Jury still out on remote learning



For some teachers and students remote learning not effective.

remote learning, online, kids, parents, devices

So, living rooms and kitchens all over the Hudson Valley have turned into classrooms. Parents and caregivers have become something like school monitors making sure their “students” are online, engaged, and learning. How’s it going?

In a recent New York Times story, educators weighed in on the challenges they’re facing. 

“Educators experienced with remote learning warn that closures are a serious threat to children’s academic progress, safety and social lives,” the report concluded. They say that running a classroom digitally is much harder than bringing an adult workplace online, and that it can disproportionately affect low-income students and those with special needs.

Here are some of the issues that teachers are facing:   

Not every home has computers or high-speed internet.

The vast majority of households with children have broadband internet, but there are still big disparities by income, race and the education level of parents.

Low-income families are more likely to rely on smartphones for internet access, and children in those households may not be able to use more sophisticated learning software that requires a tablet or computer. It is not unusual, educators say, for siblings to try to complete their schoolwork on a single cellphone.

Younger children require lots of adult supervision.

Younger students need help to learn online — lots of help. Parents may need to assist their child with turning on a device, logging into an app, reading instructions, clicking in the right place, typing answers and staying on task.

Even the tech-savviest adult will find this difficult while working from home at the same time — a more common scenario as the coronavirus spreads. Parents who continue to work outside the home when schools are closed will need to arrange child care, where technical help could be scarce.

Even great teachers lack expertise in creating online lessons.

While there are lots of exceptional teachers, not all of them are ready to move their instruction online. A fantastic teacher may have difficulties translating their curriculum online.

Students with special needs can be the hardest to teach virtually.

Students with behavioral issues may thrive online because there are fewer social distractions.  But others find it difficult to have less direct access to teachers and peers.  Those without self-discipline struggle.

Schools provide more than academic skills.

Even when the devices, Wi-Fi, software, lesson plans and adult supervision are all in place, a lot is lost when schools transition students to remote learning. Many children rely on schools for free or affordable meals, for counseling and for after-school activities while parents work.

When schools are closed, children lose a crucial social outlet. And families, especially those who work in the service sector and cannot easily adjust their schedules, and may struggle to find appropriate child care.

Read the New York Times complete article. 




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