Part II- Realize That Distance Learning Is Not Going Away
This blog is part two in a series that I started last week on preparing for the upcoming school year. Part one was on staying current on math and reading skills.
Have those of you that are local readers been watching the School Board Meetings this week? Even if you are not local, you probably have similar School Board Meetings happening in your area where the community is discussing the plans for the upcoming school year. Something that struck me while considering these plans is that regardless of the decision that is made, online/distance learning is not going away any time soon. Even if we fully go back to in-person learning, educators and parents will have to be ready to quickly switch back to distance learning if an outbreak occurs or numbers of infected individuals continue to rise.This means that parents will need to prepare students for online learning and teachers will need to figure out how to create an engaging and effective online classroom. This week we will talk about how parents can prepare their children for online or distance learning and next week we will address how teachers can prepare for online learning.
What Does it Mean for Parents to Prepare for Distance Learning?
Success with distance learning usually means that parents will need to prepare kids with the necessary tech skills, routines, and structure to be able to succeed in the online classroom. Schools frequently assume that families do not have the physical resources (computer, high-speed internet, or camera and microphone) to succeed with online instruction, but I have found that often it is something else that interferes with the effectiveness of instruction online. Students have difficulty with the focus, structure, and self-discipline required to succeed in online learning.
This causes parents to constantly have to monitor their online activities and check to make sure everything is being completed. This continuous monitoring consumes large amounts of time and emotional energy and is virtually impossible for working parents. Thus, in order to succeed in online learning, we need to teach our kids age-appropriate self-monitoring and executive functioning skills. Rather than being just an additional burden, this presents an opportunity to teach kids something that will be beneficial in any classroom they enter (virtual or in-person) as well as a useful life skill. Kids can be taught to monitor and maintain their own schedule and routine, take responsibility for turning in their own assignments on time, and specific strategies for staying focused. This will require support at first and some students will always require more help, but these skills need to be taught and direct parent involvement can and should be tapered off over time.
In addition, kids need to possess the tech skills to access online learning. We assume that students have these skills, but just because kids can play games on a tablet does not mean that they are tech savvy enough to do all that is required for online learning. Assess whether your child knows how to:
- Use the mouse including being able to right click and copy/paste
- Open a new tab, minimize and maximize windows, and use forward and back browser functions
- Create, scan, save, and print files
- Take a screenshot of valuable information that can not be saved
- Log in to their online classroom and school email independently
- Send and receive email or send a message to their teacher through a chat feature
- View recorded presentations
- Turn in work digitally by uploading assignments
- Download assignments to complete them when necessary
- Search the internet for specific information or a certain site
- Type effectively
- Share their screen
- Take part in a live-instruction session without sharing personal information
- Keep themselves safe while online
It may seem easier in the moment to do these things for your child, but then they do not learn how to work independently. Taking the time to teach your child these skills and others that may be required for their particular online learning platform can save a lot of time in the long run. It also moves them towards becoming a more independent learner.
We would love to hear ways that you have helped your child to experience more success in the online classroom. Please leave your comments, suggestions, and questions below this blog or our Wednesday Webinar video on Facebook.
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Nina Parrish, M. Ed.
Co-Owner and Director of Education
Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.
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