create and hone courses on.

How Kent ISD met overloaded teachers where they were

"I'd been in one of the early courses through Arist, I had never seen anything like it. I was like, eh, we will see what this looks like and was super impressed by how much I could learn in very short blasts of information." - edTech consultant for Kent ISD

Kent ISD piloted two courses courses, each focused on a hyper specific remote learning challenge. By paring back what was covered, working with a small form factor, and making learning actionable, barriers to learner behavior change were lowered. Support for “push” education directly to messaging apps on smart phones enabled teachers to chip away at improving their online teaching skills when they had a chance, as well as provided a “point of need” record they always had with them. The amount of learner outcome data returned to Kent ISD allowed them to hone their courses continually over time.

Impact on teacher ability to deliver K-12 learning remotely

Kent ISD was able to roll out two courses simultaneously to more than 60 K-12 educators across the state. The ability to get learning in front of educators quickly and in a manner that could change as the situation developed was received in an overwhelmingly positive manner.

One participant noted that “the flexibility of being able to complete professional development wherever me and my smartphone are is very liberating!”

“I absolutely loved that these tips were shared in small, manageable increments,” another teacher enthused.

The outpouring of positive feedback showed Tramper and the Kent ISD team that Arist courses could quickly become an integral part of PD for educators. Since the launch of their two pilot courses, Kent ISD has continued to rework each course to make the content increasingly accessible and efficient, while exploring new use cases for text message learning.


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