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Renton School District

Digital Learning

Renton School District Vision for Digital Learning:

Using technology intentionally and innovatively leads to greater equity and achievement for all students by:

  • increasing rigorous learning opportunities
  • enhancing authentic learning environments
  • providing differentiated and personalized learning
  • supporting collaboration, productivity, and creativity
  • providing opportunities to develop and demonstrate critical thinking skills

In order to support our mission to have each student graduate with options and prepared to participate fully in our democracy.


The department of Digital Learning focuses on improving student learning through instructional models which intentionally and innovatively use technology.

Centrally, the team is led by the Director of Digital Learning and six Digital Learning Coaches, who serve to support specific schools, partner in specific content areas, and lead relevant projects (such as digital citizenship or support of the district’s Learning Management System). Additionally, teacher-leaders at schools support the work in a role with a stipend as a Technology Integration Specialist. Together, these positions help to increase collaboration, creativity, and productivity of students and teachers and help to develop agency and independence in order to support lifelong learning.

Dr. Bob Ettinger
Monica Taylor

What is Digital Learning?

As defined in Every Student Succeeds Act: 

DIGITAL LEARNING —The term ‘digital learning’ means any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience and encompasses a wide spectrum of tools and practices, including:

  1. Interactive learning resources, digital learning content (which may include openly licensed content), software, or simulations, that engage students in academic content;
  2. Access to online databases and other primary source documents;
  3. The use of data and information to personalize learning and provide targeted supplementary instruction;
  4. Online and computer-based assessments;
  5. Learning environments that allow for rich collaboration and communication, which may include student collaboration with content experts and peers;
  6. Hybrid or blended learning, which occurs under direct instructor supervision at a school or other location away from home and, at least in part, through online delivery of instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.

Digital Learning Best Practices

Tools work best when used well. How a teacher facilitates the use of a tool is critical to student success. As a district, our priorities are to support use of tools instructionally, meaning we will help to refine best practices around the tool by identifying target students, ideal implementation models, and how the tool integrates with existing instructional practice in addition to using the tool in intentional partnership with all other teaching practices which enhances and amplifies learning.

Implementation of digital tools improves with the following practices:

  1. Provide Supports and Foster Independence: Use notebooks or other supports for students to record their levels and progress, to write out solutions to problems, to record their learning. Encourage students to help classmates (either technically or academically).
  2. Ask Supporting Questions: When students struggle or need support with a tool, ask open-ended questions that help them find their own solutions. Ask questions like, “What are you trying to do?” “How could you figure that out?” What problem are you trying to solve?” “What have you figured out so far?” “What are some options for what you could try next?”
  3. Ensure Meaningful and Important Work in Tools: Set a clear purpose for why and how students are using a tool. Relay the importance of their effort and accuracy when taking assessment pieces and their intentionality when practicing skills.
  4. Track and Celebrate Progress: Post progress charts in classrooms with specific success indicators (i.e. syllabus progress percentage or quiz score data) and celebrate student growth. Empower students to track their own progress by placing marks on the chart or in their notes.
  5. Intervene Based on Data: Set a regular schedule to analyze data from tools. Identify students who need intensive intervention and pull groups of students with similar struggles for targeted instruction and supported practice.
  6. Connect Online to Offline Instruction: Make connections between work in tools to classroom instruction with explicit ties or with general ideas.

Classroom Culture Considerations

Suggested Considerations for Classroom Culture with Technology:
  • In what ways do you ensure a consistent & clear start time for students to be engaged with the learning for the day?
  • How do you manage time in your lesson structure?
  • How do you routinely use signals to get student attention consistently?
  • How do you ensure that students can execute transitions between activities independently?
  • How do you ensure a shared understanding of your learning culture?
  • How do you monitor students as they work?
  • How do engage students to correct behavior that is off task?
  • How do you provide timely and positive feedback to students?
  • How do you ensure student accountability when completing a task?
  • How do you utilize student roles to increase student ownership of learning?
  • Where do you typically allow students to complete work in the classroom? Is this flexible?
     
Suggested Considerations for Classroom Culture with Technology including Examples:
  • In what ways do you ensure a consistent & clear start time for students to be engaged with the learning for the day?
    • For example: An entry task that has a structured 5-10 minute window to start the lesson.
  • How do you manage time in your lesson structure?
    • For example: Following a similar time frame for all lessons that incorporates all instructional components.
  • How do you routinely use signals to get student attention consistently?
    • For example: a count down, a bell, a set of chimes, a chant, etc.
  • How do you ensure that students can execute transitions between activities independently?
    • For example: Using a systematic (and predictable) method to get devices safely & quickly pulled out & plugged back in.
  • How do you ensure a shared understanding of your learning culture?
    • For example: Creating a class technology contract with teacher & student signatures before technology use begins.
  • How do you monitor students as they work?
    • For example: Walking or roving the room to check in with students as they work or having students’ screens face you while you work with a small group.
  • How do engage students to correct behavior that is off task?
    • For example: Positive & polite redirection of behavior towards agreed upon set of guidelines.
  • How do you provide timely and positive feedback to students?
    • For example: In the moment feedback or a turn around time for completed assignments that is less than 1 full day.
  • How do you ensure student accountability when completing a task?
    • For example: If students are completing work at a station then they should have a list of expected tasks to complete by the end of the rotation time.
  • How do you utilize student roles to increase student ownership of learning?
    • For example: One student per group is a assigned to pick up papers, headphones, equipment, etc.
  • Where do you typically allow students to complete work in the classroom? Is this flexible?
    • For example: Having workstations available around the room for all students to access: desks, table groups, the floor, etc.