The TechSmart Initiative, launched in 2014 by the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission (MHCRC), sought to strategically invest $19 million in Multnomah County schools over a 7-year period to provide K-12 school districts with grants and evaluation resources to identify effective classroom instruction that uses technology to foster improvement in academic outcomes for all students.
The MHCRC partnered with All Hands Raised to establish specific academic outcomes key to student success and which resulted in greater rates of high school completion. In 2019, the MHCRC awarded its final TechSmart Initiative grants to projects that will run through 2023.
Pacific Research & Evaluation (PRE), a TechSmart project partner since 2014, leads the evaluation resources for schools involved in the TechSmart Initiative. In 2020, when reviewing year-end surveys, submitted status reports and participant interviews, PRE and MHCRC staff noticed a common theme – TechSmart funded interventions had numerous positive impacts on the transition to distance learning due to COVID-19. PRE highlighted the aggregated data in the “TechSmart Impact Report: Grantee Transition to Distance Learning due to COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The data indicates that students and teachers who had participated in TechSmart funded programs had a smoother transition to distance learning, and more positive outcomes overall. Teachers reported feeling more prepared for the transition to distance learning, able to not only move content online but facilitate group work and design collaborative class discussions. District leadership observed that TechSmart teachers were quick to provide support to non-TechSmart teachers, and that TechSmart students were better equipped to move into a virtual learning environment as a result of their familiarity with the devices and software from in-classroom use.
MHCRC Chair, Carol Studenmund, commented on the report, “When the MHCRC launched the TechSmart Initiative seven years ago, educating students during a pandemic was not on our radar. The Commission is humbled by the impact the TechSmart grants have had on the education of the students in Multnomah County during this extraordinary time. To hear that the TechSmart students and teachers were more ready to pivot to distance learning thanks to these grants was more than we could have ever imagined.”
The full report is available at this link: https://bit.ly/3iw2AeS