Like thousands of K-12 Michigan teachers, Wendy Skinner wasn’t sure where to turn when the Michigan Department of Education released its “Learning at a Distance” guideline in early April, requiring teachers to help students maintain and continue learning outside the classroom during the COVID-19 crisis.
Then she attended a webinar on the Collabrify Roadmap Platform, a set of free, customizable digital learning tools developed by the Center for Digital Curricula at the U-M College of Engineering. Roadmaps provide teachers with scheduling templates that can be customized to include all the activities that would normally take place in their classrooms.
The system guides students through the day, points them to the resources they need to complete their work and enables them to collaborate with teachers and each other. The platform also provides a searchable repository of online lessons developed and vetted by teachers.
“Roadmaps are the only thing I’ve seen where I can plug in my skills for my kids in the way that I’d do it in the classroom,” Skinner said. “The kids have a schedule, and there’s a nice visual finish and sequence to it. It’s all in one place and I can monitor it and look at what they’ve done. I can make sure that it includes the things that I value and make my connections with the kids meaningful.”
Created last summer as a supplemental tool to make educational resources more widely available to Michigan teachers, the system’s use has exploded since the COVID-19 crisis closed schools across the state.